AHA Activities

AHA Establishes the Jerry Bentley Book Prize in World History

Sharon K. Tune, October 2013

Jerry H. BentleyThanks to the generous contributions of nearly 300 donors, the American Historical Association is pleased to announce the establishment of the Jerry Bentley Book Prize in World History, which honors Professor Bentley's tireless efforts to promote world history and his signal contributions to the field.

Over the past 20 years, 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 this evolution. 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 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: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre­Modern Times. 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 Book Prize 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 world­scale history, with connections or comparisons across continents, in any period will be eligible. The inaugural prize will be awarded at the AHA's annual meeting in New York in January 2015, as part of the Association's awards ceremony.

The AHA extends our warmest appreciation to all who contributed to the Bentley Prize Endowment Fund and to the spirited efforts of the Bentley Prize Fund Committee, led by Alan L. Karras and Merry E. Wiesner­Hanks, whose ambitious and creative fundraising drive helped to meet the prize endowment goals in less than a year. The Association is especially grateful to Carol Mon Lee for her generous contributions to the prize and to McGraw Hill Education LLC and the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust for their lead gifts. The AHA also wishes to thank the high school teachers and college and university faculty who were readers at the 2013 College Board Advanced Placement World History Reading, along with the attendees at the World History Association 2013 annual conference, who contributed to the fund in unprecedented numbers.

Read the full list of donors.