Professor Emeritus Carter V. Findley received the “Pioneer in World History” award from the World History Association at its annual convention in San Juan, PR in June. Congratulations, Professor Findley!
The following are comments at the awards ceremony by Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and President of the World History Association.
After receiving his PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard, and a stint in the Army, Carter Findley took a position in the history department at Ohio State University, and has remained there, rising from assistant professor to Humanities Distinguished Professor, and now Humanities Distinguished Professor emeritus. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Carter’s primary focus has been the Ottoman Empire; he has written five major books on Ottoman history, many of which have been translated into other languages, including Turkish, Japanese, and Chinese. His contributions to Turkish history resulted in his being made an honorary member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences.
But very early in his career he also turned to the then-new field of world history. His inaugural lecture as a Professor of History at Ohio State in the late 1980s was titled ‘World Conquerors and World Historians.’ Over the last thirty years he has presented lectures, workshops, and symposia that examine a range of topics in Turkish history within a comparative, transnational, or global perspective in Turkey, Israel, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Jordan, Germany, China, Hungary, and all over the United States. Many of these use innovative methodologies or focus on topics that have since become standard in world history, including reciprocal comparison, a concern with the transfer of ideas and techniques, and the role of cultural go-betweens.
Carter has also served the WHA, first on the Executive Council in the early 1990s, and then as Vice-President and President. His term as president in the early 2000s was the point at which the organization decided it could no longer rely on volunteer labor alone if it wanted to keep growing, a contentious moment in any organization, as I’m sure many of you can attest from groups with which you’re involved. Carter handled this transition with an eye toward the WHA’s finances, and he has continued to provide advice about financial matters, overseeing the WHA’s endowment fund, another challenging task.
For his decades of contributions to Ottoman and world history, please join me in congratulating Carter Finley, a true Pioneer in World History.