Africans and Asians: Historiography and the Long View of Global Interaction
Abstract: The view of globalization as the purview of a modern and Western hegemony is under challenge. Even among the most progressive of world historians, however, is to be found the oversight that precludes global agency by and interaction among certain peoples. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the treatments of Africa with the world and Africa within the world. In a move to decenter the dynamics of the dominant discourses, a consideration of agency and interaction among and between Africans and Asians is warranted. Here an interrogation of various primary sources and secondary works suggests new paths of inquiry that dispel Western and modern notions concerning the construction of the world and the roles of African and Asian interaction in that construction over the longue durée.
FORUM: ETHICAL AND MORAL DIMENSIONS OF WORLD HISTORY
The Ethics of World History
Abstract: World historians have developed an impressive body of criticism regarding the traditional Western civilization curriculum. They have disregarded the ethical pretensions of Western civilization, however, as well as the question of the ethics of world history itself. The relationship between ethics, politics, and education has been the subject of strenuous discussion and posturing in the United States since the rise of the “neoconservative” movement in the 1980s. Neoconservative commentators have praised the ethical virtues of Western civilization and condemned world history as relativist and amoral. This development warrants the serious attention of world historians. This article argues that the question of the ethics of world history is a serious and interesting intellectual problem with large implications for the ﬁeld.
Myths, Wagers, and Some Moral Implications of World History
Jerry H. Bentley
Abstract: Because of its claims to general knowledge, and perhaps even more because of its increasing prominence in the educational curriculum, world history has recently become a principal focus of constituencies seeking to mobilize the past in support of particular political or ideological agendas. In extreme cases these constituencies have made world history little more than a vehicle of propaganda for their ideological preferences. This article recognizes that historical scholarship always reﬂects some set of political or ideological inﬂuences and thus takes the form of situated knowledge rather than a ﬁnal or deﬁnitive assessment of the past. Yet it holds that it is possible for historians to engage the past and present in meaningful dialogue without subjecting the past to rigid ideological constraints. The article discusses and criticizes several visions of the global past that have recently emerged from the conservative and patriotic right as well as the Marxist and postcolonial left. It argues that a more analytical and ecumenical world history would yield deeper understanding of the world and its development through time, and would also serve larger social needs better than ideologically charged visions of the global past.
Universal History: Sizing up Humanity in Big History
Andre Gunder Frank
Abstract: This essay presents a review article of David Christian’s Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. Christian’s book seeks to discover order since the Big Bang, the formation of the solar system and this planet Earth, the formation of life and its evolution through natural selection to humankind, and human social organization in family and tribe over one hundred thousand years ago, to the Neolithic revolution in agriculture over ten thousand years ago, to the formation of states about ﬁve thousand years ago, to the present—and onward to the future. This review essay also evaluates Christian’s argument, mostly positively, in comparing and contrasting it to those of the few other fellow travelers through Big History.
Shepard Krech III, J. R. McNeill, and Carolyn Merchant, eds. Encyclopedia of World Environmental History
Reviewed by Joachim Radkau
Benedikt Stuchtey and Eckhardt Fuchs, eds. Writing World History, 1800–2000
Reviewed by Kevin Reilly
John H. Morrow Jr. The Great War: An Imperial History
Reviewed by Patrick H. Brennan
Antoinette Burton, ed. After the Imperial Turn: Thinking with and through the Nation
Reviewed by Edward C. Moulton