Journal of World History, vol. 4, no. 1 (1993)


The Unity and Disunity of Indian Ocean History from the Rise of Islam to 1750: The Outline of a Theory and Historical Discourse, p. 1
K. N. Chaudhuri
This article examines the theoretical and historical problems of establishing the unity and disunity of the Indian Ocean at the level of space, time, and structural relations. The author relies on mathematical set theory and the historical methodology of Fernand Braudel to show that the Indian Ocean possessed a history if its own that followed a coherent logic and that enables historians to treat the entire region as a unit of analysis. This logic is embedded in the expansion of Islam and Imperial China, the dispersion of the Turko-Mongol nomadic warrior peoples, the rise of the military bureaucratic empires, and the arrival of Europeans in the Indian Ocean, as well as in the structure of food habits, clothing, the construction of buildings and houses, systems of food production, patterns of stock breeding, industrial production, and the role of urbanization in economic and social life.

Democracy’s Place in World History, p. 23
Steven Muhlberger and Phil Paine
Recent events challenge historians to account for the renewed appeal of democracy around the world and to reexamine their theories of world political development. The authors argue that the idea of Europeans having a special fitness for democracy should be abandoned and that the quasi-democratic institutions of the European past find parallels in many other parts of the world.

Religious and Cultural Conversion to Islam in Ninth-Century Umayyad Cordoba, p. 47
Jessica A. Coope
This article deals with the conversion of Christians to Islam in ninth-century Cordoba, the Umayyad caliphate’s capital in al-Andalus. The author addresses three questions. First, what economic improvements in social status and career opportunities did Christians receive when they converted to Islam? Second, exactly what kind of conversion did they undergo? The adoption of Arab culture and in particular, fluency in the Arabic language seems to have been as important as a formal profession of faith in Islam. Finally, how did Muslims regard recent converts, and to what extent did converts become truly integrated into the Islamic community?

On the Origins of the Indian National Congress: A Case Study of Cross Cultural Synthesis, p. 69
W. Travis Hanes III
This article explores the process of intellectual and cultural syntheses that resulted in the formation of the Indian National Congress, one of the earliest and most successful nationalist movements in India. It concentrates on three movements-the Brahmo Samaj, the Arya Samaj, and the Theosophical Society-that exemplified syncretic processes at work in colonial India. The Theosophical Society in particular demonstrated that cultural synthesis was a two-way street but attracting prominent Europeans as well as western-educated Indians. By examining the origins of the Indian National Congress, this study may point the way toward future investigations of syncretic processes underlying other nonwestern nationalist movements.


Modern Science in Japan: Comparative Perspectives, p. 101
James R. Bartholomew
During the period from 1860 to World War I, Japan established a tradition of modern scientific research. Japanese science did not represent a simple transplantation of European science to Japan, but rather reflected social, cultural, and political traditions inherited from Tokugawa era. Comparison with China, India, and the Middle East shows that the Japanese experience more or less closely resembled those of other lands establishing traditions of modern scientific research during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Passages in Imperial Science: From Empire to Commonwealth, p. 117
Roy MacLeod
British imperialism had its scientific and cultural as well as political and economic dimensions. Overseas possessions stimulated an urge to explore, discover, classify, and explain new worlds of nature. Colonial science took its intellectual cues from imperial metropolis, and it became an important part of the institutional structure linking Britain with the colonies. In reviewing five phases of British imperial science–from the mid-eighteenth century to the post-World War II era–this essay examines mechanisms of control, coordination, and cooperation that governed relations between Britain and the colonies.