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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Geoffrey Parker

Mershon affiliate Geoffrey Parker, Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History and Distinguished University Professor, is no stranger in the arena of the world’s top awards and honors, among them the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences' Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for History in 2012 — his discipline's Nobel Prize.

Parker's latest honor, his election as corresponding fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), has special resonance for him. “It was a particular pleasure and honor to learn that the Royal Society of Edinburgh has decided to elect me a Corresponding Fellow this year,” he said, “because I shall return to St. Andrews this spring as a Carnegie Centennial Professor, one of three appointed for 2016.”

"The Carnegie Trust has strong links with Ohio State, as well as with St Andrews: Some years ago it selected several departments at Ohio State to take part in the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate — an effort to identify and standardize best practices in postgraduate education," Parker said. "I was proud to take part in that process as a representative of the Department of History."

“Also, I spent 14 years teaching at St. Andrews, 1972-86, and since then I have returned several times to lecture — both there and at other Scottish universities.”

Created in 1783 by Royal Charter for “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge,” the Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters. New fellows, elected to the RSE through a rigorous five-stage nomination process, include the full spectrum of disciplines, giving it a multidisciplinary perspective that is unique among national academies.

All new fellows are invited to an Induction Day in mid-May — a formal ceremony at which they sign the society’s Roll Book to be formally admitted to the fellowship.

Parker is in exceptional company. Past society presidents include Sir Walter Scott, Lord Kelvin and Sir Michael Atiyah. Each year’s list of new inductees is both international and impressive — including Ohio State's only other RSE fellow, Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Chemistry James Cowan (2014).

Parker studies the social, political and military history of Europe between 1500 and 1650, with special reference to Spain and its empire. He is author, editor, or co-editor of 37 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters.

Parker's most recent book is The Global Crisis: War, Climate, and Catastrophe in the 17th Century (Yale University Press, 2013), concerning the climatically-induced crisis that created acute political, economic, intellectual and social upheaval all round the globe, causing the premature death of around one-third of the human population. Although not the first such worldwide crisis, it is both the most recent and the only one for which plentiful records survive.

Parker's best-known book is probably The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800, first published by Cambridge University Press in 1988 and winner of two book prizes. An expanded edition came out in 2002, with Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish translations. He plans to publish a third, thoroughly revised edition in 2014.