Journal of World History, vol. 11, no. 1 (2000)


Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History
David Christian, 1
The Silk Roads have normally been treated as a system of exchanges linking the major regions of agrarian civilization in Afro-Eurasia, and as originating in the classical era. This paper focuses on the many trans-ecological exchanges that occurred along the Silk Roads, which linked the agrarian worlds to the pastoralist world of the Inner Eurasian steppes and the woodland cultures to the north. It argues that these trans-ecological exchanges have been as important to the history of the Silk Roads as the more familiar trans-civilizational exchanges. A clear understanding of these trans-ecological exchanges suggests that the Silk Roads should be seen as a complex network of exchanges that linked different ecological zones of the Afro-Eurasian landmass into a single system. It also suggests that the Silk Roads were much older than is usually recognized, that their real origins lie in the emergence of Inner Eurasian pastoralism from the fourth millennium B.C.E. The paper explores the prehistory of the Silk Roads; reexamines their structure and history in the classical era; and explores shifts in their geography in the last thousand years. It concludes that a revised understanding of the role and history of the Silk Roads shows the extent to which the entire Afro-Eurasian landmass has been linked by complex networks of exchange since at least the Bronze Age. It reminds us that Afro-Eurasia has a common history despite the ecological and cultural variety of its many different regions.

The Legal Regime of the South Atlantic World, 1400-1750: Jurisdictional Complexity as Institutional Order
Lauren Benton, 27
This article argues that a single legal regime, characterized by the shared recognition of contested jurisdictional boundaries, provided institutional continuity in the South Atlantic world in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Built-in jurisdictional tensions in Iberial law intensified overseas. In Africa, Iberians responded to aspects of African law that they found to be quite familiar–especially in its jurisdictional complexity. And in the New World, European and African models of legal pluralism influenced interactions between runaway slaves and planter regimes. Jurisdictional conflicts overlapped with cultural contests and together constituted important elements of global institutional order.

(Re)imag(in)ing Other2ness: A Postmortem for the Postmodern in India
Richard M. Eaton, 57
The Subaltern Studies project, which originated in India in the early 1980s, has profoundly influenced attempts to theorize the history of the non-Western world, and is therefore of utmost relevance to world historians. This essay traces the rise of this project and the transformations it experienced as it encountered literary theory, postmodernism, and cultural studies in the late 1980s and 1990s. By questioning the utility of a rigid, binary opposition between India and Europe, and the utility of placing the British Raj at the center of Indian time, the essay seeks ways of recovering not only non-Western but precolonial history.


Third Worldism or Globalism? Reply to James M. Blaut’s Review of The Myth of Continents
Martin W. Lewis and Kären W. Wigen, 81
Our rejoinder to James M. Blaut’s review of The Myth of Continents focuses on three areas of disagreement: our overall project of metageographical analysis, our case against Afrocentrism, and the place of political economy in general–and European imperialism in particular–in our map of the world. We contend that Blaut misinterprets some of our arguments because of his insistent “Third Worldist” vision. We advocate instead a more comprehensive engagement with, and critique of, geographical discourse.

On Myths and Maps: A Rejoinder to Lewis and Wigen
James M. Blaut, 93
In my review of The Myth of Continents I noted that the book has a number of shortcomings. These cannot be dismissed as differences of viewpoint, as the authors contend: they are flaws in the argument, unjustified attacks on other scholars, and exaggerated claims for the originality of the authors’ so-called “metageographical” approach. Nevertheless, the book is a useful critique of Eurocentric biases in the way geographers and other scholars regionalize the world.


Samuel P. Huntington. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
Reviewed by Robert Marks, 101

David S. Landes. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Others So Poor
Reviewed by Jack Goldstone, 105

Andre Gunder Frank. ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age
Reviewed by Janet L. Abu-Lughod, 111

Jeremy Black. Maps and History: Constructing Images of the Past. Jeremy Black. Maps and Politics
Reviewed by Steve Jolivette, 115

Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah, eds. Macrohistory and Macrohistorians: Perspectives on Individual, Social and Civilizational Change
Reviewed by Leif Littrup, 118

Lynda G. Adamson. Notable Women in World History: A Guide to Recommended Biographies and Autobiographies
Reviewed by Judith P. Zinsser, 120

Fatima Mernissi. The Forgotten Queens of Islam
Reviewed by Pamela K. Crossley, 122

Robert Shoemaker and Mary Vincent, eds. Gender and History in Western Europe
Reviewed by Patricia Crawford, 124

Michael N. Pearson. Port Cities and Invaders: The Swahili Coast, India, and Portugal in the Early Modern Era
Reviewed by John Middleton, 126

Colin G. Calloway. New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America
Reviewed by Harry A. Kersey Jr., 129

Cole Harris and Jean Barman, eds. Native Peoples and Colonialism
Reviewed by Alexandra Harmon, 131

Merle C. Ricklefs. The Seen and Unseen Worlds in Java, 1726-1749: History, Literature and Islam in the Court of Pakubuwana II
Reviewed by Robert Van Niel, 134

Judith Binney. Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki
Reviewed by Lyndsay Head, 136

K.J. Holsti. The State, War, and the State of War
Reviewed by Paul Rich, 140

Leong Sow-Theng. Migration and Ethnicity in Chinese History: Hakkas, Pengmin, and Their Neighbors
Reviewed by Mary S. Erbaugh, 142

Timothy J. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson. The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact
Reviewed by Thomas Sowell, 145

Philip D. Curtin. Disease and Empire: The Health of European Troops in the Conquest of Africa
Reviewed by Alfred W. Crosby, 148

Bruce Vandervort. Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa, 1830-1914
Reviewed by David Leaver, 150

Stephen Vlastos. Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan
Reviewed by Kenneth R. Robinson, 153

James O’Connor. Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism
Reviewed by J. Donald Hughes, 155

Arjun Appadurai. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Reviewed by Gijsbert Oonk, 157

Arif Dirlik. The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capital
Reviewed by Ravi Arvind Palat, 159

Anthony D’Agostino. Gorbachev’s Revolution
Reviewed by Donald J. Raleigh, 162

Richard Maidment, David Goldblatt, and Jeremy Mitchell, eds. Governance in the Asia-Pacific
Reviewed by Roger Thompson, 164