Journal of World History, vol. 19, no. 2 (2008)


“The Salt in a Merchant’s Letter”: The Culture of Julfan Correspondence in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean
Sebouh Aslanian, 127

This article draws on archival sources in London, Venice, Isfahan, and elsewhere in examining the role of information and commercial correspondence in the long-distance trading community of Armenian merchants from New Julfa, Isfahan. The article focuses on commercial letters written by Julfan merchants working in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean regions. It argues that information sharing was important not only for the daily commercial affairs of merchants but also for maintaining the integrity of the Julfan trade network. The article examines the stylistic properties of Julfan mercantile correspondence as well as the logistical problems of circulating letters across vast spaces through a courier network that glued the trade settlements of the Julfan network to its nodal center at New Julfa, Isfahan.

The Countermodern Moment: A World-Historical Perspective on the Thought of Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammad Iqbal, and Liang Shuming
Adam K. Webb, 189

In the early twentieth century, traditionally minded intellectuals in Asia offered strikingly similar responses to modernity. This article examines the countermodern visions of Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammad Iqbal, and Liang Shuming. Inspired by high-culture versions of Hinduism, Islam, and Confucianism, these three thinkers offered parallel critiques of materialism and the decline of self-cultivation. At the same time, they brought issues of civilizational identity and universalism to the fore. While their cosmopolitanism never reached the point of making common cause politically, their
intellectual legacy has enduring relevance for the global culture clash between modernity and its critics.

The Russian Empire and Egypt, 1900–1915: A Case of Public Diplomacy
Paul du Quenoy, 213

Russia’s relationship with Egypt developed as both lands underwent prolonged periods of modernization. Constrained by geopolitical factors in the Middle East, Russia approached Egypt in the late nineteenth century and especially in the first fifteen years of the twentieth century with “soft power.” This approach included mutually beneficial trade relationships, cultural exchanges, and international assistance in the realm of information and technology. A close examination of the Russo-Egyptian relationship reveals that the Russian Empire was furthering its ends in the Middle East by peaceful means intended to impress the region’s societies favorably, a concept sometimes characterized today as “public diplomacy.”


Kenneth F. Kiple. A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization
reviewed by Coll Thrush, 235

Colin Kidd. The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000
reviewed by Edward E. Andrews, 237

Ambrosio Bembo. Clara Bargellini, trans. Anthony Welch, ed. The Travels and Journal of Ambrosio Bembo Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400–1800
reviewed by Ines G. Županov, 240

Bouda Etemad. Andrene Everson, trans. Possessing the World: Taking the Measurements of Colonisation from the 18th to the 20th Century
reviewed by Daniel R. Headrick, 247