Journal of World History, vol. 3, no. 1 (1992)


The Civilizing Process and the Domestication of Fire, p. 1
Johan Goudsblom
This article presents the revised and shortened text of the first Norbert Elias Memorial Lecture, delivered at the University of Leicester on 5 March 1991. In present discussions of history there is a tendency to consider theory in the context of short-term contemporary trends, but theory can also be brought to bear on developments over far longer periods of time. This is demonstrated by the examination of the domestication of fire, a civilizing process extending over many thousands of generations.

Periodization in European and World History, p. 13
William A. Green
This article offers a history of historical periodization in the western world. It examines whether the mode of periodization currently in use is compatible with contemporary theories of historical change. The structure of current world history periodization and issues arising in global periodization are considered. The article explores the relationship between western and world periodization. It identifies forces that conform to standard practices while at the same time advocating substantial revisions.

The Asia-Pacific Idea: Reality and Representation in the Invention of a Regional Structure, p. 55
Arif Dirlik
There are problems in the conceptualization of an Asia-Pacific region. This article argues that conventional physical geographic terminology says little about the region, which must be conceived rather than in terms of human activity in the invention of a regional structure. Ideology is central to this activity. The Pacific as thus conceived is meaningless without reference to a larger world system. Viewed in historical perspective, the Pacific is a Euro-American invention, but with an Asian and Pacific content–a fundamental contradiction that accounts for contention and uncertainty over the meaning of the Pacific.

From Traveler to Notable: Lady Duff Gordon in Upper Egypt, 1882-1869, p. 81
Helen Wheatley
Lady Duff Gordon, a British woman who resided on Upper Egypt during the 1860s, interacted with Egyptian society on terms set to a rare degree by the Egyptians themselves. Isolated from her own family and forced by a failing struggle with tuberculosis to remain in that dry climate, Lady Duff Gordon was willingly drawn into the social world of the rural elite. Her Letters from Egypt suggest the complexity of the traveler’s intercultural encounter. They also present the compelling story of a woman who learned to observe the profound transformation of rural society at a critical period in Egypt’s history.

The “American Century” in World History, p. 105
Donald W. White
The rise and recent noticeable decline of the United States as a preeminent power raises the issue of its influence not on current international politics, but on world history. In his famous essay “The American Century,” published in February 1941, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, set forth a program by which a preeminent United States might make contacts across space and time like those of past empires and powers, thereby influencing global economic development, culture, philanthropy, and democratic institutions. Luce gave popular expression to America’s postwar role, prompting considerable foreign reaction in addition to domestic debate. This article focuses on Luce’s thought about American cross-cultural influence on world history and the reaction of other peoples to it as glimpsed in the foreign press and writings.