The Persian Gulf Trade in Late Antiquity
Abstract: The following article discusses the importance of the province of Fars/Persis as an important province and the Persian Gulf as an important entrepot. The essay seeks to demonstrate that because of the Perso-Byzantine rivalry the amount of trade on the silk roads was reduced and consequently the amount of sea trade via the Persian Gulf was increased by the fifth and sixth centuries CE. The campaign for controlling trade in silk and spices was taken to the seas, and Persian colonies were established as far away as Sri Lanka. Administrative seals and Sasanian silver coins also indicated a lively exchange of commodities and the presence of Persians in East Asia.
The Rise of Prehistory
Donald R. Kelley
Abstract: “Prehistory” itself had a prehistory, and it includes the early inquiries through the disciplines (or proto-disciplines) of mythology, philology, ethnography, anthropology, archaeology, and especially, following Enlightenment “conjectural history,” through investigations of the peoples of the New World. But it was in the nineteenth century that prehistory (Vorgeschichte, préhistoire, preistoria) emerged in its own right, and this essay reviews the major nineteenth-century efforts by an international community of Scandinavian, French, German, English, and American scholars—especially archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, and “anthropogeographers”—to establish “the antiquity of man” and, reinforced further by evolutionary theory, to give a new shape, periodization, and global reach to the study of world history. Thus prehistory was joined to the western historiographical tradition in the search for a global perspective and a new “grand narrative” to encompass the divisive interpretations of national histories and the invidious one of the old Eurocentric and Euromorphic history.
The Epochal Concept of “Early Modernity” and the Intellectual History of Late Imperial China
Abstract: In response to the recent historiographical interests in testing the cross-cultural tenability of the epochal concept of “early modernity,” this essay ponders the usefulness of the notion in Chinese intellectual history, focusing on the historical dynamics of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century China. It does so by exploring three interrelated issues, derived from the intellectual experiences of “early modern” Europe: the nature of knowledge, the sense of the past, and the claim of the ultimate grounds for ethico-moral values. The article concludes that late imperial Chinese thought displayed a historical trajectory quite different from that of Europe. It is thus problematic to dislodge the notion of early modernity from its European moorings and demonstrate its Chinese variety.
The Culture of Culture Contact: Refractions from Polynesia
I. C. Campbell
Abstract: Conventional treatments of first contact between Europeans and non-Europeans are framed within a model of either conflict or consensus. Modern Pacific historiography conventionally avoids both models and presents contact in terms of the Pacific Islanders’ pragmatic rationality. This approach makes little attempt to present the European side of the encounter. Attempts by Marshall Sahlins to reconfigure indigenous behavior have not so far been incorporated into wider Pacific historiography because it appears to conflict with the established paradigm of “practical rationality.” A synthesis of these approaches is possible if behavior by both Europeans and Polynesians is recognized as abnormal. The example of Tahiti suggests that a medial culture, a “culture of culture contact,” came into existence spontaneously to mediate contact between two peoples who had no prior norms for engaging with one another.
Paul V. Adams, Erick D. Langer, Lily Hwa, Peter N. Stearns, and Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, eds. Experiencing World History
Reviewed by Deborah Smith Johnston
Karl Moore and David Lewis, eds. Birth of the Multinational: 2000 Years of Ancient Business History—From Ashur to Augustus
Reviewed by Hans Georg Niemeyer
Rudolph Peters, ed. Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam: A Reader
Reviewed by Abdul Karim Khan
Denys Lombard and Jean Aubin, eds. Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea
Reviewed by Awad Halabi
David A. Gerber, ed. Disabled Veterans in History
Reviewed by Robert L. Batemen
Michael Worboys, ed. Spreading Germs: Disease Theories and Medical Practice in Britain, 1865–1900
Reviewed by Kerri A. Inglis
Jose C. Moya, ed. Cousins and Strangers: Spanish Immigrants in Buenos Aires, 1850–1930
Reviewed by Ida Altman
J. M. Blaut. ed. Eight Eurocentric Historians
Reviewed by Patricia Alvarez
David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt, and Jonathan Perraton, eds. Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, and Culture
Reviewed by Jeffrey Sommers
David Scott, ed. Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality
Reviewed by Afshin Marashi
Letter from Victor Lieberman