Now published

Empire in Asia: A New Global History

Reading Group


One major component of Empire in Asia: A New Global History is an active reading group, involving all project members. The project aims to reconsider the historical experience of empire in Asia, with particular reference to scholarship devoted to analyzing narratives, and systems, of world and global history. The major workshops the project will conduct are exercises in working through to a set of common questions and concerns that contributors can be asked to apply in their own particular study. Exploring the literature will thus help us lay a common intellectual foundation for conceptualizing our own question-driven approach to studying the historical experience of empire in Asia. We are less concerned with the field identified as "post-colonial" studies than with engaging global perspectives on what constituted an empire, and the evolution and operation of forms of supranational systems.

The ‘long nineteenth century’ witnessed profound changes in the world ordering of Empires in Asia. The most significant were of course the tremendous expansion of European power, projected to the point of political, military and economic ascendancy in Central, South, and Southeast Asia, and the concurrent decline of Qing power in East Asia. The period also witnessed the reincorporation of Japan into a wider political economic order and what many scholars refer to as the ‘age of high imperialism’ across the continent. The trope of ‘Asian’ decline and ‘European ascendancy’ still defines the period, seen by many as a ‘great divergence’ and or the creation of the first truly global order. All these themes played out across the great Eurasian territorial and maritime space, and the literature devoted to this time and place reflects scholarly engagement—contested, controversial, dynamic—with this time of empire and upheaval. What role did Empire in Asia play in nineteenth century globalization?

Christopher Bayly The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914
Bernard Lightman et al (eds.) The Circulation of Knowledge between Britain, India and China
Roy Bin Wong China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience
Robert Bickers The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire 1832-1914    
Sugata Bose A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire
Selim Deringil The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire
David Schimmelpenninck Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration
Peter Hopkirk The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia
P. Brocheux, D. Hemery Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization
Eric Tagliacozzo
Secret Trades, Porous Borders