Jeremy Adelman


Jeremy Adelman, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, transitioned to emeritus status on September 1, 2023, after thirty-one years at Princeton University. A scholar of Latin America and global history, Jeremy has lived and worked in seven countries and on four continents. His scholarship consistently identifies and analyzes themes in global history with scrupulous attention to an enviable range of local and regional contexts. His contributions have made him a recognized voice internationally in the study of global history, and he is regularly invited across the world to deliver lectures on varied topics.

After graduating in political economy with distinction from the University of Toronto in 1984, Jeremy earned a master’s degree in economic history at the London School of Economics in 1985 and completed a doctorate in modern history at Oxford University in 1989. His first book, Frontier Development: Land, Labour, and Capital on the Wheatlands of Argentina and Canada (1994), compares the agrarian systems in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Argentina and Canada. Republic of Capital: Buenos Aires and the Legal Transformation of the Atlantic World (1999), which won the American Historical Association’s Atlantic History Prize, explores the emergence of the Argentine republic and its incorporation into the world market in the nineteenth century. Subsequently, Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic (2006) recounts the story of the downfall of the Spanish and Portuguese empires and the making of nation-states in South America, braiding together intellectual, economic, and political histories. His Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman (2013) is an intellectual biography of one of the twentieth century’s most original thinkers. The book won the 2014 Joseph J. Spengler Best Book Prize from the History of Economics Society.

Jeremy is also the editor of five books and a coauthor, with colleagues in the history department and elsewhere, of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (sixth edition, 2020), a history of the world from the beginning of humankind to the present. Among his edited and coedited collections are Empire and the Social Sciences: Global Histories of Knowledge (2019), Inventing the Third World: In Search of Freedom for the Global South (2022), and Narratives, Nations, and Other World Products in the Making of Global History (forthcoming 2024). 

He is under contract with Princeton University Press to publish Global Integration and the Need for Strangers, a study of what it has meant to need strangers, their resources, their labor, and their ideas—and what it has meant for them to need “us”—and Latin America: A Global History, an interpretive survey from 1492 to the present about a history of the region from an international perspective. 

Jeremy joined the history department in 1992 as a historian of Latin America. Princeton already had a distinguished tradition in the field under the direction of Stanley J. Stein. Stepping into the big shoes of Stein, Jeremy took up the challenge with great energy and dedication. He taught undergraduate courses in Latin American history and trained several graduate students in the field while also advising students of other regions. He worked closely with the Program in Latin American Studies, serving as its director from 1997 to 2001. While continuing to work on Latin America, his scholarship developed an appreciation for examining history beyond national frames. In collaboration with his then Princeton colleague Stephen Aron, he wrote an influential article in the American Historical Review, offering a new perspective on empire and nation from the perspective of borders and borderlands. The new direction in his scholarship led to his participation in the writing of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, initially under the editorship of his Princeton colleague Professor Robert Tignor, and later Jeremy took on the role of its general editorship.

Jeremy’s published articles placed Argentinian labor and finance in a global frame and examined issues in global economic and political history from a Latin American perspective. He wrote numerous articles on global history in scholarly journals, making a strong case for the global approach and intervening in the discussions and debates on its directions. His lectures have ranged widely—from empire, capitalism, democracy, war and revolution, labor and migration, development, photography, hunger, and food—reflecting the wide range of subjects that Jeremy’s scholarship has engaged with and the global approach he has adopted in studying them. His scholarship has also won him several visiting academic appointments, including at the Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna, the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and at the École d’Études Politiques and the École des Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

Appointed as chair of the history department from 2004 to 2008, Jeremy continued to maintain a strong scholarly and teaching profile. He received Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2004, the ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for 2001-04, and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2006. In the history department, he took the lead in establishing a global history track in graduate training. 

In recognition of his interest and expertise, he was appointed the founding director of the Council for International Teaching and Research in 2007, a position he served in until 2014. In that capacity, Jeremy developed partnerships with institutions internationally and arranged reciprocal academic exchanges and visits. This was particularly helpful for Princeton’s graduate students, who gained from being able to present their work to scholars at partnering institutions. 

In 2014, he founded the Global History Lab (GHL), which quickly became a vital part of the efforts to enhance the global curriculum and scholarship at Princeton. He fostered the GHL as a platform for learning, skill development, and collaboration across global divides. Using technology, innovative pedagogical practices, and training in oral history methods, the GHL educates students about the history of globalization and prepares them to become knowledge producers for a wider world. The program enlists universities and NGOs to engage in a model of global education through peer-to-peer exchanges. It pushes the study and application of history into new humanitarian frontiers by integrating displaced peoples and refugees into its network. The GHL has formed partnerships and collaborations with over twenty-five institutions and NGOs across the world. With digital technologies, it has created global classrooms where students across the world discover new and collaborative ways of learning and narrating history. Through this program, Jeremy provided invaluable experience to Princeton’s graduate students in teaching and learning from students from a variety of backgrounds.

Jeremy is now moving to the University of Cambridge, where he will continue his scholarship and teaching. He will continue writing the two books that he has contracted to publish with Princeton University Press, and he plans to develop the Global History Lab at his new institution. Fortunately, Jeremy continues to have ongoing collaborations and exchanges with the faculty and students at Princeton.

Written by members of the Department of History faculty.