Campus & Community

Harvard, Cambridge establish Joint Center for History and Economics

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Crossing academic disciplines and the Atlantic Ocean, the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and King’s College, Cambridge, have established the Joint Center for History and Economics (JCHE). The JCHE will facilitate and encourage interdisciplinary research and learning in the social sciences and the humanities.

The Centre for History and Economics was established at King’s College in 1991. With the creation of the counterpart center at Harvard, these two leading research institutions will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and engage in mutually beneficial scholarly collaboration.

“The Joint Center for History and Economics represents an exciting opportunity to explore the connections between the two academic disciplines, ” says Emma Rothschild, who co-founded the Centre at King’s College. The JCHE will make it possible for two world-renowned research institutions to engage in an exciting and productive relationship, and will provide a location for research students and leading scholars in the field to participate in a rigorous dialogue.

Rothschild, one of the leading historians of the Enlightenment, has been a visiting professor of history at Harvard since 2004, and will join the Harvard faculty as a professor of history in July 2007. Rothschild will serve as the founding director of the JCHE at Harvard (see professorship announcement, this page).

The JCHE will undertake substantial research projects focused on academic concerns within history and economics, including the history of economic and social thought, the application of economic concepts to historical problems, and the use of historical insights in economic analysis. The collaboration will also result in workshops, seminars, and exchanges of faculty and graduate students.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University and the Centre for History and Economics at King’s College have previously participated in cooperative research programs and academic exchanges. Since 2004, they have collaborated on the research project “Exchanges of Economic and Political Ideas since 1760,” supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This project is focused on political, economic, and social connections across national borders, and is concerned both with Atlantic history and with the history of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Recent research projects at King’s College include “Globalization in Historical Perspective,” “The Rise and Fall of Historical Political Economy,” and “Religion and the Political Imagination,” which examines the historical foundations of political assumptions about universal secularization. Other research topics include global security across national borders, with a particular focus on the history of the United Nations.

The JCHE will be administered from both sides of the Atlantic. The overall direction of the JCHE will be determined by a joint management committee, and executive oversight committees in both Cambridge, England, and Cambridge, Mass. Each committee will have responsibility for initiation and guidance of the activities of its own center. The Web site for the JCHE will be hosted on the Web sites for King’s College and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.