In the fall of 2011, Jerry Bentley, Jun Yoo, and I had a long lunch in which we batted around several ideas for celebrating the Journal of World History’s upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary. One of those ideas was to hold a conference at the University of Hawai‘i to gather leading figures in world history to talk about the field’s past and present. Following Jerry’s untimely passing, Jun and I scaled back some of those plans, as hosting a major conference about the journal’s contribution to the field without Jerry was difficult to envision. However, letting twenty-five years pass without any form of celebration seemed equally unfathomable. With Jerry’s dedication to the stewardship of the journal and his students’ careers, an issue of his students’ work seemed like an appropriate way to mark this anniversary.
World history has long been a core of the graduate curriculum of history at UH. Hardly any student had graduated in the past twenty-five years whom Jerry had not advised in some capacity. I began the issue by approaching the most recent graduates of our program with whom the department still had contact, and everyone readily agreed to contribute an article out of their deep respect for Jerry and his role in their development as historians. I must extend my apologies to Jerry’s many students whom I did not approach, as our space was limited. Thankfully, Alan Karras and Laura Mitchell organized a workshop in Jerry’s honor at Berkeley this past spring, which will lead to a future edited volume, as one issue of the journal is not sufficient to recognize Jerry’s tremendous impact on the field. [End Page 457]
I thank the eight scholars here for their contributions, but I must also thank the five reviewers of the articles, each of whom read multiple submissions in a tight time frame. The collegial spirit of these world history practitioners may be one of the unseen effects of Jerry’s generous nature, but it is no less important than the work itself. [End Page 458]