Journal of World History, vol. 22, no. 1 (2011)


The Rise and Fall of Cowrie Shells: The Asian Story
Bin Yang, 1

This article sketches the rise and fall of the use of cowrie shells in eastern Eurasia from the archaeological period to the nineteenth century. Originating in the sea, especially in the region of the Maldive islands, cowrie shells migrated to various parts of Asia as precious goods in the prehistoric era and later became a commodity and currency. By focusing on their experiences in Chinese, Indian, and Southeast Asian societies, this article illustrates the significance of these shells in a cross-regional context, analyzes the transformation of their functions over the longue durée, and discusses some local and global issues, such as why cowrie shells failed to develop into a common currency in early China.

Provincializing Rome: The Indian Ocean Trade Network and Roman Imperialism
Matthew P. Fitzpatrick, 27

In conquering Egypt, the Roman Empire secured direct access to the centuries-old Indian Ocean trade network that in Roman times brought together China, India, Southeast Asia, Parthia, Arabia, and Africa as well as the Roman Mediterranean. Far from being a product of Schumpeterian objectless expansion, Rome’s conquest of Egypt fit into a broader strategic logic that sought to extend Roman control over eastern
entrepôts. Despite its centrality to the Mediterranean wing of the world economy and its ability to extract surplus from its own provinces, the hub of this global economy remained India, whose linchpin emporia were able to extract surplus from the Roman Empire.

A Silk Road Legacy: The Spread of Buddhism and Islam
Xinru Liu, 55

Many great processes of world history had their origins in Central Asia. This article explores the religious and social life of Central Asian peoples both before and after Islamization, relying on historical records written in Arabic, Persian, and Chinese, as well as modern scholarship in art history and archaeology. It demonstrates that Central Asian peoples have survived numerous calamities and thrived in a constantly changing environment, particularly in the transitional phase from a predominantly Buddhist to a predominantly Muslim region.

Finding the Pacific World
Katrina Gulliver, 83

Defining the Pacific for historical scholarship has presented particular challenges. This article argues that it is possible to define the “Pacific World” as a temporal and geographical category during the period ca. 1770–1941. This period witnessed a philosophical and cultural consciousness of the Pacific, as demonstrated by trade, cultural connections, and deliberate international affiliation based on shared Pacific location. The idea that there was indeed a Pacific World, in a specific historical period, then offers a starting point for closer analysis of the networks that existed within it.

Selling Mankind: UNESCO and the Invention of Global History, 1945–1976
Poul Duedahl, 101

In the wake of World War II, UNESCO promoted a new approach to the writing of world history in an attempt to support UN peacekeeping through “mental engineering” in the service of peace. The first task was to launch an authoritative world history without particular geographical orientations. This was intended to provide a profound understanding of the interdependence of various cultures and to accentuate their contributions to the common cultural heritage, thus disarming history by constructing a sense of international unity. This article focuses on the discussions leading up to the publication of the much-criticized History of Mankind volumes of 1963 to 1976 and demonstrates why it makes sense to characterize the project as the starting point of the genre of global history.


Ian F. McNeely with Lisa Wolverton. Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet
reviewed by Paula Petrik, 135

Thomas N. Bisson. The Crisis of the Twelfth Century: Power, Lordship, and the Origins of European Government
reviewed by Anne E. Lester, 136

William Chester Jordan. A Tale of Two Monasteries: Westminster and Saint-Denis in the Thirteenth Century
reviewed by David C. Mengel, 140

James P. Delgado. Khubilai Khan’s Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada
reviewed by Timothy May, 143

Gijs Kruijtzer. Xenophobia in Seventeenth-Century India
reviewed by Markus Vink, 146

Neil Safier. Measuring the New World: Enlightenment Science and South America
reviewed by David A. Reid, 150

Daniela Bleichmar, Paula De Vos, Kristin Huffine, and Kevin Sheehan, eds. Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500–1800
reviewed by Timothy J. Coates, 153

Miles Ogborn. Global Lives: Britain and the World, 1550–1800
reviewed by Jason Nice, 157

Peter T. Leeson. The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates
reviewed by Claire Schen, 159

Kathleen M. Brown. Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America
reviewed by Jonathan Eacott, 163

John Darwin. After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire since 1405
reviewed by Ron Sela, 165

James R. Akerman, ed. The Imperial Map: Cartography and the Mastery of Empire
reviewed by Lucy Chester, 168

Phillip Buckner, ed. Canada and the British Empire
reviewed by Ryan M. Touhey, 171

Adam M. McKeown. Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders
reviewed by Kwee Hui Kian, 174

Gijsbert Oonk, ed. Global Indian Diasporas: Exploring Trajectories of Migration and Theory
reviewed by Shefali Chandra, 177

Andrew Sartori. Bengal in Global Concept History: Culturalism in the Age of Capital
reviewed by Ajay Skaria, 181

Erik Esselstrom. Crossing Empire’s Edge: Foreign Ministry Police and Japanese Expansionism in Northeast Asia
reviewed by Emer O’Dwyer, 185

Gary Y. Okihiro. Island World: A History of Hawai‘i and the United States
reviewed by Paul Spickard, 191

Alexandra Harmon, ed. The Power of Promises: Rethinking Indian Treaties in the Pacific Northwest
reviewed by Steven M. Fountain, 193

Wayne Dooling. Slavery, Emancipation and Colonial Rule in South Africa
reviewed by Joyce M. Chadya, 196

Nancy C. Carnevale. A New Language, A New World: Italian Immigrants in the United States, 1890–1945
reviewed by Mark I. Choate, 199

Umut Özkīrīmlī and Spyros A. Sofos. Tormented by History: Nationalism in Greece and Turkey
reviewed by Alexander Kitroeff, 202

Paul Hagenloh. Stalin’s Police: Public Order and Mass Repression in the USSR, 1926–1941
reviewed by Alexander Hill, 204

Barbara Epstein. The Minsk Ghetto, 1941–1943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism
reviewed by Sean Martin, 207

Theodore S. Hamerow. Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust
reviewed by Kirsten Fermaglich, 209

Mark Atwood Lawrence. The Vietnam War: A Concise International History
reviewed by David Biggs, 213