Director of the Global Research Institute
Peter Coclanis, Albert R. Newsome Professor and former chair of the history department, is director of the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Global Research Institute, founded in 2009, is envisioned as a center for scholarly research on key international questions and as a conduit through which generated knowledge can successfully be disseminated and applied to problems in the real world.
Previously, he served as UNC’s first associate provost for international affairs, starting the position in December 2003. In his role as associate provost for international affairs, Coclanis provided leadership for the University’s international endeavors, serving as spokesman and overseer of international activities. In addition, he had a primary leadership role in the articulation and continued development of the University’s global mission.
As Albert R. Newsome Professor of History, Coclanis works primarily in American, Southeast Asian and international economic and business history. He is currently working on the creation of integrated world markets for tropical and semi-tropical commodities, with a special emphasis on rice. This project has taken him to archives and rice paddies all over the world. Coclanis is the author and editor or co-editor of numerous books. He has also written over 150 scholarly articles, essays and book reviews.
Coclanis has received various grants and fellowships over the years and has previously served as associate dean for general education of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC from 1993 to 1998, and chaired the Department of History from July 1998 to December 2003. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Economics and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Asian Studies.
Coclanis is the former president of several large professional organizations, including the Historical Society and the Agricultural History Society, and is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award and concurrent professorship from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. In fall 2005, he held the Sir Thomas Stafford Raffles Distinguished Professorship in History at the National University of Singapore.
Coclanis was born in Chicago and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1984, joining the faculty at UNC that same year.