Eclipse of Empires analyzes the nineteenth-century American fascination with what Patricia Jane Roylance calls “narratives of imperial eclipse,” texts that depict the surpassing of one great civilization by another.
Patricia Jane Roylance’s central claim in Eclipse of Empires is that historical episodes of imperial eclipse, for example Incan Peru yielding to Spain or the Ojibway to the French, heightened the concerns of many American writers about specific intranational social problems plaguing the nation at the time—race, class, gender, religion, economics. Given the eventual dissolution of great civilizations previously plagued by these very same problems, many writers, unlike those who confidently emphasized U.S. exceptionalism, exhibited both an anxiety about the stability of American society and a consistent practice of self-scrutiny in identifying the national defects that they felt could precipitate America’s decline.
Roylance studies, among other texts, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Water-Witch (1830) and The Bravo (1831), which address the eclipse of Venice by New York City as a maritime power in the eighteenth century; William Hickling Prescott’s Conquest of Peru (1847), which responds to widespread anxiety about communist and abolitionist threats to the U.S. system of personal property by depicting Incan culture as a protocommunist society doomed to failure; and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha (1855), which resists the total eclipse of Ojibwa culture by incorporating Ojibway terms and stories into his poem and by depicting the land as permanently marked by their occupation.
Paul Bairoch sets the record straight on twenty commonly held myths about economic history. Among these are that free trade and population growth have historically led to periods of economic growth; that a move away from free trade caused the Great Depression; and that colonial powers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became rich through the exploitation of the Third World. Bairoch argues that these beliefs are based on insufficient knowledge and misguided interpretations of the economic history of the United States, Europe, and the Third World.
"A challenging and readable introduction to some major controversial themes in modern international economic history."—Peter J. Cain, International History Review
"Paul Bairoch sheds fascinating light on many of the accepted truths of modern economic history: an intriguing account, well executed."—Alfred L. Malabre, Jr., Economics Editor, Wall Street Journal
Glass: A World History
Alan Macfarlane and Gerry Martin University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress TP849.M33 2002 | Dewey Decimal 666.1
Picture, if you can, a world without glass. There would be no microscopes or telescopes, no sciences of microbiology or astronomy. People with poor vision would grope in the shadows, and planes, cars, and even electricity probably wouldn't exist. Artists would draw without the benefit of three-dimensional perspective, and ships would still be steered by what stars navigators could see through the naked eye.
In Glass: A World History, Alan Macfarlane and Gerry Martin tell the fascinating story of how glass has revolutionized the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Starting ten thousand years ago with its invention in the Near East, Macfarlane and Martin trace the history of glass and its uses from the ancient civilizations of India, China, and Rome through western Europe during the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Industrial Revolution, and finally up to the present day. The authors argue that glass played a key role not just in transforming humanity's relationship with the natural world, but also in the divergent courses of Eastern and Western civilizations. While all the societies that used glass first focused on its beauty in jewelry and other ornaments, and some later made it into bottles and other containers, only western Europeans further developed the use of glass for precise optics, mirrors, and windows. These technological innovations in glass, in turn, provided the foundations for European domination of the world in the several centuries following the Scientific Revolution.
Clear, compelling, and quite provocative, Glass is an amazing biography of an equally amazing subject, a subject that has been central to every aspect of human history, from art and science to technology and medicine.
This important book compares the growth achieved in Japan and Europe with the frustrated growth in the major societies of mainland Eurasia. More broadly, it is about the conflict in world history between economic growth and political greed. Eric Jones proposes two fundamentally new frameworks. One replaces industrial revolution or great discontinuity as the source of change and challenges the reader to accept early periods and non-western societies as vital to understanding the growth process. The second offers a new explanation in which tendencies for growth were omnipresent but were usually--though not always--suppressed. Finally, the erosion of these negative factors is discussed, explaining the rise of a world economy in which growth has recurred and East Asia takes a prominent place.
Eric Jones has written a substantial new introduction for this edition, which includes discussions of early evidence of growth episodes and the relation of these points to the Industrial Revolution, and the relevance of the East Asian "miracle" to his thesis.
For much of history, strangers were seen as barbarians, seldom as fellow human beings. The notion of common humanity had to be invented. Drawing on global thinkers, Siep Stuurman traces ideas of equality and difference across continents and civilizations, from antiquity to present-day debates about human rights and the “clash of civilizations.”
Published in 1974, Marshall Hodgson’s The Venture of Islam was a watershed moment in the study of Islam. By locating the history of Islamic societies in a global perspective, Hodgson challenged the orientalist paradigms that had stunted the development of Islamic studies and provided an alternative approach to world history. Edited by Edmund Burke III and Robert Mankin, Islam and World History explores the complexity of Hodgson’s thought, the daring of his ideas, and the global context of his world historical insights into, among other themes, Islam and world history, gender in Islam, and the problem of Muslim universality.
In our post-9/11 world, Hodgson’s historical vision and moral engagement have never been more relevant. A towering achievement, Islam and World History will prove to be the definitive statement on Hodgson’s relevance in the twenty-first century and will introduce his influential work to a new generation of readers.
In Lost Modernities Alexander Woodside offers a probing revisionist overview of the bureaucratic politics of preindustrial China, Vietnam, and Korea. He focuses on the political and administrative theory of the three mandarinates and their long experimentation with governments recruited in part through meritocratic civil service examinations remarkable for their transparent procedures.
The quest for merit-based bureaucracy stemmed from the idea that good politics could be established through the "development of people"--the training of people to be politically useful. Centuries before civil service examinations emerged in the Western world, these three Asian countries were basing bureaucratic advancement on examinations in addition to patronage. But the evolution of the mandarinates cannot be accommodated by our usual timetables of what is "modern." The history of China, Vietnam, and Korea suggests that the rationalization processes we think of as modern may occur independently of one another and separate from such landmarks as the growth of capitalism or the industrial revolution.
A sophisticated examination of Asian political traditions, both their achievements and the associated risks, this book removes modernity from a standard Eurocentric understanding and offers a unique new perspective on the transnational nature of Asian history and on global historical time.
Mining in World History
Martin Lynch Reaktion Books, 2004 Library of Congress HD9506.A2L9 2002 | Dewey Decimal 622.09
This book deals with the history of mining and smelting from the Renaissance to the present. Martin Lynch opens with the invention, sometime before 1453, of a revolutionary technique for separating silver from copper. It was this invention which brought back to life the rich copper-silver mines of central Europe, in the process making brass cannon and silver coin available to the ambitious Habsburg emperors, thereby underpinning their quest for European domination. Lynch also discusses the Industrial Revolution and the far-reaching changes to mining and smelting brought about by the steam engine; the era of the gold rushes; the massive mineral developments and technological leaps forward which took place in the USA and South Africa at the end of the 19th century; and, finally, the spread of mass metal-production techniques amid the violent struggles of the 20th century. In an engaging, concise and fast-paced text, he presents the interplay of personalities, politics and technology that have shaped the metallurgical industries over the last 500 years.
The Mongol Empire can be seen as marking the beginning of the modern age, and of globalization as well. While communications between the extremes of Eurasia existed prior to the Mongols, they were infrequent and often through intermediaries. As this new book by Timothy May shows, the rise of the Mongol Empire changed everything—through their conquests the Mongols swept away dozens of empires and kingdoms and replaced them with the largest contiguous empire in history.
While the Mongols were an extremely destructive force in the premodern world, the Mongol Empire had stabilizing effects on the social, cultural and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast territory, allowing merchants and missionaries to transverse Eurasia. The Mongol Conquests in World History examines the many ways in which the conquests were a catalyst for change, including changes and advancements in warfare, food, culture, and scientific knowledge. Even as Mongol power declined, the memory of the Empire fired the collective imagination of the region into far-reaching endeavors, such as the desire for luxury goods and spices that launched Columbus’s voyage and the innovations in art that were manifested in the masterpieces of the Renaissance.
This fascinating book offers comprehensive coverage of the entire empire, rather than a more regional approach, and provides an extensive survey of the legacy of the Mongol Empire.
In a modern global historical context, scholars have often regarded piracy as an essentially European concept which was inappropriately applied by the expanding European powers to the rest of the world, mainly for the purpose of furthering colonial forms of domination in the economic, political, military, legal and cultural spheres. By contrast, this edited volume highlights the relevance of both European and non-European understandings of piracy to the development of global maritime security and freedom of navigation. It explores the significance of ‘legal posturing’ on the part of those accused of piracy, as well as the existence of non-European laws and regulations regarding piracy and related forms of maritime violence in the early modern era. The authors in this volume highlight cases from various parts of the early-modern world, thereby explaining piracy as a global phenomenon.
Despite its modest size, Portugal has played a major part in the development of Europe and the modern world. In Portugal in European and World History Malyn Newitt offers a fresh appraisal of Portuguese history and its role in the world—from early Moorish times to the English Alliance of 1650–1900 and through the country’s liberal revolution in 1974.
Newitt specifically examines episodes where Portugal was a key player or innovator in history. Chapters focus on such topics as Moorish Portugal, describing the cultural impact of contact with the Moors—one of the oldest points of contact between Western Europe and Islam; the opening up of trade with western Africa; and the explorations of Vasco de Gama and the evolution of Portugal as the first commercial empire of modern times. Newitt also examines Portugal’s role in the Counter-reformation, in Spain’s wars in Europe, and in the Anglo-Portuguese alliance. Finally, Newitt analyzes the fall of fascism and the Portuguese decolonization within the context of larger global empires and movements.
This new account of a country with a rich historyshows how Portugal has moved from being the last colonial power to one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the modern European ideal.
A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History is a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching women, gender, and sexuality in history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate these issues into their world history classes. Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks and Urmi Engineer Willoughby present possible course topics, themes, concepts, and approaches while offering practical advice on materials and strategies helpful for teaching courses from a global perspective in today's teaching environment for today's students. In their discussions of pedagogy, syllabus organization, fostering students' historical empathy, and connecting students with their community, Wiesner-Hanks and Willoughby draw readers into the process of strategically designing courses that will enable students to analyze gender and sexuality in history, whether their students are new to this process or hold powerful and personal commitments to the issues it raises.
A revolution is a discontinuity: one political order replaces another, typically through whatever violent means are available. Modern theories of revolutions tend neatly to bracket the French Revolution of 1789 with the fall of the Soviet Union two hundred years later, but contemporary global uprisings—with their truly multivalent causes and consequences—can overwhelm our ability to make sense of them.
In this authoritative new book, Saïd Amir Arjomand reaches back to antiquity to propose a unified theory of revolution. Revolution illuminates the stories of premodern rebellions from the ancient world, as well as medieval European revolts and more recent events, up to the Arab Spring of 2011. Arjomand categorizes revolutions in two groups: ones that expand the existing body politic and power structure, and ones that aim to erode—but paradoxically augment—their authority. The revolutions of the past, he tells us, can shed light on the causes of those of the present and future: as long as centralized states remain powerful, there will be room for greater, and perhaps forceful, integration of the politically disenfranchised.
A deep dive into the history of aquatics that exposes centuries-old tensions of race, gender, and power at the root of many contemporary swimming controversies.
Shifting Currents is an original and comprehensive history of swimming. It examines the tension that arose when non-swimming northerners met African and Southeast Asian swimmers. Using archaeological, textual, and art-historical sources, Karen Eva Carr shows how the water simultaneously attracted and repelled these northerners—swimming seemed uncanny, related to witchcraft and sin. Europeans used Africans’ and Native Americans’ swimming skills to justify enslaving them, but northerners also wanted to claim water’s power for themselves. They imagined that swimming would bring them health and demonstrate their scientific modernity. As Carr reveals, this unresolved tension still sexualizes women’s swimming and marginalizes Black and Indigenous swimmers today. Thus, the history of swimming offers a new lens through which to gain a clearer view of race, gender, and power on a centuries-long scale.
In this major, paradigm-shifting work, Kojin Karatani systematically re-reads Marx's version of world history, shifting the focus of critique from modes of production to modes of exchange. Karatani seeks to understand both Capital-Nation-State, the interlocking system that is the dominant form of modern global society, and the possibilities for superseding it. In The Structure of World History, he traces different modes of exchange, including the pooling of resources that characterizes nomadic tribes, the gift exchange systems developed after the adoption of fixed-settlement agriculture, the exchange of obedience for protection that arises with the emergence of the state, the commodity exchanges that characterize capitalism, and, finally, a future mode of exchange based on the return of gift exchange, albeit modified for the contemporary moment. He argues that this final stage—marking the overcoming of capital, nation, and state—is best understood in light of Kant's writings on eternal peace. The Structure of World History is in many ways the capstone of Karatani's brilliant career, yet it also signals new directions in his thought.