Waqf and the Management of Water Resources in the Middle East: the historical role of local communities
Forum on Waqfs / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and the State

Waqf and the Management of Water Resources in the Middle East: the historical role of local communities

Editors’ Note: Closing HistPhil’s forum on waqfs, Sabrina Joseph argues that, by analyzing natural resource management in early modern Ottoman Syria, for example, “we gain precious insight not only into the role of local communities but also into those value systems and indigenous institutions, such as waqf, that can be harnessed by present day political … Continue reading

FLUID JURISDICTIONS (2020) and Solid Perpetuities
Forum on Waqfs / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and the State

FLUID JURISDICTIONS (2020) and Solid Perpetuities

Editors’ Note: Continuing HistPhil‘s forum on waqfs, Leilah Vevaina reviews Nurfadzilah Yahaya’s Fluid Jurisdictions (2020), while discussing her own research on religious endowments in India and the Straits Settlements. Vevaina writes: “This axis of what colonial authorities recognized as public, and hence, as charitable giving, versus familial hence private giving, was the key evaluator of why … Continue reading

The Unintended Effects of Waqf Litigation: A Review of FLUID JURISDICTIONS (2020)
Forum on Waqfs / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and the State

The Unintended Effects of Waqf Litigation: A Review of FLUID JURISDICTIONS (2020)

Editors’ Note: Continuing HistPhil‘s forum on waqfs, Nada Moumtaz relates Nurfadzilah Yahaya’s Fluid Jurisdictions (2020) with her own research of waqf litigation in twentieth century Beirut, Lebanon. Moumtaz argues: “Beyond Yahaya’s explanation of waqf litigation among the Arab diaspora in nineteenth century Southeast Asia, I want to suggest—based on my own research of twentieth century … Continue reading

Surplus and Colonial Charity
Forum on Waqfs / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and the State

Surplus and Colonial Charity

Editors’ Note: Launching HistPhil’s forum on waqfs, Nurfadzilah Yahaya introduces her new book, Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia (Cornell University Press, 2020) In this presentation of Fluid Jurisdictions, Yahaya notes that: “While scholarship on the history of human generosity is haunted by discussions of altruistic ends and self-regarding motives, the specific … Continue reading

Introducing HistPhil’s Forum on Waqfs
Forum on Waqfs / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and the State

Introducing HistPhil’s Forum on Waqfs

Editors’ Note: This post, by HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey, introduces HistPhil’s forum on waqfs, which will be featured on this site for the next weeks. If Andrew Carnegie invented modern philanthropy, Bill Gates has become its global evangelist. For many HistPhil readers, including myself at times, this statement might not seem to be controversial. After … Continue reading

Movement Capture and the Long Arc of the Black Freedom Struggle
Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality / Philanthropy in the News

Movement Capture and the Long Arc of the Black Freedom Struggle

Editors’ Note: Responding to Ford Foundation President Darren Walker’s statement on Juneteenth that these are “[un]precedented times– and hopefully a sign of the change that’s to come,” Erica Kohl-Arenas and Megan Ming Francis ask which roles Walker and other philanthropic leaders intend or want to play in the context of the movement for Black lives; … Continue reading

Updating HistPhil’s Reading List
Current Events and Philanthropy / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Education / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality / Philanthropy and the State

Updating HistPhil’s Reading List

Editors’ Note: In response to Black Lives Matter protests, #BlackInTheIvory, and nearly daily updates of leading U.S. philanthropies, nonprofits and for-profits proclaiming their allyship to the BLM movement, we have questioned what role we should and could play here on HistPhil. As a first step, we are amplifying the published works of Black scholars both … Continue reading

A Grantee’s Freedom and Independence
Conferences / Philanthropy and Historical Research

A Grantee’s Freedom and Independence

Editors’ Note: In anticipation of “An American Dilemma for the 21st Century” conference at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in NYC next Wednesday (where she will be presenting), HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey encourages here on HistPhil some dialogue on the relative constraints and freedoms of the funder-grantee relationship, a topic of mutual … Continue reading

Conferences / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Announcing the Jewish Philanthropy Research Initiative

Editors’ Note: The organizers of a new research initiative in Jewish philanthropy announce its inauguration. In a newly published study that draws on the first comprehensive data set of U.S.-based Jewish philanthropic organizations, Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim and Mathew Brookner show that such organizations gave more than $46 billion in grants in the period between … Continue reading

An Economic History Challenge to the History of Philanthropy
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research

An Economic History Challenge to the History of Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: David Hammack reviews Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, edited by Naomi R. Lamoreaux and John Joseph Wallis. For more than thirty years a growing literature has debated the origins of the market economy and the relation between the market and economic growth. Motivating this debate is the understanding, widely shared … Continue reading

7 Ways to Read around the History of Philanthropy’s Diversity Problem this Black History Month
Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality

7 Ways to Read around the History of Philanthropy’s Diversity Problem this Black History Month

Editors’ Note: Against the backdrop of Black History Month, Tyrone McKinley Freeman asks fellow historians of philanthropy to acknowledge black Americans’ history as philanthropists, reminding us that the current literature on the history of US philanthropy “does not fully capture the richness of African Americans’ giving, volunteering, associating, and advocating systems, models, behaviors and ways … Continue reading

Networked Social Movements and the ‘Tyranny of Structurelessness’
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Networked Social Movements and the ‘Tyranny of Structurelessness’

Editors’ Note: Rhodri Davies reflects on the contemporary relevance of Jo Freeman’s 1970 essay, “The Tyranny of Structurelessness.” The recent success of digitally-coordinated protest movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo has sparked a wave of interest in the potential for technology to transform the ways in which we organise. In particular, it has placed … Continue reading

Cost Escalation in U.S. Higher Education: Historical Analysis and the Competing Bowen Theories
Philanthropy and Education / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Cost Escalation in U.S. Higher Education: Historical Analysis and the Competing Bowen Theories

Editors’ Note: Bruce Kimball casts the light of historical analysis on the two major theories explaining cost escalation in U.S. higher education. His post draws upon the following sources: Bruce A. Kimball and Jeremy B. Luke, “Historical Dimensions of the “Cost Disease” in U.S. Higher Education, 1870s–2010s,” Social Science History 42 (2018): 29-55; Bruce A. Kimball and … Continue reading

Choosing between Financial Viability and a Political Voice: A History of the NAACP’s Tax Status
Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality / Philanthropy and the State

Choosing between Financial Viability and a Political Voice: A History of the NAACP’s Tax Status

Editors’ Note: Bringing historical context to the NAACP’s decision in 2017 to change its tax status from a 501(c)3 to 501(c)4, HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey argues that the NAACP’s announcement “should be understood as yet another move by an organization long deciding between accepting political silence and financial viability as a 501(c)3 or gaining political voice and financial vulnerability as … Continue reading

The Unevenness of Archives
Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Education / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality

The Unevenness of Archives

Editors’ Note: With a lens on the funding of black education in early twentieth-century United States, Melissa Wooten discusses how wealth inequality among charitable givers and racialized tendencies in public memory lead to inequities in the archives, and thus too, to writing histories privileging the philanthropic acts of the wealthy over the less wealthy and of whites … Continue reading

Undergraduate Seminar on the History of Philanthropy
Philanthropy and Historical Research

Undergraduate Seminar on the History of Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: Last August, I shared with readers my syllabus for a graduate seminar on the history of philanthropy. In a similar spirit, I am including below an undergraduate version of that class which I will be teaching this fall. Of course, and as always, please feel free to reach out with feedback and suggestions both on … Continue reading

The Changing Meaning of Community Development in Harlem (And its Consequences)
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality

The Changing Meaning of Community Development in Harlem (And its Consequences)

Editors’ Note: Brian D. Goldstein introduces his recent work, The Roots of Urban Renaissance: Gentrification and the Struggle Over Harlem (Harvard, 2017). The January 29, 1977 front page of the New York Amsterdam News offered grim news to any Harlemites hoping to own part of the land they inhabited. “Harlem Commonwealth Council Fails to Sell Shares to Residents,” … Continue reading

“A Disparity in Paper”: Recovering Chinese Charitable Traditions and the Struggle Against Western Philanthropic Imperialism
Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Historical Research

“A Disparity in Paper”: Recovering Chinese Charitable Traditions and the Struggle Against Western Philanthropic Imperialism

Editors’ Note: This post, by Caroline Reeves, is adapted from a paper presented at the “Empires of Charity” conference, held at the University of Warwick in March 2017 and is part of Reeves’ larger project on the history of Chinese charitable giving. The Last Bastion of Cultural Imperialism In 2009, I was invited to celebrate the … Continue reading

A Review of Shomari Wills’s BLACK FORTUNES (2018)
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research

A Review of Shomari Wills’s BLACK FORTUNES (2018)

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey reviews Shomari Wills’s Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires (New York: Amistad, HarperCollins Publishers, 2018).  Detailing a history of the “first cohort of black millionaires” in the United States, journalist Shomari Wills begins Black Fortunes by correcting the popular myth that … Continue reading

Risk and Reward: A History of Charitable Gift Annuities
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Risk and Reward: A History of Charitable Gift Annuities

Editors’ Note: Ronald A. Brown provides a history of charitable gift annuities, based on his new book, A History of Charitable Gift Planning: How Gift Annuities Shaped American Philanthropy (1830-1959). In the ecosystem of American philanthropy, money is not only given, it is actively raised. There are only a few major histories of charitable fundraising, … Continue reading