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Jerry Bentley Prize in World History


The American Historical Association invites donations to endow a Jerry Bentley Book Prize in World History, which will honor Professor Bentley’s tireless efforts to promote the field of world history, and his signal contributions to it, over a career tragically cut short by his recent death.

Over the past 20 years, the field of world history has developed into one of the most vibrant and energetic areas of the discipline--with a growing volume of books and monographs published in the field, and an expanding presence in history departments and doctoral programs. Professor Bentley played an indispensable role in the development of the field. He began his career as a scholar of Renaissance Italy, but quickly became one of the leading figures in the world history movement of recent decades. He was the founding editor of the Journal of World History, and served as its editor from the first issue in 1990 until shortly before his death. He wrote one of the landmark works in the field in 1993, a study of cultural interactions within Eurasia entitled Old World Encounters. Through his work with the World History Association, the College Board Advanced Placement program, and his teaching at the University of Hawaii, he helped to elevate world history into a thriving field of both scholarship and pedagogy.

The Jerry Bentley Prize Book in World History will be awarded to the best book in each calendar year in the field of world history. Any book published in English dealing with global or world-scale history, with connections or comparisons across continents, in any period will be eligible. As with all of the book prizes that the American Historical Association awards, its elected Committee on Committees will choose members of a distinguished review panel to review all books submitted for the prize. Most books will be submitted by their publishers, but anyone can submit a book for consideration. The prize will be awarded at the AHA's annual meeting in the first week of January, as part of the Association's awards ceremony, and will begin to be awarded once the fund is fully endowed.

Tax-deductible donations can be submitted either online ( or by check made out to the AHA and mailed to Bentley Prize c/o Robert B. Townsend, Deputy Director, American Historical Association, 400 A St., S.E., Washington, DC 20003. Members of the fundraising committee include David Christian, Sharon Cohen, Karen Jolly, Alan Karras (co-chair), Kerry Ward, and Merry Wiesner-Hanks (co-chair).  For further information, contact the AHA-appointed fundraising co-chairs Alan Karras (Univ. of California, Berkeley) or Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee).



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