Journal of World History, vol. 21, no. 4 (2010)


A Chinese Farmer, Two African Boys, and a Warlord: Toward a Global Microhistory
Tonio Andrade, 573

This article urges world historians to experiment boldly with narrative history and microhistory as a corrective to the field’s heavy emphasis on models and structures. Global microhistory as the author conceives it focuses on human dramas that shed light on intercultural connections and global transformations, and the article offers an example of the genre: a story of a Chinese man, two African boys, two feuding Dutch merchants, and a Chinese warlord, characters thrown together by the great waves of international trade and cross-cultural interaction that swept the world in the seventeenth century. The author hopes that narrative approaches will draw more students and general readers into the field of global history and help make its insights and approaches resonate with a wider public.

The Ethiopian Age of Exploration: Prester John’s Discovery of Europe, 1306–1458
Matteo Salvadore, 593

This article maps a complex network of exchange between Ethiopians and Europeans in the early modern period. Through a combination of disparate sources such as cartographical treatises, chronicles, and archival fragments, the author shows that Ethiopian agents were active throughout the Mediterranean basin already in the fourteenth century. At a time when the European understanding of Africa was still grounded in classical and medieval myths, Ethiopian pilgrims and ambassadors ventured to Europe and became purveyors of knowledge about the unknown world. By virtue of their country’s identification with the realm of Prester John, they related to European elites as Christian peers in an encounter where skin color appeared inconsequential.

Creating a Paradox: Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and the Slave Trade’s Violation of the Principles of Christianity, Reason, and Property Ownership
Jeffrey Gunn, 629

In his groundbreaking narrative Thoughts and Sentiments (1787), Ottobah Cugoano expressed the paradox created by the slave trade that threatened to undermine the social fabric of European slaveholding societies. The commercial procedures involved in the slave trade violated the principles of Christianity, reason, and property ownership, while generating profits for European businesses and governments. The author argues that Cugoano’s case for ending the slave trade and abolishing slavery depended on his ability to analyze the slave trade from the vantage points of Christianity, reason, and property ownership in order to counter apologist arguments that supported the slave trade by denying the humanity of Africans. Cugoano forced his European readership into a paradoxical predicament. They could either end the slave trade and actualize their religious, philosophical, and economic principles, or they could allow the slave trade to continue to undermine those principles, thus rendering European societies hypocritical.

White Anglo-Saxon Hopes and Black Americans’ Atlantic Dreams: Jack Johnson and the British Boxing Colour Bar
Theresa Runstedtler, 657

This article examines the controversy surrounding Jack Johnson’s proposed world heavyweight title fight against the British champion Bombardier Billy Wells in London (1911). In juxtaposing African Americans’ often glowing discussions of European tolerance with the actual white resistance the black champion faced in Britain, including the Home Office’s eventual prohibition of the match, the article explores the period’s transnational discourses of race and citizenship. Indeed, as white sportsmen on both sides of the Atlantic joined together in their search for a “White Hope” to unseat Johnson, the boxing ring became an important cultural arena for interracial debates over the political and social divisions between white citizens and nonwhite subjects. Although African Americans had high hopes for their hero’s European sojourn, the British backlash against the Johnson-Wells match underscored the fact that their local experiences of racial oppression were just one facet of a much broader global problem. At the same time, the proposed prizefight also made the specter of interracial conflict in the colonies all the more tangible in the British capital, provoking public discussions about the merits of U.S. racial segregation, along with the need for white Anglo-Saxon solidarity around the world. Thus, this article not only exposes the underlying connections between American Jim Crow and the racialized fault lines of British imperialism, but it also traces the “tense and tender ties” linking U.S. and African American history with the new imperial history and postcolonial studies.

Rebellion in the Time of Cholera: Failed Empire, Unfinished Nation in Egypt, 1840–1920
Zeinab Abul-Magd, 691

British colonialism in Egypt marked a period of a failed empire and an unfinished nation. The colonial administration and the co-opted native ruling elite attempted to unify the north with the south—the Delta with Upper Egypt—into one market, the basis for a modern state. Nevertheless, the empire’s capitalism in Upper Egypt proved utterly incompetent, faced bailout crises, and generated environmental catastrophes including the cholera epidemic. Thus, the separatist south was constantly simmering with subaltern rebellion, where ruthless bandits assumed leading roles.


Anne Walthall, ed. Servants of the Dynasty: Palace Women in World History
reviewed by Barbara Molony 721

Cormac Ó Gráda. Famine: A Short History
reviewed by Joe Renouard, 725

Enrico Dal Lago and Constantina Katsari, eds. Slave Systems: Ancient and Modern
reviewed by Larry W. Yarak, 727

Barry Cunliffe. Europe between the Oceans: 9000 BC–AD 1000
reviewed by Vicki Ellen Szabo, 731

Ian Morris and Walter Scheidel, eds. The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium
reviewed by Ewa K. Bacon, 734

Guillermo Algaze. Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape
reviewed by Sarah Kielt Costello, 738

Peter K. Bol. Neo-Confucianism in History
reviewed by Brad Geisert, 741

Tineke Hellwig and Eric Tagliacozzo, eds. The Indonesia Reader: History, Culture, Politics
reviewed by Andrew Goss, 744

Timothy Brook. Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World
reviewed by Dominic Sachsenmaier, 746

Marcy Norton. Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World
reviewed by Scott P. Marler, 748

Trudy Eden. The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World
reviewed by Andrew P. Haley, 751

Stuart B. Schwartz. All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World
reviewed by Karin Vélez, 755

Bernal Díaz del Castillo. Davíd Carrasco, ed. The History of the Conquest of New Spain
reviewed by Scott Eastman, 757

Scott K. Taylor. Honor and Violence in Golden Age Spain
reviewed by Jodi Campbell, 760

David Andrew Nichols. Red Gentlemen and White Savages: Indians, Federalists, and the Search for Order on the American Frontier
reviewed by Kathleen Duval, 763

Patrick Weil. Catherine Porter, trans. How to Be French: Nationality in the Making since 1789
reviewed by Denise Z. Davidson, 765

Susan Martin-Márquez. Disorientations: Spanish Colonialism in Africa and the Performance of Identity
reviewed by Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, 769

Lydia H. Liu. The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making
reviewed by Aminda M. Smith, 771

Albert M. Craig. Civilization and Enlightenment: The Early Thought of Fukuzawa Yukichi
reviewed by Yasuko Sato, 774

Alison K. Smith. Recipes for Russia: Food and Nationhood under the Tsars
reviewed by Darra Goldstein, 778

Edmund Burke III and David Prochaska, eds. Genealogies of Orientalism: History, Theory, Politics
reviewed by Michael S. Dodson, 781

Gavin Schaffer. Racial Science and British Society, 1930–62
reviewed by Hoi-eun Kim, 783

Allen Wells. Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosúa
reviewed by Mollie Lewis Nouwen, 785

Rajmohan Gandhi. Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire
reviewed by M. Raisur Rahman, 787

Ian Linden. Global Catholicism: Diversity and Change since Vatican II
reviewed by James P. McCartin, 790

Grace M. Cho. Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War
reviewed by Barbara W. Kim, 792