Journal of World History, vol. 16, no. 4 (2005)


Performing the World: Reality and Representation in the Making of World Histor(ies)
Arif Dirlik
pp. 391–410
Abstract: This article discusses a dilemma that faces the practice of world history, a dilemma created by a conflict between the public pedagogical and the historiographical obligations of world history. The former demands that world history account for the formations of the modern world, expressed most cogently in the spatialities of nations, cultures, civilizations, and even world-systems. On the other hand, world history must be careful for historiographical reasons to not project upon the past the spatialities of modernity. Further complications are added by the undermining of these spatialities by contemporary forces of globalization. The discussion seeks to demonstrate the historiographical problems presented by issues of space through the examples of China, Asia, and Islam. It suggests that world history is not just a subject, but a method, and the methodological questions it raises may be resolved best through translocal approaches to history that are not confined by the boundaries of the spatial units of modernity. The latter need not be abandoned, only placed in historical perspective.

The Indian Ocean in Eurasian and African World-Systems before the Sixteenth Century
Philippe Beaujard
pp. 411–465
Abstract: The rise of towns and states and the expansion of exchange networks have resulted in the formation of various world-systems in Asia, Africa, and Europe since the fourth millennium B.C. In the first century A.D., exchanges transformed the Indian Ocean into a unified space embedded in a Eurasian and African world-system. This system evolved until the sixteenth century through four cycles that saw growing integration of its parts, demographic increase, general growth of commerce and production, and the simultaneous development of hierarchical relations between cores and peripheries within an international division of labor. This early history sheds light on the period that would follow, which saw the emergence of the modern capitalist world-system, and perhaps also provides some hints as to the possible futures of the system.

Another Look at Silver Imports into China, ca. 1635–1644
William S. Atwell
pp. 467–489
Abstract: In a series of studies from the 1970s and 1980s, the author argued that a decline in silver imports into China during the late 1630s and early 1640s was one of the factors (though not the only one) that contributed to the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644. Several publications of the late 1980s and 1990s challenged this view on the grounds that new research showed silver imports into China rising rather than falling during the last years of the Ming dynasty. Much of the evidence behind this new research, however, is questionable. Because the issue of Chinese silver imports looms so large in studies of international trade and Chinese economic development, it is time to reopen the debate. This essay reviews the new research and argues that its conclusions about the level of silver imports into China are either incorrect or greatly overstated.


Greg Dening. Beach Crossings: Voyaging Across Times, Cultures, and Self
Reviewed by Anne Perez Hattori
pp. 491–493

William R. Jankowiak and Daniel Bradburd, eds. Drugs, Labor, and Colonial Expansion
Reviewed by Joel Tannenbaum
pp. 493–496

Robert W. Fogel. The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100: Europe, America, and the Third World
Reviewed by Ilan Noy
pp. 496–498

Theodore Huters. Bringing the World Home: Appropriating the West in Late Qing and Early Republican China
Reviewed by Shana J. Brown
pp. 498–501

A. Dirk Moses, ed. Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History
Reviewed by Patrick Wolfe
pp. 502–505

Mark Bevir and Frank Trentmann, eds. Markets in Historical Contexts: Ideas and Politics in the Modern World
Emily S. Rosenberg. Financial Missionaries to the World: The Politics and Culture of Dollar Diplomacy, 1900–1930
Reviewed by Richard H. Robbins
pp. 505–515

Glenn Firebaugh. The New Geography of Global Income Inequality
Reviewed by Bryan R. Higgins
pp. 515–518

Index to Volume 16, pp. 519–524