Professor Howard Spodek is an eminent historian with a deep interest in Ahmedabad. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago, majoring in history and specializing in India. His first trip to India was on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1964 and since 1972 he has been a faculty member at Temple University where he was appointed Full Professor and was later awarded Temple’s Great Teacher award. Prof. Spodek has published extensively on urbanization in India including ‘Urban-Rural Integration in Regional Development’ and ‘Urban Form and Meaning in South-East Asia’. His 2011 book ‘Ahmedabad: Shock City of Twentieth Century India’ represents his careful study of the recent history of Ahmedabad. He collaborated with Professors D.N. Pathak and John Wood in 2011 to produce a translation into English, in three volumes, of the complete ‘Autobiography of IndulalYagnik’. He has published a wide array of articles, including analyses of working women’s organizations, especially SEWA.
Prof. Spodek has been a leader in the study and teaching of world history. His textbook ‘The World’s History’, currently in its 5th edition, is widely used at the university level and in high school advanced placement courses. It is a substantial book of 900 pages, fully illustrated with 350 color illustrations, about 50 primary and secondary sources, 100 maps, and some 50 chronological charts. In 2016 he was honored with the “Pioneer in World History” Award from the World History Association.
In addition to his writings, Prof. Spodek has also produced two documentary films, one an overview of Ahmedabad city, the other on the relocation of slum dwellers from the Sabarmati Riverfront. He has received funding for his research, writing, teaching, and film from Fulbright, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the Smithsonian Institution. At Ahmedabad University, Prof. Spodek has delivered a lecture series on ‘Ten Turning Points in World History’ which was largely based on his book ‘The World’s History’ (Pearson, 5th Edition, 2015). He also delivered two Annual Lectures, viz., ‘Awakening Ahmedabad: A Work in Progress’ and ‘New Directions in the Study of Ahmedabad’.