“The History of the World, 1950-2000,” February 10 Colloquium with MU History Emeritus Professor Jonathan Sperber


Providing a preview of his new (and long-awaited) Oxford University Press monograph, The Age of Interconnection: A Global History of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century,” Mizzou Curators’ Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus Jonathan Sperber will use a series of graphs, charts, and maps to draw out a structural approach to telling the history of the recent past (see abstract below). The talk will take place on February 10 at 3:30pm in Jesse Hall 410, and anyone interested in attending virtually can do so here (YouTube) or here (Facebook, account required).


The second half of the twentieth century is the very recent past, and all too many accounts of it just list one event after another, rather than drawing out broader structures and developments across the globe. This talk is an attempt to develop such a structural approach to the recent past, using groups of graphs, charts and maps to consider six areas of interest:  population, natural resources, the economy, society and gender, beliefs, and international relations.


Jonathan Sperber received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1980. Since 1984, he has been in the history department at Mizzou, since 2019 as the Curators’ Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus. Sperber has published extensively in the history of nineteenth-century Europe, especially the German-speaking areas. His 2013 book, Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life, has been translated into nine foreign languages and was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in biography. Sperber’s most recent book, which has just appeared with Oxford University Press, represents a new departure for his scholarship, taking a global focus on the recent past. The book is entitled The Age of Interconnection: A Global History of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century.