- On leave in 2019-2020
At the graduate and undergraduate level, my teaching concerns global/international history in colonial and postcolonial contexts, especially in Africa and the Middle East. Generally, I encourage students not to be bound by regionalism, while also recognising the valuable methodological and interpretive insights that area studies scholarship offers to global/international historians. I’m particularly interested in supervising graduate students pursuing international histories of the Global South.
Assistant Professor, Department of History, UBC, 2009 to date
Brady-Johnson Postdoctoral Associate, International Security Studies at Yale University, 2011-2012
I study the postcolonial origins of our collective present in world affairs. My current research project, “The Venture of Africa: Organisations of Unity and Disunity in a Continental Diplomacy”, explores the contested institutionalisation of ideological geographies in greater Africa and the Arab world. It examines the varying fortunes of anticolonial mobilising themes such as pan-Africanism, pan-Arabism, and pan-Islamism once they are institutionalised in the postcolonial era. In so doing, this project highlights the centrality of religious and racial dynamics to contemporary international life, especially with regards to such issues as human rights, conflict resolution, and peacekeeping.
My first book, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (Oxford University Press, 2016), showed how South-South exchanges of methodologies of revolution built our state-centric world order. The American Historical Association awarded it the Bentley Prize for the year’s outstanding work in global or world-scale history, and it also received honorable mention for both the African Studies Association’s Herskovits Prize and the American Institute of Maghrib Studies’ Brown Prize for the year’s best book concerning those regions. I discuss the book and the research behind it in this interview for the Toynbee Prize Foundation.
Other recent publications include an essay for the debut issue of the new Rivista Italiana di Storia Internazionale, “Reflecting on the Global Turn in International History, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being a Historian of Nowhere”, and “Revolutionary Transatlanticism: Cuban-Algerian relations and the multiplicity of Third World globalism” in The Third World Revolution: The Global South in the Era of Secular Radicalism, edited by Mark A. Lawrence and R. Joseph Parrott (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press). My scholarship has elsewhere been published in numerous collected volumes and academic journals, such as The International History Review, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Diplomatic History. I have also discussed contemporary affairs and my own scholarship with various national and international news organisations, including BBC World, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and France Inter, among others.
I joined the history department at UBC as assistant professor in 2009. I received a BA in History from Yale University in 1999 and a PhD in History from the London School of Economics in 2011. I held the position of Chauncey Fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University in 2011-2012.
J. Byrne. Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
J. J. Brne, “The Cold War in Africa”, in The Cold War in the Third World, R. McMahon ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
J. J. Byrne, “Algiers Between Bandung and Belgrade: Guerrilla Diplomacy and the Evolution of the Third World Movement, 1954-1962”, in The Middle East and the Cold War: Between Security and Development, M. Trentin and Gerlini, M. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
J. J. Byrne, “Le FLN et le GPRA face à De Gaulle (1961-1965): La négociation indéfinie”, in De Gaulle et la Guerre d’Algérie, M. Vaïsse Paris: Armand Colon, 2012.
J. J. Byrne, “L’action internationale du FLN” and “La guerre d’Algérie, facteur de changement du système international”, in Histoire de l’Algérie coloniale, 1830-1962, A. Bouchene, Peyroulou, J. – P., Thénault, S., and Tengour, O. Paris & Algiers: La Décourverte/Editions Barzakh, 2012.
J. J. Byrne, “The Middle Eastern Cold War: Unique Dynamics in a Questionable Regional Framework”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 43, no. 2, 2011.
J. J. Byrne, “”Je ne vous ai pas compris”: De Gaulle’s Decade of Negoatiation with the Algerian FLN, 1958-1969”, in Globalizing de Gaulle: international perspectives on French foreign policies, 1958-1969, C. Nünlist, Locher, A., and Martin, G. Plymouth UK: Lexington Books, 2010.
J. J. Byrne, “Our Own Special Brand of Socialism: Algeria and the Contest of Modernities in the 1960s”, Diplomatic History, vol. 33, no. 3, 2009.