Journal of World History, vol. 10, no. 1 (1999)


State Formation and Periodization in Inner Asian History
Nicola Di Cosmo, 1
The history of empires created by inner Asian peoples bears direct relevance to the conceptualization of world history down to the early modern period, as their impact on surrounding civilizations resulted in long-lasting demographic, economic, and political changes. This essay explores the basic mechanisms of state formation in inner Asia and presents an argument for the periodization of inner Asian history based on the incremental ability of inner Asian empires to extract from outside sources the wealth necessary for the maintenance of political and military state apparatus. On this basis, the essay proposes a four-phase periodization, including ages of tribute empires (209 B.C. – A.D. 551), trade-tribute empires (551-907), dual-administration empires (907-1259), and direct-taxation empires (1260-1796).

Location in History: Argentina and South Africa in the Nineteenth Century
Philip D. Curtin, 41
This essay points to residential location as an important source of group interest, alongside the more familiar factors of race, class, and gender. This group interest is especially strong among people living in or dependent upon a particular city. This phenomenon is illustrated here through a variant of central-place theory applied to the history of South Africa and the Argentine pampa from the mid-eighteenth to the late nineteenth century, with particular attention to the play of rivalries between cities and conflict between cities and their hinterlands.

Gobineau on China: Race Theory, the “Yellow Peril,” and the Critique of Modernity
Gregory Blue, 93
Histories of racist thought tend to give only incidental treatment to the depiction of China in modern race theory. Meanwhile, scholarship on Western views of China frequently alludes to anti-Chinese racism but rarely analyzes high-brow race theory. This article aims to contribute to the understanding of both racist thought and Western views of China by examining the notions about China elaborated by Arthur de Gobineau, one of the leading race theorists of the nineteenth century. Gobineau’s depiction of China is subjected to a close reading within the framework of his vision of world history, followed by consideration of the reception of his racial ideas and their possible political influence. The discussion highlights the compatibility of racist thought with antiprogressivism and antimodernism.


The Military Superiority Thesis and the Ascendancy of Western Eurasia in the World System
William R. Thompson, 143
The military superiority thesis contends that the key to the ascendancy of western Europe as the world’s predominant region was its edge in military technology. Thanks to intensive regional warfare and a series of military revolutions, military superiority enabled Europeans to subordinate the rest of the world between 1500 and 1900. At best, this interpretation gives too much explanatory weight to military technology. Other factors that were equally if not more important were the variable vulnerabilities of Afro-Eurasian and American targets of expansion, the need for and availability of allies, and the evolution of a global political economy in ways that favored increasing European predominance. As explored in five cases, ranging from Mexico and Peru to southeast Asia in the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries, none of these factors worked entirely independently of the others. Rather, they interacted to promote the ascendancy of some Europeans for a period of time. Military superiority, and especially naval superiority, may have been most important for facilitating first the arrival and then the survival of Portuguese, Dutch, and English forces along the maritime fringe of Afro-Eurasia.

Rethinking the Ottoman “Decline”: Military Technology Diffusion in the Ottoman Empire, Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries
Jonathan Grant, 179
In the context of military technological developments in eastern Europe, the notion of an Ottoman decline needs to be called into question. In this essay Keith Krause’s model for the spread of military technology as a diffusion wave that settles into a three-tiered hierarchy of military producers is used to measure the Ottomans’ capabilities in manufacturing their own weaponry and naval systems. When placed on this scale, the Ottomans started out as a third-tier producer in the fifteenth century and remained so throughout the period. Thus, the Ottomans did not decline on the military industrial scale.


Jared Diamond. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
reviewed by Robert P. Clark, 203

Martin W. Lewis and Kären E. Wigen. The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography
reviewed by James M. Blaut, 205

Johan Goudsblom, Eric Jones, and Stephen Mennell. The Course of Human History: Economic Growth, Social Process, and Civilization
reviewed by John A. Mears, 211

Gang Deng. Chinese Maritime Activities and Socioeconomic Development, c. 2100 B.C.-1900 A.D.
reviewed by Hans Konrad Van Tilburg, 213

Lionel M. Jensen. Manufacturing Confucianism: Chinese Traditions and Universal Civilization
reviewed by D.W.Y. Kwok, 215

Alfred W. Crosby. The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600
reviewed by Arnold Pacey, 218

Frances Wood. Did Marco Polo Go to China?
reviewed by Karl J. Schmidt, 220

Thomas T. Allsen. Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles.; Giovanni Federico. An Economic History of the Silk Industry, 1830-1930
reviewed by Dorothea A.L. Martin, 223

Wang Gungwu, ed. Global History and Migrations
reviewed by Nevzat Soguk, 227

Sally Miller, A.J.H. Latham, and Dennis O. Flynn, eds. Studies in the Economic History of the Pacific Rim
reviewed by William J. Duiker, 230

Jürgen Osterhammel. Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview
reviewed by Bruce Mazlish, 232

Theodore Allen. The Invention of the White Race, vol. 2
reviewed by Audrey Smedley, 234

H.L. Wesseling. Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion; Scott B. Cook. Colonial Encounters in the Age of High Imperialism
reviewed by Daniel R. Headrick, 237

D.R. Howland. Borders of Chinese Civilization: Geography and History at Empire’s End
reviewed by Lane Earns, 240

John F. Hutchinson. Champions of Charity: War and the Rise of the Red Cross
reviewed by Vera Blinn Reber, 243

Christopher Bracken. The Potlatch Papers: A Colonial Case History
reviewed by Marlene R. Atleo, 246

Nicholas Thomas. In Oceania: Visions, Artifacts, Histories
reviewed by Rainer Buschmann, 250

Doug Munro and Andrew Thornley, eds. The Covenant Makers: Islander Missionaries in the Pacific
reviewed by Francis X. Hezel, S.J., p. 253

Jan Palmowski. A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century World History
reviewed by Eric Martin, 256

Ralph A. Thaxton. Salt of the Earth: The Political Origins of Peasant Protest and Communist Revolution in China
reviewed by Arif Dirlik, 260

Stephen S. Large. Emperor Hirohito and Shôwa Japan: A Political Biography
reviewed by Jon Davidann, 263

Roger Eatwell. Fascism: A History
reviewed by Mario Sznajder, 266

Ian Kershaw and Moshe Lewin, eds. Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison
reviewed by Hans-Heinrich Nolte, 269

Chungmoo Choi, ed. The Comfort Women: Colonialism, War, and Sex. Special issue of Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique
reviewed by Katharine H. S. Moon, 271