Thursday, June 18, 2015

Introducing HistPhil

We are pleased to welcome HistPhil to the blogosophere! The blog focuses on the history of philanthropy and is run by historians Benjamin Soskis (Center for the Study of Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Policy, George Mason University), Maribel Morey (Clemson University), and Stanley N. Katz (Princeton University). Here's the formal announcement:

Today, historians of philanthropy Benjamin Soskis, Maribel Morey, and Stanley N. Katz launched a new website on the history of philanthropy, HistPhil (

Placing a particular emphasis on how history can shed light on contemporary philanthropic issues and practice, HistPhil’s editors hope that the site will foster discussion and debate on the sector with a more humanistic orientation than is often found in much of the current discourse.  The general idea is to bring together scholars, foundation leaders, and philanthropists in common dialogue on the past, present, and future of philanthropy.

In order to strengthen this virtual community, HistPhil’s editors have decided to structure the blog around certain themes. However, they also will open the blog to ongoing comment on current matters of philanthropic concern and controversy.

They will start off with a discussion on the state of the field. Stan Katz asks how a historical perspective can inform our understanding of the Clinton Foundation; David Hammack offers his thoughts on the various waves of scholarship over the last two centuries that have engaged the topics of the philanthropic sector and civil society; in a Q&A, Olivier Zunz relates his experience writing his major monograph on the history of American philanthropy, and considers the directions the field might go in the years to come; Abigail Green and Amanda Moniz discuss the question of present-ism and its relation to the historiography of humanitarianism; and more. They then will progress to other topics, such as “philanthropy and democracy,” “philanthropy and education,” “the African American experience and philanthropy,” and “philanthropy and the environment.” Contributors for these weeks include Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer, political theorist Emma Saunders-Hastings, and historians Karen Ferguson and Leah Gordon.
Contact information is here:
Twitter: @HistPhil