Journal of World History, vol. 19, no. 4 (2008)


Truthfulness at Dawn, Truthfulness at Night: Reflections on a Common Striving in Chinese and Jewish Traditions
Vera Schwarcz, 403-430

This article focuses on the commitment to truth seeking in two disparate cultural traditions. Striving for truth is not exclusive to Chinese and Jewish peoples. It is also amply evident in the writings of intellectuals who survived dogmatism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It fuels the passions and the trauma of the “Truth Commissions” that have proliferated from South Africa to Guatemala, East Timor, and Morocco. By exploring specific historical moments and linguistic expression for conveying the quest for authenticity in Chinese and Hebrew, this work draws attention to a broader historical phenomenon: Confucian sages and Jewish prophets who argued for truthfulness in times filled with deceit and injustice bequeathed posterity a vocabulary and a vision that endures today. Historians reckoning with that language and vision need to cast the net of their reflections beyond one culture, one thinker, one moment in time. Laying disparate traditions alongside one another, the author argues, illuminates the central theme of truthfulness in a more compelling fashion.

Horrid Journeying: Narratives of Enslavement and the Global African Diaspora
Pier M. Larson, 431-464

Since its inception as a concept in the late 1960s, the African diaspora has channeled scholarly interest primarily toward African migrations beyond sub-Saharan Africa. This article outlines a method for the study of African diasporas within sub-Saharan Africa through a focus on consciousness of placement and displacement as emerging in African narratives of enslavement. The consciousness of original placement and of estrangement from home spun by African captives within sub-Saharan Africa challenges scholars of the African diaspora to position the African continent at the center of a global dispersion, as both a source of captives and a location of exile.

The Intricacies of Accommodation: The Proselytizing Strategy of Matteo Ricci
Yu Liu, 465-487

Matteo Ricci has long been celebrated as one of the greatest mediators between Europe and East Asia. To see his extraordinary experience in China from a different perspective, this article takes a close look at the many intricacies that either led to or resulted from his reliance on accommodation as an evangelizing policy. These intricacies made him both remarkably successful in what he did not necessarily plan to do and noticeably unsuccessful in what he single-mindedly set out to accomplish.

Beyond East and West: Antiquarianism, Evidential Learning, and Global Trends in Historical Study
Q. Edward Wang, 489-519

From a comparative perspective, this article examines the rise of “evidential learning” in Qing China of the eighteenth century and its far-reaching influence in shaping intellectual development in modern China. It argues that parallel to the interest of humanists and antiquarians in early modern Europe, the Chinese evidential scholars of the late imperial period pursued a similarly revivalist interest in their study of Confucianism. By improving and perfecting the skills and techniques of textual and historical criticism, and by using the methods of philology, phonology, paleography, and etymology, they hoped to restore the Confucian classics to their earlier, hence (to them) truer and more authentic form. And in pursuing this common interest, these scholars formed an active scholarly community, a Republic of Letters, wherein they exchanged ideas and criticized one another’s works, much as did their European counterparts in advancing humanist and antiquarian scholarship. In reconstructing the historical context whence the Confucian classics had emerged, they also prized the importance of historical and epigraphic study and approached the understanding of the classics from a historical perspective. All this has left an enduring imprint on the endeavor by modern Chinese historians to modernize historical study since the early twentieth century. The legacy of evidential learning demonstrates that the antecedents that were often considered unique in shaping the modern historical discipline in Europe also existed in East Asia and, very likely, elsewhere in the world as well. It is time for us to go beyond the East-West binary to analyze and appreciate the interest in history—and the varied methodologies it has engendered sustaining its pursuit—as a global phenomenon.

The Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya, Islamic Sainthood, and Religion in Modern Times
Sean Foley, 521-545

This article discusses Shaykh Khalid Naqshbandi (1776–1827); his Sufi brotherhood, the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya; and Muslim sainthood. It argues that social movement theory allows us to see the ongoing influence of sainthood in Muslim societies and that Khalid’s success rested on his ideological fl exibility, appeal to multiple audiences, and emphasis on the hereafter. The article also observes that the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya has addressed a desire in modern societies for a greater balance between spirituality and materialism. Finally, the similarities between the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya, a Muslim organization, and contemporary Christian organizations raise questions about how we classify postmodern religious movements and track their development over time.


Alfred W. Crosby. Children of the Sun: A History of Humanity’s Unappeasable Appetite for Energy
reviewed by Dan Tamir, 547-549

Ian Tattersall. The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE
reviewed by Herbert F. Ziegler, 549-552

Arun Bala. The Dialogue of Civilizations in the Birth of Modern Science
reviewed by Nurdeng Deuraseh, 552-556

Frank Dikötter and Ian Brown, eds. Cultures of Confinement: A History of the Prison in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
reviewed by John R. Pincince, 556-558

Sebastian Conrad and Dominic Sachsenmaier, eds. Competing Visions of World Order: Global Moments and Movements, 1880s–1930s
reviewed by daniel gorman, 559-561