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History beyond Europe is worth more of our time and money

Studying wider-world history requires broad skills. The UK has much to gain from helping early-career researchers acquire them, says Nicholas Guyatt.

In 2008, I returned to the UK to teach at the University of York after 10 years in North America. The history department’s website featured an interactive map: when you rolled over a researcher’s name, his or her country of interest was highlighted. This was neat but less flattering if, like me, you worked on the United States: it was a map of Europe. A handful of historians working on the wider world were banished to a text box somewhere east of Turkey.

It got me wondering whether history departments in the UK had been slow to embrace the world beyond Europe. In 2012, working with Luke Clossey, a historian at Simon Fraser University in Canada, I began to study the webpages of thousands of researchers at the top 25 history departments—ranked by the Research Excellence Framework or the local equivalent—in the UK, US and Canada.

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