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Chris Bayly: memorial symposium and Toynbee Prize


On Saturday 21 May a Symposium will be held at St Catharine's in memory of the life and work of Professor Sir Christopher Bayly, LittD, FBA (1970), who died in Chicago of a heart attack on 19 April 2015 at the age of 69. The Symposium will be entitled 'Sir Christopher Bayly and the Horizons of World History'. It will open with three brief keynotes by distinguished colleagues. Younger Cambridge colleagues inspired by Chris's work will then reflect on his influence. After lunch, there will be a panel on Chris's work in global intellectual history, followed by a sequence of closing comments by senior colleagues, who will offer subjective impressions of Chris's impact on their various fields and on his significance as a practitioner of Indian, imperial and global history. The Symposium will open at 9.45am and finish at 4.00pm.

Places can be booked using the online form

Toynbee Prize

We have also just learned that Chris has been posthumously awarded the Toynbee Prize, which is awarded every two years to 'a distinguished practitioner of global history'. The award, made by unanimous consensus at the Board of Trustees meeting, was awarded posthumously on 9 January at a session of the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

David Armitage (1983), an alumnus of St Catharine's and the Lloyd C Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University, commented:

“Chris Bayly’s work displayed constant originality, ever-expanding imagination and acute generosity in equal measure. Few historians have shaped as many vital fields: most notably, South Asian history, the history of empire and world history. He always moved seamlessly between scales – from the local to the global, the initmately urban to the comprehensively planetary – across regions, and between fields, working variously on urban, social, economic, imperial, cultural, intellectual and global history.

"His many books, from The Local Roots of Indian Politics: Allahabad, 1880-1920 (1975) to the forthcoming Remaking the Modern World, 1914-2015 (2016), form one major legacy; his even more numerous students [...] another; but the memory of his friendship, encouragement and stimulus to everyone he knew will live as long as any of his more formal achievements.”

Whilst the news is tinged with sadness, we are very pleased that Chris's academic colleagues across the world are recognising and remembering his achievements with such warmth and respect.