The story of the Tohono O’odham peoples offers an important account of assimilation. Bifurcated by a border demarcating Mexico and the United States that was imposed on them after the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, the Tohono O’odham lived at the edge of two empires. Although they were often invisible to the majority cultures of the region, they attracted the attention of reformers and government officials in the United States, who were determined to “assimilate” native peoples into “American society.” By focusing on gender norms and ideals in the assimilation of the Tohono O’odham, At the Border of Empires provides a lens for looking at both Native American history and broader societal ideas about femininity, masculinity, and empire around the turn of the twentieth century.
Beginning in the 1880s, the US government implemented programs to eliminate “vice” among the Tohono O’odham and to encourage the morals of the majority culture as the basis of a process of “Americanization.” During the next fifty years, tribal norms interacted with—sometimes conflicting with and sometimes reinforcing—those of the larger society in ways that significantly shaped both government policy and tribal experience. This book examines the mediation between cultures, the officials who sometimes developed policies based on personal beliefs and gender biases, and the native people whose lives were impacted as a result. These issues are brought into useful relief by comparing the experiences of the Tohono O’odham on two sides of a border that was, from a native perspective, totally arbitrary.
What is lost in translation may be a war, a world, a way of life. A unique look into the nineteenth-century clash of empires from both sides of the earthshaking encounter, this book reveals the connections between international law, modern warfare, and comparative grammar--and their influence on the shaping of the modern world in Eastern and Western terms.
The Clash of Empires brings to light the cultural legacy of sovereign thinking that emerged in the course of the violent meetings between the British Empire and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Lydia Liu demonstrates how the collision of imperial will and competing interests, rather than the civilizational attributes of existing nations and cultures, led to the invention of "China," "the East," "the West," and the modern notion of "the world" in recent history. Drawing on her archival research and comparative analyses of English--and Chinese--language texts, as well as their respective translations, she explores how the rhetoric of barbarity and civilization, friend and enemy, and discourses on sovereign rights, injury, and dignity were a central part of British imperial warfare. Exposing the military and philological--and almost always translingual--nature of the clash of empires, this book provides a startlingly new interpretation of modern imperial history.
A photographer and a historian explore a vast archive of Spanish colonial history.
At a time when Western nations are being urged to confront their colonial past, this book examines a major archive, revealing the scale of the Spanish colonial enterprise in South and Central America.
Established in 1785, the Archivo General de Indias in Seville holds roughly three hundred years of Spanish colonial history in the Americas. It houses 8,000 charts and around ninety million documents—among them Christopher Columbus’s logbook and the famous Treaty of Tordesillas which, mediated by the Pope and signed in 1494, entitled the Spanish and Portuguese kings to divide the world between them. With this treaty as a starting point, the historian Martin Zimmermann journeys into the age of discovery and recounts stories of dangerous passages, encounters with the unknown, colonial brutality, and the power of cartographers, illustrating the insatiable lust of colonialists to conquer, exploit, and own the world. Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’s photographs show the archive before its redevelopment in 2002, offering a unique view into one of Europe’s most significant archives.
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.
Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Georgia is a country of rainforests and swamps, snow and glaciers, and semi-arid plains. It has ski resorts and mineral springs, monuments and an oil pipeline. It also has one of the longest and most turbulent histories in the Christian or Near Eastern world, but no comprehensive, up-to-date account has been written about this little-known country—until now. Remedying this omission, Donald Rayfield accesses a mass of new material from recently opened archives to tell Georgia’s absorbing story.
Beginning with the first intimations of the existence of Georgians in ancient Anatolia and ending with the volatile presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili, Rayfield deals with the country’s internal politics and swings between disintegration and unity, and divulges Georgia’s complex struggles with the empires that have tried to control, fragment, or even destroy it. He describes the country’s conflicts with Xenophon’s Greeks, Arabs, invading Turks, the Crusades, Genghis Khan, the Persian Empire, the Russian Empire, and Soviet totalitarianism. A wide-ranging examination of this small but colorful country, its dramatic state-building, and its tragic political mistakes, Edge of Empires draws our eyes to this often overlooked nation.
In an engaging, revisionist study, John M. Carroll argues that in the century after the Opium War, Hong Kong's colonial nature helped create a local Chinese business elite.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the colonial government saw Chinese businessmen as allies in establishing Hong Kong as a commercial center. The idea of a commercially vibrant China united them. Chinese and British leaders cooperated on issues of mutual concern, such as the expansion of capitalism and political and economic directions for an ailing China.
These Chinese also found opportunities in the colonial system to develop business and commerce. In doing so, they used Hong Kong's strategic position to underscore their own identity as a distinctive group unlike their mainland counterparts. Nationalism took on a specifically Hong Kong character. At the same time, by contributing to imperial war funds, organizing ceremonies for visiting British royalty, and attending imperial trade exhibitions, the Chinese helped make Hong Kong an active member of the global British Empire.
In Edge of Empires, Carroll situates Hong Kong squarely within the framework of both Chinese and British colonial history, while exploring larger questions about the meaning and implications of colonialism in modern history.
Oil lies at the heart of the modern history of the Middle East. For decades, the world’s largest oil reserves have enriched the region’s nations. But oil wealth has not brought with it universal prosperity. It has, though, transformed the Middle Eastern people and societies—enriching empires and engendering anarchies.
Empires and Anarchies is an unconventional history of oil in the Middle East. In Michael Quentin Morton’s account the burnt-out remains of Saddam Hussein’s armaments and the human tragedy of the Arab Spring are as much of the story as the shimmering skylines of oil-rich nations. From the first explorers trudging through the desert to the excesses of the Peacock Throne and the high stakes of OPEC, Morton lays out the history of oil in compelling detail, arguing that oil simultaneously enriched and fractured the Middle East, eroding traditional ways of life, and eventually contributing to the rise of Islamic radicalism. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in the promises and peril of the world’s oil boom.
Between 1350 and 1750—a time of empires, exploration, and exposure to radically different lands and cultures—the world reached a tipping point of global connectedness. In this volume of the acclaimed series A History of the World, noted international scholars examine five critical geographical areas during this pivotal period: Eurasia between Russia and Japan; the Muslim world of the Ottoman and Persian empires; Mughal India and the Indian Ocean trading world; maritime Southeast Asia and Oceania; and a newly configured transatlantic rim. While people in many places remained unaware of anything beyond their own village, an intense period of empire building led to expanding political, economic, and cultural interaction on every continent—early signals of a shrinking globe.
By the early fourteenth century Eurasia’s Mongol empires were disintegrating. Concurrently, followers of both Islam and Christianity increased exponentially, with Islam exerting a powerful cultural influence in the spreading Ottoman and Safavid empires. India came under Mughal rule, experiencing a significant growth in trade along the Indian Ocean and East African coastlines. In Southeast Asia, Muslims engaged in expansion on the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, and the Philippines. And both sides of the Atlantic responded to the pressure of European commerce, which sowed the seeds of a world economy based on the resources of the Americas but made possible by the subjugation of Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans.
Empires and the Reach of the Global brings the history of empires into sharp focus by showing how imperialism has been a shaping force not just in international politics but in the economies and cultures of today's world. Focusing on both the strengths and limits of imperial power, Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton describe the creation and disintegration of the reigning world order in the period from 1870 to 1945.
Using the British, Japanese, and Ottoman empires as case studies, the authors trace the communication, transportation, and economic networks that were instrumental to empire building. They highlight the role of empires as place-making regimes that organize geographic space as distinct territories. Militaries and missionaries, workplaces and households, all served as key domains of interaction within these territories, as colonial officials sought to manage the customs and lifeways of indigenous populations. Imperial connections contributed to the shrinking of time and space, but colonial encroachments also provoked opposition, which often played out in locations of everyday activity, from fields and factories to schools and prisons. Colonized territories sponsored a variety of forms of organized resistance, with full-fledged nationalist movements erupting onto the global scene in the interwar period.
Ballantyne and Burton stress that empire was not something fabricated in European capitals and implemented "out there." Rather, imperial systems, with their many racial, gendered, and economic forms, affected empires in all of their parts--the metropole as well as the farthest outpost.
In this book, based on lectures delivered at the Historical Society of Israel, the famed historian G. W. Bowersock presents a searching examination of political developments in the Arabian Peninsula on the eve of the rise of Islam. Recounting the growth of Christian Ethiopia and the conflict with Jewish Arabia, he describes the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of a late resurgent Sassanian (Persian) Empire. He concludes by underscoring the importance of the Byzantine Empire’s defeat of the Sassanian forces, which destabilized the region and thus provided the opportunity for the rise and military success of Islam in the seventh century. Using close readings of surviving texts, Bowersock sheds new light on the complex causal relationships among the Byzantine, Ethiopian, Persian, and emerging Islamic forces.
Empires, Nations, and Natives is a groundbreaking comparative analysis of the interplay between the practice of anthropology and the politics of empires and nation-states in the colonial and postcolonial worlds. It brings together essays that demonstrate how the production of social-science knowledge about the “other” has been inextricably linked to the crafting of government policies. Subverting established boundaries between national and imperial anthropologies, the contributors explore the role of anthropology in the shifting categorizations of race in southern Africa, the identification of Indians in Brazil, the implementation of development plans in Africa and Latin America, the construction of Mexican and Portuguese nationalism, the genesis of “national character” studies in the United States during World War II, the modernizing efforts of the French colonial administration in Africa, and postcolonial architecture.
The contributors—social and cultural anthropologists from the Americas and Europe—report on both historical and contemporary processes. Moving beyond controversies that cast the relationship between scholarship and politics in binary terms of complicity or autonomy, they bring into focus a dynamic process in which states, anthropological knowledge, and population groups themselves are mutually constructed. Such a reflexive endeavor is an essential contribution to a critical anthropological understanding of a changing world.
Contributors: Alban Bensa, Marcio Goldman, Adam Kuper, Benoît de L’Estoile, Claudio Lomnitz, David Mills, Federico Neiburg, João Pacheco de Oliveira, Jorge Pantaleón, Omar Ribeiro Thomaz, Lygia Sigaud, Antonio Carlos de Souza Lima, Florence Weber
Empires of Entertainment integrates legal, regulatory, industrial, and political histories to chronicle the dramatic transformation within the media between 1980 and 1996. As film, broadcast, and cable grew from fundamentally separate industries to interconnected, synergistic components of global media conglomerates, the concepts of vertical and horizontal integration were redesigned. The parameters and boundaries of market concentration, consolidation, and government scrutiny began to shift as America's politics changed under the Reagan administration. Through the use of case studies that highlight key moments in this transformation, Jennifer Holt explores the politics of deregulation, the reinterpretation of antitrust law, and lasting modifications in the media landscape.
Holt skillfully expands the conventional models and boundaries of media history. A fundamental part of her argument is that these media industries have been intertwined for decades and, as such, cannot be considered separately. Instead, film, cable and broadcast must be understood in relation to one another, as critical components of a common history. Empires of Entertainment is a unique account of deregulation and its impact on political economy, industrial strategies, and media culture at the end of the twentieth century.
Applying critical research on healing and the body to Asian studies, the articles in Empires of Hygiene challenges assumptions about the universality of medical truth. This special issue of positions investigates how medicine, the craft of healing, also acts as a sort of hygiene—a disciplinary agent against the unruly forces of nature and culture. Assuming the complicity of scientific medical practice with forms of domination and exclusion, the contributors not only demonstrate how medicine has been used as a tool of empire but also the ways in which events and institutions have literally transformed bodily life in Asia. Featuring a variety of topics and methods, essays in Empires of Hygiene compare the disease that is physically suffered to that which is scientifically classified and identified as a social problem. Diseases such as leprosy and STDs, which have biomedical identities in Western settings but in Asia emerge as inseparable from certain colonial regimes, are examined. Spermatorrhea—a disease that compromises the male body’s ability to reproduce—is discussed in relation to the disarray of the Chinese Republic during the mid-twentieth century. The collection also addresses imperial themes of prewar Japan in the literary works of Mori Rintaro and Shimazaki Tison.
Contributors. Warwick Anderson, Michael Bourdaghs, Judith Farquhar, Marta Hanson, Thomas LaMarre, Philippa Levine, Hugh Shapiro, Nathan Sivin
Renaissance humanists believed that the origins of peoples could reveal crucial facts about their modern political character. Margaret Meserve explores what happened when European historians turned to study the political history of a faith other than their own.
Meserve investigates the methods and illuminates the motives of scholars negotiating shifting boundaries—between scholarly research and political propaganda, between a commitment to critical historical inquiry and the pressure of centuries of classical and Christian prejudice, between the academic ideals of humanism and the everyday demands of political patronage. Drawing on political oratory, diplomatic correspondence, crusade propaganda, and historical treatises, Meserve shows how research into the origins of Islamic empires sprang from—and contributed to—contemporary debates over the threat of Islamic expansion in the Mediterranean. Humanist histories of the Turks were sharply polemical, portraying the Ottomans as a rogue power. But writings on other Muslim polities include some of the first positive appraisals of Muslim statecraft in the European tradition.
This groundbreaking book offers new insights into Renaissance humanist scholarship and the longstanding European debates over the relationship between Christianity and Islam.
Empires of the Sand offers a bold and comprehensive reinterpretation of the struggle for mastery in the Middle East during the long nineteenth century (1789-1923). This book denies primacy to Western imperialism in the restructuring of the region and attributes equal responsibility to regional powers. Rejecting the view of modern Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of global power politics, the authors argue that the main impetus for the developments of this momentous period came from the local actors.
Ottoman and Western imperial powers alike are implicated in a delicate balancing act of manipulation and intrigue in which they sought to exploit regional and world affairs to their greatest advantage. Backed by a wealth of archival sources, the authors refute the standard belief that Europe was responsible for the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the region's political unity. Instead, they show how the Hashemites played a decisive role in shaping present Middle Eastern boundaries and in hastening the collapse of Ottoman rule. Similarly, local states and regimes had few qualms about seeking support and protection from the "infidel" powers they had vilified whenever their interests so required.
Karsh and Karsh see a pattern of pragmatic cooperation and conflict between the Middle East and the West during the past two centuries, rather than a "clash of civilizations." Such a vision affords daringly new ways of viewing the Middle East's past as well as its volatile present.
Empires of Vision: A Reader
Martin Jay and Sumathi Ramaswamy, eds. Duke University Press, 2014 Library of Congress JC359.E4625 2014 | Dewey Decimal 325.3
Empires of Vision brings together pieces by some of the most influential scholars working at the intersection of visual culture studies and the history of European imperialism. The essays and excerpts focus on the paintings, maps, geographical surveys, postcards, photographs, and other media that comprise the visual milieu of colonization, struggles for decolonization, and the lingering effects of empire. Taken together, they demonstrate that an appreciation of the role of visual experience is necessary for understanding the functioning of hegemonic imperial power and the ways that the colonized subjects spoke, and looked, back at their imperial rulers. Empires of Vision also makes a vital point about the complexity of image culture in the modern world: We must comprehend how regimes of visuality emerged globally, not only in the metropole but also in relation to the putative margins of a world that increasingly came to question the very distinction between center and periphery.
Contributors. Jordanna Bailkin, Roger Benjamin, Daniela Bleichmar, Zeynep Çelik, David Ciarlo, Natasha Eaton, Simon Gikandi, Serge Gruzinski, James L. Hevia, Martin Jay, Brian Larkin, Olu Oguibe, Ricardo Padrón, Christopher Pinney, Sumathi Ramaswamy, Benjamin Schmidt, Terry Smith, Robert Stam, Eric A. Stein, Nicholas Thomas, Krista A. Thompson
Empires on the Waterfront offers a new spatial framework for understanding Japan’s extended transition into the modern world of nation-states. This study examines a largely unacknowledged system of “special trading ports” that operated under full Japanese jurisdiction in the shadow of the better-known treaty ports. By allowing Japan to circumvent conditions imposed on treaty ports, the special trading ports were key to achieving autonomy and regional power.
Catherine L. Phipps uses an overtly geographic approach to demonstrate that the establishment of Japan’s maritime networks depended on initiatives made and carried out on multiple geographical scales—global, national, and local. The story of the special trading ports unfolds in these three dimensions. Through an in-depth assessment of the port of Moji in northern Kyushu, Empires on the Waterfront recasts the rise of Japan’s own empire as a process deeply embedded in the complicated system of maritime relations in East Asia during the pivotal second half of the nineteenth century.
Empires to Nations was first published in 1974. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This history traces the growth of the Euroamerican societies in the Western Hemisphere during the eighteenth-century period of European expansion. Professor Savelle reviews the continuation and completion of the exploration of the American continent and describes the evolution of the New World empires of the English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch, He devotes separate chapters to the development of the political structures of the colonies and the rivalries, wars, and diplomatic exchanges among the empires. He also reviews and analyzes the economic history of the colonial societies in their three-way relationships – with their mother countries, with each other, and within themselves as regional or local entities. Final chapters are devoted to the birth and growth of national self-consciousness among the new societies.
In the past fifty years, according to Christine So, the narratives of many popular Asian American books have been dominated by economic questions-what money can buy, how money is lost, how money is circulated, and what labor or objects are worth. Focusing on books that have achieved mainstream popularity, Economic Citizens unveils the logic of economic exchange that determined Asian Americans’ transnational migrations and national belonging.
With penetrating insight, So examines literary works that have been successful in the U.S. marketplace but have been read previously by critics largely as narratives of alienation or assimilation, including Fifth Chinese Daughter, Flower Drum Song, Falling Leaves and Turning Japanese. In contrast to other studies that have focused on the marginalization of Asian Americans, Economic Citizens examines how Asian Americans have entered into the public sphere.
A Historical Survey of the Many Ways Empires have Succumbed to External and Internal Pressures
There are no self-proclaimed empires today. After the twentieth century, with its worldwide wave of decolonizing and liberation movements, the very word “empire” conjures images of slavery, war, repression, and colonialism. None of this is to say that empires are confined to the past, however. By at least some reasonable definitions, empires do exist today. Many articles and books speak about the decline of the “American Empire,” for example, or compare the history of the United States to that of Rome or the British Empire. Yet no public official would speak candidly of American “imperial” interests in the Middle East or use the word “empire” in discussions of the nation’s future the same way British politicians did in the twentieth century. In addition, empires don’t have to fit the classical Roman mold; there are many kinds of empire and varieties of international authority, such as cultural imperialism and economic imperialism. But it is clear empires do not last, even those that once harnessed great wealth, strong armies, and sophisticated legal systems.
InThe Fall of Empires: A Brief History of Imperial Collapse, historian Chad Denton describes the end of seventeen empires throughout world history, from Athens to Qin China, from the Byzantium to the Mughals. He reveals—through stories of conquest, corruption, incompetence, assassination, bigotry, and environmental crisis—how even the most seemingly eternal of empires declined. For Athens and Britain it was military hubris; for Qin China and Russia it was alienating their subjects through oppression; Persia succumbed with the loss of its capital; the Khmer faced ecological catastrophe; while the Aztecs were destroyed by colonial exploitation. None of these events alone explains why the empires fell, but they do provide a glimpse into the often-unpredictable currents of history, which have so far spared no empire. A fascinating and instructive survey, The Fall of Empiresprovides compelling evidence about the fate of centralized regional or global power.
From the Mesoamerican highlands to the Colca Valley in Peru, pre-Columbian civilizations were bastions of power that have largely been viewed through the lens of rulership, or occasionally through bottom-up perspectives of resistance. Rather than focusing on rulers or peasants, this book examines how intermediate elites—both men and women—helped to develop, sustain, and resist state policies and institutions. Employing new archaeological and ethnohistorical data, its contributors trace a 2,000-year trajectory of elite social evolution in the Zapotec, Wari, Aztec, Inka, and Maya civilizations.
This is the first volume to consider how individuals subordinate to imperial rulers helped to shape specific forms of state and imperial organization. Taking a broader scope than previous studies, it is one of the few works to systematically address these issues in both Mesoamerica and the Central Andes. It considers how these individuals influenced the long-term development of the largest civilizations of the ancient Americas, opening a new window on the role of intermediate elites in the rise and fall of ancient states and empires worldwide.
The authors demonstrate how such evidence as settlement patterns, architecture, decorative items, and burial patterns reflect the roles of intermediate elites in their respective societies, arguing that they were influential actors whose interests were highly significant in shaping the specific forms of state and imperial organization. Their emphasis on provincial elites particularly shifts examination of early states away from royal capitals and imperial courts, explaining how local elites and royal bureaucrats had significant impact on the development and organization of premodern states.
Together, these papers demonstrate that intricate networks of intermediate elites bound these ancient societies together—and that competition between individuals and groups contributed to their decline and eventual collapse. By addressing current theoretical concerns with agency, resistance to state domination, and the co-option of local leadership by imperial administrators, it offers valuable new insight into the utility of studying intermediate elites.
Islands and Empires was first published in 1976. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This is the first one-volume account of the massive impact of Western civilization on the Pacific Islands and the Far East, principally China and Japan. The effects on the two areas were very different since, in the case of the islands, contact was with peoples who were still in the Stone Age, while in the Far East Westerners came up against sophisticated civilizations more ancient and mature than their own. Because of these differences, the book is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the Pacific Islands and the second with the East Asian mainland. Reverse influences—those of the Eastern cultures on the West—are also discussed.
Even before the romanticized golden era of Shanghai in the 1930s, the famed Asian city was remarkable for its uniqueness and East-meets-West cosmopolitanism. Meng Yue analyzes a century-long shift of urbanity from China’s heartland to its shore. During the period between the decline of Jiangnan cities such as Suzhou and Yangzhou and Shanghai’s early twentieth-century rise, the overlapping cultural edges of a failing Chinese royal order and the encroachment of Western imperialists converged. Simultaneously appropriating and resisting imposing forces, Shanghai opened itself to unruly, subversive practices, becoming a crucible of creativity and modernism.
Calling into question conventional ways of conceptualizing modernity, colonialism, and intercultural relations, Meng Yue examines such cultural practices as the work of the commercial press, street theater, and literary arts, and shows that what appear to be minor cultural changes often signal the presence of larger political and economic developments. Engaging theories of modernity and postcolonial and global cultural studies, Meng Yue reveals the paradoxical interdependence between imperial and imperialist histories and the retranslation of culture that characterized the most notable result of China’s urban relocation—the emergence of the international city of Shanghai.
Meng Yue is assistant professor of East Asian languages and literature at the University of California, Irvine.
American Indians remain familiar as icons, yet poorly understood as historical agents. In this ambitious book that ranges across Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and eastern California (a region known as the Great Basin), Ned Blackhawk places Native peoples squarely at the center of a dynamic and complex story as he chronicles two centuries of Indian and imperial history that profoundly shaped the American West.
On the distant margins of empire, Great Basin Indians increasingly found themselves engulfed in the chaotic storms of European expansion and responded in ways that refashioned themselves and those around them. Focusing on Ute, Paiute, and Shoshone Indians, Blackhawk illuminates this history through a lens of violence, excavating the myriad impacts of colonial expansion. Brutal networks of trade and slavery forged the Spanish borderlands, and the use of violence became for many Indians a necessary survival strategy, particularly after Mexican Independence when many became raiders and slave traffickers. Throughout such violent processes, these Native communities struggled to adapt to their changing environments, sometimes scoring remarkable political ends while suffering immense reprisals.
Violence over the Land is a passionate reminder of the high costs that the making of American history occasioned for many indigenous peoples, written from the vantage point of an Indian scholar whose own family history is intimately bound up in its enduring legacies.
Many people are familiar with American Commodore Matthew Perry’s expedition to open trade relations with Japan in the early 1850s. Less well known is that on the heels of the Perry squadron followed a Russian expedition secretly on the same mission. Serving as secretary to the naval commander was novelist Ivan Goncharov, who turned his impressions into a book, The Frigate Pallada, which became a bestseller in imperial Russia. In A World of Empires, Edyta Bojanowska uses Goncharov’s fascinating travelogue as a window onto global imperial history in the mid-nineteenth century.
Reflecting on encounters in southern Africa’s Cape Colony, Dutch Java, Spanish Manila, Japan, and the British ports of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, Goncharov offers keen observations on imperial expansion, cooperation, and competition. Britain’s global ascendancy leaves him in equal measures awed and resentful. In Southeast Asia, he recognizes an increasingly interlocking world in the vibrant trading hubs whose networks encircle the globe. Traveling overland back home, Goncharov presents Russia’s colonizing rule in Siberia as a positive imperial model, contrasted with Western ones.
Slow to be integrated into the standard narrative on European imperialism, Russia emerges here as an increasingly assertive empire, eager to position itself on the world stage among its American and European rivals and fully conversant with the ideologies of civilizing mission and race. Goncharov’s gripping narrative offers a unique eyewitness account of empire in action, in which Bojanowska finds both a zeal to emulate European powers and a determination to define Russia against them.