Philip D. Curtin

Philip D. Curtin was Herbert Baxter Adams Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University. His books include The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census and Cross-Cultural Trade in World History.

Listed in: African Studies · Biography · Memoir · History · African History · Literary Studies

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In the 1950s, professional historians claiming to specialize in tropical Africa were no more than a handful. The teaching of world history was confined to high school courses, and even those were focused on European history, with a chapter added to account for the history of East and South Asia. The change over the ensuing decades was revolutionary. Philip D. Curtin was a leader among a new generation of historians that emerged after the Second World War.

“Phil Curtin is one of the most important historians to stride across the fields of academe in the twentieth century. His memoir tracks the emergence of American interest in and engagement with the wider world. It is both a self-assessment of his intellectual life and a valuable chapter in the history of higher education.”

James L. A. Webb, Jr., author of Tropical Pioneers: Human Agency and Ecological Change in the Highlands of Sri Lanka, 1800-1900