228 books about Imperialism and 16 start with R
228 books about Imperialism and 16 start with R
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
The nineteenth century marked the high point of imperialism, when tsarist Russia expanded to the Pacific and the sun was said never to set on the British Empire. Imperialism remains a perennial issue in international relations today, and nowhere is this more evident than in the intensifying competition for global resources.
Leo J. Blanken explains imperialism through an analysis of the institutions of both the expanding state and its targets of conquest. While democratic states favoring free trade generally resort to imperialism only to preempt aggressive rivals—or when they have reason to believe another state’s political institutions will not hold up when making bargains—authoritarian states tend toward imperialism because they don’t stand to benefit from free trade. The result is three distinct strategies toward imperialism: actors fighting over territory, actors peaceably dividing territory among themselves, and actors refraining from seizing territory altogether. Blanken examines these dynamics through three case studies: the scramble for Africa, the unequal treaties imposed on Qing Dynasty China, and the evolution of Britain’s imperial policy in India. By separating out the different types of imperialism, Blanken provides insight into its sources, as well as the potential implications of increased competition in the current international arena.
The second and first centuries B.C. were a critical period in Chinese history—they saw the birth and development of the new Chinese empire and its earliest expansion and acquisition of frontier territories. But for almost two thousand years, because of gaps in the available records, this essential chapter in the history was missing. Fortunately, with the discovery during the last century of about sixty thousand Han-period documents in Central Asia and western China preserved on strips of wood and bamboo, scholars have been able, for the first time, to put together many of the missing pieces.
In this first volume of his monumental history, Chun-shu Chang uses these newfound documents to analyze the ways in which political, institutional, social, economic, military, religious, and thought systems developed and changed in the critical period from early China to the Han empire (ca. 1600 B.C. – A.D. 220). In addition to exploring the formation and growth of the Chinese empire and its impact on early nation-building and later territorial expansion, Chang also provides insights into the life and character of critical historical figures such as the First Emperor (221– 210 B.C.) of the Ch’in and Wu-ti (141– 87 B.C.) of the Han, who were the principal agents in redefining China and its relationships with other parts of Asia. As never before, Chang’s study enables an understanding of the origins and development of the concepts of state, nation, nationalism, imperialism, ethnicity, and Chineseness in ancient and early Imperial China, offering the first systematic reconstruction of the history of Chinese acquisition and colonization.
Chun-shu Chang is Professor of History at the University of Michigan and is the author, with Shelley Hsueh-lun Chang, of Crisis and Transformation in Seventeenth-Century China and Redefining History: Ghosts, Spirits, and Human Society in P’u Sung-ling’s World, 1640 – 1715.
“An extraordinary survey of the political and administrative history of early imperial China, which makes available a body of evidence and scholarship otherwise inaccessible to English-readers. The underpinning of research is truly stupendous.”
—Ray Van Dam, Professor, Department of History, University of Michigan
“Powerfully argues from literary and archaeological records that empire, modeled on Han paradigms, has largely defined Chinese civilization ever since.”
—Joanna Waley-Cohen, Professor, Department of History, New York University
Winner of the SHEAR Book Prize
Honorable Mention, Avery O. Craven Award
“Few books have captured the lived experience of slavery as powerfully.”
—Ari Kelman, Times Literary Supplement
“[One] of the most impressive works of American history in many years.”
“An important, arguably seminal, book…Always trenchant and learned.”
—Wall Street Journal
A landmark history, by the author of National Book Critics Circle Award finalist The Broken Heart of America, that shows how slavery fueled Southern capitalism.
When Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory, he envisioned an “empire for liberty” populated by self-sufficient white farmers. Cleared of Native Americans and the remnants of European empires by Andrew Jackson, the Mississippi Valley was transformed instead into a booming capitalist economy commanded by wealthy planters, powered by steam engines, and dependent on the coerced labor of slaves. River of Dark Dreams places the Cotton Kingdom at the center of worldwide webs of exchange and exploitation that extended across oceans and drove an insatiable hunger for new lands. This bold reconsideration dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S. expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.
Walter Johnson deftly traces the connections between the planters’ pro-slavery ideology, Atlantic commodity markets, and Southern schemes for global ascendency. Using slave narratives, popular literature, legal records, and personal correspondence, he recreates the harrowing details of daily life under cotton’s dark dominion. We meet the confidence men and gamblers who made the Valley shimmer with promise, the slave dealers, steamboat captains, and merchants who supplied the markets, the planters who wrung their civilization out of the minds and bodies of their human property, and the true believers who threatened the Union by trying to expand the Cotton Kingdom on a global scale.
But at the center of the story are the enslaved people who pulled down the forests, planted the fields, picked the cotton—who labored, suffered, and resisted on the dark underside of the American dream.
“Shows how the Cotton Kingdom of the 19th-century Deep South, far from being a backward outpost of feudalism, was a dynamic engine of capitalist expansion built on enslaved labor.”
—A. O. Scott, New York Times
“River of Dark Dreams delivers spectacularly on the long-standing mission to write ‘history from the bottom up.’”
—Maya Jasanoff, New York Review of Books
In the 1880s, Europeans descended on Africa and grabbed vast swaths of the continent, using documents, not guns, as their weapon of choice. Rogue Empires follows a paper trail of questionable contracts to discover the confidence men whose actions touched off the Scramble for Africa. Many of them were would-be kings who sought to establish their own autonomous empires across the African continent—often at odds with traditional European governments which competed for control.
From 1882 to 1885, independent European businessmen and firms (many of doubtful legitimacy) produced hundreds of deeds purporting to buy political rights from indigenous African leaders whose understanding of these agreements was usually deemed irrelevant. A system of privately governed empires, some spanning hundreds of thousands of square miles, promptly sprang up in the heart of Africa. Steven Press traces the notion of empire by purchase to an unlikely place: the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, where the English adventurer James Brooke bought his own kingdom in the 1840s. Brooke’s example inspired imitators in Africa, as speculators exploited a loophole in international law in order to assert sovereignty and legal ownership of lands which they then plundered for profit.
The success of these experiments in governance attracted notice in European capitals. Press shows how the whole dubious enterprise came to a head at the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, when King Leopold of Belgium and the German Chancellor Bismarck embraced rogue empires as legal precedents for new colonial agendas in the Congo, Namibia, and Cameroon.
A millennium and a half after the end of the period of its unquestioned dominance, Rome remains a significant presence in western culture. This book explores what the empire meant to its subjects.
The idea of Rome has long outlived the physical empire that gave it form, and now holds sway over vastly more people and a far greater geographical area than the Romans ever ruled. It continues to shape our understanding of the nature of imperialism, and thus, however subtly, to influence the workings of the world. Unlike most works on Roman history, this book does not offer a simplistic narrative, with military triumph followed by decline and fall. Instead, it analyses the origins and nature of Roman imperialism, its economic, social and cultural impact on the regions it conquered, and its continuing influence in discussions and debates about modern imperialism.
A leading historian argues that in the empire we know as Byzantium, the Greek-speaking population was actually Roman, and scholars have deliberately mislabeled their ethnicity for the past two centuries for political reasons.
Was there ever such a thing as Byzantium? Certainly no emperor ever called himself “Byzantine.” And while the identities of minorities in the eastern empire are clear—contemporaries speak of Slavs, Bulgarians, Armenians, Jews, and Muslims—that of the ruling majority remains obscured behind a name made up by later generations.
Historical evidence tells us unequivocally that Byzantium’s ethnic majority, no less than the ruler of Constantinople, would have identified as Roman. It was an identity so strong in the eastern empire that even the conquering Ottomans would eventually adopt it. But Western scholarship has a long tradition of denying the Romanness of Byzantium. In Romanland, Anthony Kaldellis investigates why and argues that it is time for the Romanness of these so-called Byzantines to be taken seriously.
In the Middle Ages, he explains, people of the eastern empire were labeled “Greeks,” and by the nineteenth century they were shorn of their distorted Greekness and became “Byzantine.” Only when we understand that the Greek-speaking population of Byzantium was actually Roman will we fully appreciate the nature of Roman ethnic identity. We will also better understand the processes of assimilation that led to the absorption of foreign and minority groups into the dominant ethnic group, the Romans who presided over the vast multiethnic empire of the east.
The explosion of the industrial revolution and the rise of imperialism in the second half of the nineteenth century served to dramatically increase the supply and demand for weapons on a global scale. No longer could arms manufacturers in industrialized nations subsist by supplying their own states' arsenals, causing them to seek markets beyond their own borders.
Challenging the traditional view of arms dealers as agents of their own countries, Jonathan Grant asserts that these firms pursued their own economic interests while convincing their homeland governments that weapons sales delivered national prestige and could influence foreign countries. Industrial and banking interests often worked counter to diplomatic interests as arms sales could potentially provide nonindustrial states with the means to resist imperialism or pursue their own imperial ambitions. It was not mere coincidence that the only African country not conquered by Europeans, Ethiopia, purchased weapons from Italy prior to an attempted Italian invasion.
From the rise of Remington and Winchester during the American Civil War, to the German firm Krupp's negotiations with the Russian government, to an intense military modernization contest between Chile and Argentina, Grant vividly chronicles how an arms trade led to an all-out arms race, and ultimately to war.
A provocative case that “failed states” along the periphery of today’s international system are the intended result of nineteenth-century colonial design.
From the Afghan frontier with British India to the pampas of Argentina to the deserts of Arizona, nineteenth-century empires drew borders with an eye toward placing indigenous people just on the edge of the interior. They were too nomadic and communal to incorporate in the state, yet their labor was too valuable to displace entirely. Benjamin Hopkins argues that empires sought to keep the “savage” just close enough to take advantage of, with lasting ramifications for the global nation-state order.
Hopkins theorizes and explores frontier governmentality, a distinctive kind of administrative rule that spread from empire to empire. Colonial powers did not just create ad hoc methods or alight independently on similar techniques of domination: they learned from each other. Although the indigenous peoples inhabiting newly conquered and demarcated spaces were subjugated in a variety of ways, Ruling the Savage Periphery isolates continuities across regimes and locates the patterns of transmission that made frontier governmentality a world-spanning phenomenon.
Today, the supposedly failed states along the margins of the international system—states riven by terrorism and violence—are not dysfunctional anomalies. Rather, they work as imperial statecraft intended, harboring the outsiders whom stable states simultaneously encapsulate and exploit. “Civilization” continues to deny responsibility for border dwellers while keeping them close enough to work, buy goods across state lines, and justify national-security agendas. The present global order is thus the tragic legacy of a colonial design, sustaining frontier governmentality and its objectives for a new age.
The catastrophe of the First World War, and the destruction, revolution, and enduring hostilities it wrought, make the issue of its origins a perennial puzzle. Since World War II, Germany has been viewed as the primary culprit. Now, in a major reinterpretation of the conflict, Sean McMeekin rejects the standard notions of the war’s beginning as either a Germano-Austrian preemptive strike or a “tragedy of miscalculation.” Instead, he proposes that the key to the outbreak of violence lies in St. Petersburg.
It was Russian statesmen who unleashed the war through conscious policy decisions based on imperial ambitions in the Near East. Unlike their civilian counterparts in Berlin, who would have preferred to localize the Austro-Serbian conflict, Russian leaders desired a more general war so long as British participation was assured. The war of 1914 was launched at a propitious moment for harnessing the might of Britain and France to neutralize the German threat to Russia’s goal: partitioning the Ottoman Empire to ensure control of the Straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Nearly a century has passed since the guns fell silent on the western front. But in the lands of the former Ottoman Empire, World War I smolders still. Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Jews, and other regional antagonists continue fighting over the last scraps of the Ottoman inheritance. As we seek to make sense of these conflicts, McMeekin’s powerful exposé of Russia’s aims in the First World War will illuminate our understanding of the twentieth century.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press