Four questions to three readings: read and then briefly respond to each of these questions in three or four sentences.
Below are the questions and the reading that will be associated to that question.
Empires in World History, Chapter 1 “Imperial Trajectories”
Bodies in Contact, (Introduction only)
Empires in World History, Chapter 5 “Beyond the Mediterranean
- [Empires in World History, Introduction “Imperial Trajectories”] In your own words, how do Burbank and Cooper characterize and justify using empires as a way to view world history?
- [Bodies in Contact, “Introduction: Bodies, Empires, and World Histories”] In your own words, why do the authors (Ballantyne and Burton) feel that by focusing on bodies (specifically colonial encounters with female bodies) we can provide more depth to our understanding of world history?
- [Bodies in Contact, “Introduction: Bodies, Empires, and World Histories”] In your view, what are some of the benefits of viewing world history through the lens of empires? Bodies? What are some of the limitations?
- [Empires in World History, “Beyond the Mediterranean”] Briefly compare and contrast the Spanish and Ottoman Empires as discussed in this chapter. In what ways were they similar? How were they different?
Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton
Introduction: Bodies, Empires,
and World Histories
We live in a world profoundly shaped by cross-cultural en-counters, slavery, colonization, and migration. These forceshave not only been central in determining the distribution of wealth and power at a global level, but they have also molded the world’s demographic profile, dictated where national boundaries have been inscribed, influenced the legal regimes that govern people’s lives, and shaped the ways di√erent ethnic, religious, racial, and national com- munities relate to each other. The impact of colonialism and the results of empire building are not restricted to ‘‘high politics’’ and state practices, but also shape everyday life at a global level, influencing the languages we speak, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the music we listen to, and the arts and culture we are inspired by. The legacies of slavery, empires, and mobility are frequently painful, but they are inescapable: in many ways, these legacies are at the heart of what it is to be modern, what it is to be human, at the start of the twenty-first century.
As a distinctive approach to the past, one that focuses on cross-cultural encounters, institutions, and ideologies and the integrative power of vari- ous types of networks, world history allows us to scrutinize the diverse forces that have brought various communities into contact, concert, and conflict. World history has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years, in part because economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and other stu- dents of the present moment are increasingly interested in how areas of the globe that were once thought to be distinct have actually been inter- connected for a very long time. It is no longer possible, or even desirable,
Downloaded from http://read.dukeupress.edu/books/chapter-pdf/617519/9780822386452-001.pdf by University of California Santa Cruz user on 29 July 2020
to uncritically think in terms of ‘‘the West,’’ ‘‘Asia,’’ ‘‘Europe,’’ or ‘‘the Third World’’—not only because each of those categories tends to ho- mogenize the geographical region it evokes, but equally because all of those places have been interdependent from the fourteenth century on- ward, if not before. Scholars have been at work investigating what many of us in the first decades of the twenty-first century take for granted in the present: that because of trade, migration, revolution, war, religion, and travel, goods, people, ideas, and civilizations themselves are all the result of transnational processes. In other words—and to use a common buzz- word of the moment—they are the result of ‘‘globalization.’’ Here we agree with Laura Briggs that the term globalization is often ‘‘a placeholder, a word with no exact meaning that we use in our contested e√orts to describe the successors to development and colonialism.’’∞ Current de- bates on globalization emphasize some of the same processes of intercon- nection and mutual dependence that practitioners of world history have examined in the past twenty years. Their teaching and research have sug- gested that far from being fixed within borders or limited to local commu- nities and national states, many of the world’s most important com- modities, political systems, and spiritual practices are the consequence of diverse cultural encounters over time and space—so much so that we now have to rethink terms like ‘‘European progress,’’ ‘‘Chinese trade,’’ and ‘‘Western Christianity.’’ Coming to these subjects from the perspective of world history allows us to appreciate how they came to be identified with such geographical precision. It also underscores the limits of understand- ing them merely as insular national or territorially based phenomena. World history, in short, enables us to take a global view of ostensibly local events, systems, and cultures and to reevaluate the histories of connection and rupture that have left their mark, in turn, on our contemporary condition.
The influence of societies on each other across regions and, in some cases, across the globe does not mean, of course, that they have been uniform or anything like united, even at the same moments in history. This is in large part because empires and imperial ambitions have been among the most powerful sponsors of ‘‘cultural contact’’—and of the processes of intermixture, borrowing, fusion, and appropriation that such contact has given rise to over the course of centuries. So, for exam- ple, European cultures have been immeasurably shaped by their encoun- ters with African, Indian, and Mesoamerican peoples in ways that make
Downloaded from http://read.dukeupress.edu/books/chapter-pdf/617519/9780822386452-001.pdf by University of California Santa Cruz user on 29 July 2020
Bodies, Empires, and World Histories 3
Europe itself one of the greatest examples of transnationality in the world. But the often violent imposition of European modernity on ‘‘subject peoples’’ in the form of technology, capitalist labor practices, and the Christian civilizing mission has meant that cultures on the receiving end of such contact have been in a reactive and at times defensive posture with respect to dominant forms of ‘‘global’’ influence. Nor are such imperial strategies unique to the ‘‘West.’’ Both the Han and the Mughal empires produced similar forms of colonial encounter with the indigenous com- munities they came into contact with, models of which later, Western imperial advocates (notably the British) were acutely aware. The impact of empires on global processes and transformations has thus been con- siderable, as well as historically significant. That is why this collection focuses on the role of imperial ideologies—their agents and their en- emies, their collaborators and their resisters—in helping to shape world history.
A few caveats are in order. We use the term ‘‘empire’’ quite loosely here, intending it to mean webs of trade, knowledge, migration, military power, and political intervention that allowed certain communities to assert their influence and sovereignty over other groups.≤ In other words, these ‘‘imperial webs’’ functioned as systems of exchange, mobility, ap- propriation, and extraction, fashioned to enable the empire-building power to exploit the natural resources, manufactured goods, or valued skills of the subordinated group. In o√ering the image of the web, we want to emphasize interconnected networks of contact and exchange without downplaying the very real systems of power and domination such networks had the power to transport. The web’s intricate strands carried with them and helped to create hierarchies of race, class, religion, and gender, among others, thereby casting the conquerors as superior and the conquered as subordinate, with important and lingering conse- quences for the communities they touched. We do not wish to suggest that empires functioned as colossal juggernauts, razing everything in their paths and putting into place systems of domination that were una√ected by ‘‘native’’ agency or uncontested by indigenous interests. Indeed, the image of the web also conveys something of the double nature of the imperial system. Empires, like webs, were fragile and prone to crises where important threads were broken or structural nodes destroyed, yet also dynamic, being constantly remade and reconfigured through con- certed thought and e√ort.
Downloaded from http://read.dukeupress.edu/books/chapter-pdf/617519/9780822386452-001.pdf by University of California Santa Cruz user on 29 July 2020
As the essays that follow amply demonstrate, empires have not simply been carriers or enablers of global processes, they have in turn spawned new hybrid forms of economic activity, political practice, and cultural performance that take on lives of their own—in part because of the ways colonized peoples and cultures have acted on or resisted imperial political and social forms. Nor do we want to imply that all world history can be reduced simply to the fact of empires. Not only does such a claim stake too much ground for imperial histories, but it is in danger of blinding us to stories large and small which cannot always be glimpsed through the archives that empires leave behind. But we do believe that targeting em- pires is one way of making sense of world history because it requires us to pay attention to big structural events and changes as well as to ask what impact they had on microprocesses and the historical subjects who lived with and through them. Tracking empires in a global context is, in other words, one way of reimagining the world’s history so that both its monu- mental quality and its ultimately fragmented character can be captured simultaneously.
Why the focus on bodies as a means of accessing the colonial encoun- ters in world history? Quite simply, we are seeking a way to dramatize how, why, and under what conditions women and gender can be made visible in world history—a challenge on many levels. Women do not tend to enter the primary source materials that remain from imperial and colo- nial archives because, for the most part, they did not hold positions of o≈cial power. This absence has meant that it is di≈cult to see them, and to understand their historical roles, in world civilizations. There are ex- ceptions, of course. Queens and elite women can be recaptured from obscurity through texts and visual images; they dot the landscape of world history textbooks and even some books devoted to women of the past across the globe. But this leaves us with a less than satisfying view of how women experienced the movement of history, how dominant and indigenous regimes saw them, and what role gender has played in helping to shape civilizational attitudes as well as transnational movements and processes.
What is striking, however, is the extent to which women’s bodies (and, to a lesser degree, men’s) have been a subject of concern, scrutiny, anxiety, and surveillance in a variety of times and places across the world. Whether it was native Indian women’s sexuality that caused concern for a coloniz- ing Catholic Church in colonial Mexico or that of Japanese women under
Bodies, Empires, and World Histories 5
postwar U.S. military occupation, the female body has gotten—and kept—the attention of imperial o≈cials in ways that demonstrate how crucial its management was believed to be for social order and political stability. The stakes of this stability were perhaps especially high for impe- rial powers, which were de facto trying to impose specific political forms and cultural practices on often unwilling populations. What this means is that the body can be read by us as evidence of how women were viewed by, and how gender assumptions undergirded, empires in all their com- plexity. Some of the essays in this collection focus on the body very ex- plicitly, as in Patrick McDevitt’s essay on contact sport as a national pas- time in colonial Ireland and Hyun Sook Kim’s on the fate of ‘‘comfort women’’ in the context of World War II. Other essays use the body as a metaphor for citizenship and the nation, as in Elisa Camiscioli’s work on interwar French immigration controls as expressions of concern about the racial purity of the ‘‘national body.’’ Others focus on examples of cultural contact through bodies literally in motion, like Siobhan Lambert Hurley’s essay on the begam of Bhopal and Carter Vaughn Findley’s research on the Ottoman traveler and writer Ahmed Midhat. Still others, like Melani McAlister’s essay that begins with Muhammad Ali, show how famous bodies can be used as a jumping-o√ point for seeing connections between local communities (African Americans during the cold war) and transnational events with global significance (the Arab-Israeli War and the international Islamicist movement).
The volume is divided into three sections. The first section, ‘‘Thresh- olds of Modernity: Mapping Genders,’’ focuses on the place of race, gen- der, and sexuality in empire building during the early modern period. Although the essays range over disparate geographic and social contexts, they underscore the centrality of the body in the articulation of imperial ideologies and in the often fraught dynamics of cross-cultural contact. More generally still, the contributions in this first section reveal how the operation of early modern empires began to reconfigure understandings of the body at a global level, as the languages of gender and race grew in authority and imperial systems began to ‘‘globalize’’ and universalize legal regimes, religious beliefs, and understandings of sickness and death. The essays that make up the second section of the volume, ‘‘Global Empires, Local Encounters,’’ examine a wide array of very specific local colonial encounters from the close of the eighteenth century to the middle decades of the twentieth century. These essays chart the diverse locations where
understandings of the body were defined and contested: from the sports fields of Ireland to Australian courtrooms, from the prairies of the Ameri- can Midwest to the clubs of colonial India, from swimming holes in Mozambique to the British Columbia frontier. The contributions to this section foreground the ways the boundaries of race and gender were negotiated, policed, and reinforced in an age of colonial modernity and demonstrate the processes that increasingly undermined the flexibility and fluidity that characterized many earlier social formations.
The third section of the volume, ‘‘The Mobility of Politics and the Politics of Mobility,’’ focuses on the battles over empire from the final decade of the nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. While many of the essays examine the politics of anticolonialism and national- ism, they all reflect on the ways our modern world was shaped by greater mobility, whether in travel, migration, the flow of ideas and information, war, or imperial expansion itself. The fierce debates over imperialism reconstructed in this section turn on the body, how it was managed, how it could be represented, and how the brutalities visited on particular types of bodies should be remembered or understood. The collection closes with a final essay that reflects on the volume as a whole and that uses the notion of ‘‘bodies in contact’’ to map some future directions for both world history research and teaching.
the essays collected here have, then, a dual purpose. First, they emphasize the centrality of bodies—raced, sexed, classed, and ethnicized bodies—as sites through which imperial and colonial power was imag- ined and exercised. By thus foregrounding the body, this volume marks a fundamental reconception of the nature and workings of empires: we focus on the material e√ects of geopolitical systems in everyday spaces, family life, and on-the-ground cultural encounters. Rather than privileg- ing the operations of the Foreign O≈ce or gentlemanly capitalists, for example, this attention to bodies means that the plantation, the theater, the home, the street, the school, the club, and the marketplace are now visible as spaces where people can be seen to have experienced modes of imperial and colonial power. Although the past two decades have wit- nessed a tremendous boom in scholarly production on colonialism and empire, with feminist historians taking the lead in the project of recover- ing the experiences of women and other ‘‘others,’’ this research has not received the attention it should in world history textbooks and hence in
Bodies, Empires, and World Histories 7
world history courses. There, high politics and commerce still dominate accounts of empire in ways that certainly remain useful. Women and gender are now scrupulously attended to but most often not in ways that underscore their constitutive role in the shaping of global power or cross- cultural social organization.≥ Long after women’s history has moved be- yond the ‘‘add women and stir’’ formula, world history surveys still tend to take an additive approach, so that each unit ‘‘covers’’ women, but discretely; rare enough is the approach taken by Peter Stearns, which emphasizes ‘‘particular historical episodes’’ in tension with ‘‘higher-level analysis of patterns over time.’’∂ And, as shall be discussed in more detail below, scarcely any attention is paid to masculinity as a cultural (let alone a political) category.∑ This is especially regrettable because colonial proj- ects and their processes were frequently believed to throw white male bodies into crisis (making them vulnerable to disease, insanity, and hy- bridization), and the supposed ‘‘femininity’’ of colonized men was fre- quently used as a political tool to justify their exclusion from positions of power and as a means of justifying their colonization in the first place.∏
The abstractions, omissions, and facile categorizations that tend to follow from a historiographical literature that overlooks gendered subjectivities and experiences need qualification and elaboration. This is all the more important because the quest for generalization can take people—espe- cially women, children, and ‘‘natives’’—out of the story, thereby often relegating human agency in its particulars to the margins of historical understanding.
This is not to say, of course, that women, gender, and sexuality repre- sent the full extent of what bodies in history can and do signify. Bodies evoke birth and death, work and play, disease and fitness; they carry germs and fluids as well as a variety of political, social, and cultural mean- ings; they are the grounds of political economies and the pretext for intrusion, discipline, and punishment at both the individual and the col- lective levels. Although the essays that make up this collection treat sub- jects as diverse as slavery and travel, ecclesiastical colonialism and military occupation, marriage and property, nationalism and football, immigra- tion and temperance, we do not propose to o√er anything like a global history of the body.π For our purposes, the gendered bodies invoked by the authors collected here serve as entrées into larger discussions of how the body can give shape to themes of relevance to world history, as well as how they can reorient that project so that it encompasses di√erent bodies
of evidence.∫ Of equal importance is the opportunity to bring into view research published in venues that may be ignored or underutilized by European or American audiences, such as the Indian Journal of Gender Studies, the Journal of African History, and Australian Feminist Studies. In doing so we can better appreciate both the applicability of Euro- American theoretical models of gender and the body to diverse geograph- ical sites and the very real limits of those frameworks for historicizing ‘‘global’’ realities. Bodies in Contact, in short, enables readers to access some of the most recent and significant scholarship on women, gender, and the colonial encounter so that students with a variety of disciplinary interests can appreciate the tensions between macro and micro perspec- tives on the globe—and so that the constitutive impact of gender and sexuality in all their historical complexity can be more fully appreciated.
Second, the volume insists on the centrality of imperial and colonial bodies in the circuits of global politics, capital, and culture. This commit- ment stems from our conviction that historically, empires have been con- stitutive of global systems, but that in contemporary debates about how to think and teach world history and globalization the centrality of impe- rial power and knowledge is often excised or downplayed or occluded, a situation that may or may not change with the arrival of new forms of U.S. imperialism at work in the global arena. Collectively these essays map the transformative power of imperial systems and the ways in which the development of global empires have been entwined historically with bodies in contact: that is, bodies not just involved in intimate personal, sexual, or social relations but bodies in motion, bodies in subjection, bodies in struggle, bodies in action. This move e√ectively recasts readers’ understanding of the contemporary world, where empires are clearly not over, even and especially in this particular global moment. Each of the essays we have chosen makes visible the ideological work of imperial or colonial mentalities in a specific moment and a specific set of locations, demonstrating both the need for historical contingency when creating global narratives and the fundamentally transnational operation of colo- nial power. Once again, feminist scholarship has been crucial to recent developments in comparative, imperial, and world histories, but in ways that have not been easily accessible to students in the classroom.Ω Bodies in Contact thereby o√ers students of globalization an opportunity to appre- ciate the role of empires in shaping world systems by tracking embodied experiences across historical time and cultural space. It also makes recent
Bodies, Empires, and World Histories 9
scholarship available to instructors, who can then test it against the over- arching claims and theories made in the textbooks that are inevitably used in large courses. This, we hope, creates a series of heretofore unavailable pedagogical opportunities by setting up supposedly ‘‘small’’ histories that may ratify some established syntheses, question others, and perhaps even chip away at the long-standing distinction between big and small pro- cesses of historical continuity and change.∞≠ In the process, Bodies in Con- tact also enables students to interrogate the totalizing narratives that can arise under the rubric of ‘‘world history’’ and to ask when, why, and under what conditions the global is a desirable category of historical analysis.∞∞
If this collection brings together a series of essays that foreground race, gender, and sexuality in ways that challenge the traditional foci of global narratives, many of the essays reflect perhaps the most important contri- bution of recent world history research: the critique of long-established narratives of ‘‘the rise of the West.’’ The emergence of world history as a distinctive approach to the past in the early twentieth century coincided with a moment of European paramountcy and a widespread faith in the West’s civilizing mission. Within such a context, it was hardly surprising that early world histories, written by H. G. Wells, Oswald Spengler, and Arnold Toynbee, played a central role in consolidating Europe and North America at the heart of understandings of global history and articulating a powerful narrative that molded the complex, fragmentary, and hetero- geneous nature of the human past into a striking account of the creation, consolidation, and extension of the power of the ‘‘West.’’∞≤ Even as world history slowly became professionalized after World War II, this narrative continued to provide a key framework for understandings of the global past in undergraduate lecture halls, graduate seminar rooms, and faculty lounges. In turn, this model was fortified by sociologists and area studies specialists who promulgated world system and dependency theories that firmly located Europe and North America as the ‘‘core’’ of the modern world.∞≥ In 1963 W. H. McNeill published his paradigmatic The Rise of the West, a work that had sold over 75,000 copies by 1990 and that continues to be widely used in college classrooms and to attract a wide public audience. The subtitle of McNeill’s work (A History of the Human Com- munity) reduces human history to a narrative of the ‘‘rise of the West’’ and underscores the profoundly teleological assumptions that shaped world history in the 1960s and 1970s.∞∂
Such assumptions do linger today, but research undertaken by world
historians since the early 1980s has explicitly challenged the primacy at- tached to Europe or the West as the prime historical agent of cross- cultural integration. The work of Janet Abu-Lughod, for example, called into question the belief that Europeans were central in driving cross- cultural exchanges, by drawing attention to the complex circuits of long- distance trade that integrated Eurasia in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.∞∑ This emphasis on the importance of changes taking place in central Asia has been extended by other scholars who have identified the ‘‘Mongol explosion’’ in this period as marking the emergence of the first truly ‘‘world empire.’’∞∏ Most important, however, it has been the histo- rians who work on China and its connections with inner Asia, Southeast Asia, the rest of East Asia, and Europe who have transformed our under- standings of the basic pattern of world history. At the same time, research on the economic history of South Asia has both revised an image of a corrupt and weakening Mughal empire inherited from British colonial discourse and has emphasized that the Indian Ocean was the center of a series of interlocking commercial networks that reached out as far as East Africa and Indonesia. Europeans were latecomers to this cosmopolitan commercial world and their arrival caused little concern to the Jewish, Arab, Gujarati, Tamil, Malay, and Chinese traders who dominated the bazaars and shipping routes of the region. It was only as a result of the militarization of trade during the eighteenth century and the growing colonial aspirations of European East India Companies that Europeans gradually came to dominate the long-established markets and commercial hubs around the Indian Ocean.
In e√ect, this work on Asian economic history and Asia’s trade with Europe has both called into question the exceptional status so frequently accorded to Europe and recast our understandings of the chronology of world history.∞π One of the crucial debates that continues to exercise world historians is the relationship between Europe’s rise, imperialism, and the emergence of global capitalism. While some historians, such as David Landes, continue to attribute Europe’s rise to power to supposedly intrinsically European cultural qualities (‘‘work, thrift, honesty, patience, tenacity’’), recent research has tended to underscore the centrality of im- perialism in the New World in both allowing Europe to escape from its ecological constraints (by making a host of new natural resources and valuable commodities available to Europe) and constituting the very na- ture of European culture itself.∞∫ Moreover, where McNeill might have
Bodies, Empires, and World Histories 11
given shape to history by discerning the rising dominance of the West, what has emerged out of recent world historical research is an image of a multicentered world during the period between 1250 and 1800, when China was perhaps the single most powerful region. In the 1800s, it seems that Europe did exercise increasing power at a global level as a result of the military-fiscal revolution that consolidated its military advantage over non-European nations, its harnessing of its natural resources, especially coal, to its industrial revolution, and a sustained period of imperial expan- sion beginning from the 1760s.∞Ω
Of course, the spectacular rise of European empires from the middle of the eighteenth century was also intimately connected with the ‘‘hollowing out’’ of the Safavid and Mughal empires and the ability of European agents to turn these older imperial structures to their own advantage.≤≠ At the same time, the consolidation of imperial authority at the margins of Europe (especially in Ireland and the Mediterranean) and the thrust of European powers in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific incorpo- rated vast territories into the political, commercial, and religious ambit of European colonial systems. There is no doubt that this new age of global imperialism marks a profound disjuncture in world history, as the pull of European markets, the practices of imperial/colonial states, the ‘‘univer- sal’’ languages of science and statistics, and the international reach of missionary organizations fashioned new and profoundly uneven forms of interconnection and interdependence.≤∞ Many of the essays in this collec- tion trace these transformations, reconstructing how specific colonial en- counters produced understandings of gender, race, and sexuality and re- vealing the ways these local exchanges were increasingly assimilated into broader imperial debates over cultural di√erence. The tremendous variety of human social arrangements remained a key concern of the scientists, historians, and theorists of empire in the mid-nineteenth century. And although a great range of cultural variation remained, the reach of Euro- pean empires rendered much of this complexity legible through the (dis- torting) languages of race and gender.
But the thrust of much recent work is that European ascendancy was never uncontested and Europe’s position as the global center of imperial power was relatively short-lived. The United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan emerged as both industrial forces and imperial powers around the turn of the twentieth century, and Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bombay emerged as new commercial, cultural, technological, and
migratory centers. World history research on migration, economics, em- pires, and ideologies suggests that history cannot be imagined as an inex- orable march to Western dominance and global homogeneity, but is a more complex and ambiguous set of interwoven and overlapping pro- cesses driven by a diverse array of groups from a variety of di√erent locations.≤≤
These arguments frame this volume, and in various ways, the essays in this collection reinforce this emergent image of a multicentered, even a de-centered, world, evoking a fluidity that gender and the body, especially when read as performative categories, contingent for its manifestations as much on space as on time, can help us immeasurably to appreciate. While many of the authors pay close attention to the uneven power relations of colonialism and the profound inequalities created by European imperial systems, they explore the imperial projects carried out by non-European powers, reconstruct the ability of subaltern groups to challenge colonial authority and puncture colonial ideologies, and map the sophisticated cultural complexes created by peoples at the supposed ‘‘periphery’’ of empires.
Equally important, however, this collection foregrounds the body in a way that world history scholarship to date has resisted. World history, at least in its dominant institutional form, has not only clung to an ‘‘addi- tive’’ view of women’s history but has also generally remained insulated from (if not resistant to) new directions in cultural history, especially gender history. As a result, ‘‘masculinity’’ is an analytical category that remains, for all intents and purposes, unheard of in the field. Reconstruct- ing the variable and culturally contingent historical forms of masculinity, and their relationship to economics, politics, culture, religion, class, and sexuality, is a project that has only just begun. Rosalind O’Hanlon’s essay on imperial masculinities in Mughal north India, Patrick McDevitt’s ex- amination of the place of sports in Catholic masculinity in Ireland, and Joseph Alter’s examination of celibacy and the place of masculine con- straint in Indian nationalist thought suggest the important insights into the place of gendered bodies and embodied subjectivities in empire build- ing, anticolonial resistance and nationalist ideologies that critical histories of masculinity o√er. Much of the pioneering work in the field, especially with regard to modern imperial masculinities, has suggested that the male-dominated archives that are the stock in trade of the world historian can be read in new and interesting ways. Rather than searching only for
Bodies, Empires, and World Histories 13
notable women or seeking to access an unmediated female subjectivity, we can assemble a richer understanding of the operation of gender in world history by examining the ways these archives articulate competing visions of and anxieties about masculinity, while attending equally to the pressures that class, racial, ethnic, and religious a≈liations have histor- ically exerted on it as both an embodied and a performative articulation of identity.
Whether interpreted broadly or narrowly, then, the category ‘‘bodies in contact’’ can enable us to appreciate histories we might not otherwise have seen and to make visible connections between the colonial and the global that scholars are, in some instances, just beginning to make into ‘‘history.’’ As important, recovering women and gender in world history not only permits us to see them as historical subjects, it also means that we have to understand empires as gendered projects—endeavors in which, it turns out, women and gender mattered tremendously. Our focus on bodies, then, reorients both imperial history and world history by rooting the phenomenon of ‘‘encounter’’ in a gendered, sexualized context, and often throws light on practices of daily life and experience that are other- wise obscured. As important, it allows us to reimagine the global past as a space of contact between women and men, between ‘‘woman’’ and colo- nizer, between colonizing men and cultures that were often considered ‘‘e√eminate’’ by imperial observers. The fact that these gendered relation- ships recur fairly consistently across empires, across the world—as ex- hibited from the early modern period down to the late twentieth century, from China to the Americas and in a variety of locations in between— suggests that it is a subject that undergraduates need to learn about if they are to have as full an understanding of world history as possible. This collection represents a beginning in that direction; we hope it will stimu- late debate, discussion, and even perhaps a new generation of historians interested in further exploring the relations between bodies, empires, and the worlds of the past.
∞. Laura Briggs, Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 1. ≤. This vision of empires and imperial history is developed in Tony Ballantyne, Orien- talism and Race: Aryanism in the British Empire (Basingstoke, England: Palgrave-
Macmillan, 2001). More recently, a slightly di√erent vision of the ‘‘web’’ has been harnessed to world history in J. R. McNeill and William H. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s-eye View of World History (New York: Norton, 2003). ≥. One recent exception is Robert Tignor et al., Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (New York: Norton 2002). ∂. Peter N. Stearns, Gender in World History (London: Routledge, 2000), 4. ∑. For a discussion of this problem, see Margaret Strobel, ‘‘Women’s History, Gender History, and European Colonialism,’’ in Colonialism and the Modern World: Selected Studies, ed. Gregory Blue, Martin Bunton, and Ralph Crozier (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2002), 51–68. ∏. Many thanks to Adele Perry for this point. π. For an extremely compelling version of this project, see Valerie Traub, ‘‘The Global- Body,’’ in Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race and Empire in Renaissance England, ed. Peter Erickson and Clark Hulse (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 44–97. ∫. We are grateful to Clare Crowston for urging this point. Ω. For one exception, see Sarah Shaver Hughes and Brady Hughes, eds., Women in World History, 2 vols. (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1997). ∞≠. See, for example, Charles Tilly, Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1984). ∞∞. For more on teleologies of globalization from a feminist perspective, see Jean Allman and Antoinette Burton, eds., ‘‘Destination Globalization? Women, Gender and Comparative Colonial Histories in the New Millennium,’’ Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 4, 1 (2003) http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cch/. ∞≤. Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (London: Allen and Unwin, 1922); Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History, 10 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934– 1954); H. G. Wells, Outline of History (London: Cassell, 1920). Spengler certainly recognized the significance of non-Western civilizations, but for him only ‘‘Western Civilization’’ had fulfilled its potential, and the crisis that he diagnosed in the early twentieth century reflected a crisis born out of the decline of ‘‘Western Civilization.’’ ∞≥. For a bracing account of the stakes of American civilization for 1990s politics, see Thomas C. Patterson, Inventing Western Civilization (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997), 9–15. For an equally compelling analysis of Western Civ textbooks, see Daniel A. Segal, ‘‘Western Civ and the Staging of History in American Higher Edu- cation,’’ American Historical Review 105, 3 (2000); also available at http://www .historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/105.3/ah000770.html. ∞∂. McNeill reflects critically on the ‘‘Rise of the West’’ model in his essays: ‘‘The Rise of the West after Twenty-five Years,’’ Journal of World History 1, 1 (1990): 1–21 and ‘‘World History and the Rise and Fall of the West,’’ Journal of World History 9, 2 (1998): 215– 236. In J. R. McNeill and William H. McNeill, The Human Web, his work is fashioning a new understanding of the multiple forms of contact and interdependence that have shaped human history. ∞∑. Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System a.d. 1250–1350 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).
Bodies, Empires, and World Histories 15
∞∏. See S. A. M. Adshead, China in World History (Macmillan, 1987) and Central Asia in World History (New York: Macmillan, 1993); David Christian, A History of Russia, Central Asia, and Mongolia (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998). ∞π. Much of this work is synthesized in the Cambridge History of China. For a collection of work that explores the connections between the development of the Chinese econ- omy and global trade, see Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giráldez, eds., Metals and Monies in an Emerging Global Economy (Brookfield, Vt.: Variorum, 1997). Also see the provocative arguments forwarded in Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giráldez, ‘‘Born with a ‘Silver Spoon’: The Origin of World Trade in 1571,’’ Journal of World History 6, 2 (1995): 201–221. On South Asia and the Indian Ocean, see Satish Chandra, The Indian Ocean: Explorations in History, Commerce and Politics (New Delhi: Sage, 1987); K. N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Kenneth McPherson, The Indian Ocean: A History of People and the Sea (Delhi: Oxford Univer- sity Press, 1993). ∞∫. David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (New York: Norton, 1998), 523; compare the works listed in the next two notes. ∞Ω. Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000); Kenneth Pomeranz and Steven Topik, The World That Trade Created: Culture, Society, and the World Economy, 1400–the Present (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1999); and the essays in the forum on the ‘‘great divergence’’ in Itinerario 24, 3/4 (2000). ≤≠. See C. A. Bayly, Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 1780–1830 (White Plains, N.Y.: Longman, 1989) and Empire and Information: Intelligence Gather- ing and Social Communication in India, 1780–1870 (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1996). ≤∞. C. A. Bayly, ‘‘The First Age of Global Imperialism, c. 1760–1830,’’ Journal of Im- perial and Commonwealth History 26, 2 (1998): 28–47; Tony Ballantyne, ‘‘Empire, Knowledge and Culture: From Proto-globalization to Modern Globalization,’’ in Globalization in World History, ed. A. G. Hopkins (London: Pimlico, 2001), 115–140. ≤≤. See, for example, Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990); Michael Geyer and Charles Bright, ‘‘World History in a Global Age,’’ American Historical Review 100, 4 (October 1995): 1034–1060; Akira Iriye, ‘‘The Internationalization of History,’’ Amer- ican Historical Review 94, 1 (February 1989): 1–10; Adam McKeown, Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural Change: Peru, Chicago, Hawaii, 1900–1936 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).