Journal of World History, vol. 8, no. 1 (1997)


The Sixteenth-Century Venetian Celebration of the Earth’s Total Habitability: The Issue of the Fully Habitable World for Renaissance Europe, pp. 1-27
John M. Headley
In the contexts of Venetian cartographic primacy and the publication of G.B. Ramusio’s unique collection of travel accounts, this article examines the implications of the growing recognition of the entire earth’s navigability, accessibility, and hence habitability–a recognition that shattered the traditional classical notion of zonal, partitioned confinement, in which three zones were too cold or too hot for human habitation. The ringing confidence of Ramusio and his circle regarding the total habitability of the earth, expressive of a new global consciousness on the part of Europeans, depended at least as much on Platonic philosophy and its belief in the universalizing plenitude and goodness of a rational creator as upon cartographic, geographic precision and empirical exploration.

Culture Contact and Polynesian Identity in the European Age, pp. 29-55
I.C. Campbell
Synoptic studies of culture contact manifest an implicit model of cultural and demographic replacement and a discontinuity in indigenous identity. This model reflects a preoccupation with settler colonies, yet many culture contact relationships have developed in the absence of colonialism. European-Polynesian culture contacts are discussed here as a basis for an adaptational model, and it is argued that colonialism itself was often the means whereby indigenous identity was maintained, not extirpated.

Nationalisms: An Invitation to Comparative Analysis,, pp. 57-74
Peter N. Stearns
Analytical treatment of nationalism, of the sort needed to frame world history teaching and comparative research, requires extension beyond historical accounts of specific episodes and the many available social science generalizations that tend to homogenize the phenomenon. Two points are crucial. The first is the historicity of nationalism as it moved away from traditional cultural definitions and political loyalties. The second is comparison of different types of nationalisms–or, more properly, different balances among complex components–in historical context. The comparative approach particularly engages most nationalisms as blends of innovation and conservative forces and, in the twentieth century, as sites for complex negotiations between westernizing and traditional emphases. These features reveal nationalism as a reflection of diverse civilizational histories, while raising questions about renewed competition with nationalism as a loyalty in the late twentieth century.

Intercontinental Trade and the Development of the Third World since the Industrial Revolution, pp. 75-133
Patrick Karl O’Brien
This paper inserts two centuries of historical perspective into the ongoing debate on the nature and significance of participation in the global economy for the long-term material progress of the Third World. The global economy impinged upon the relative rates of growth achieved by national, regional, and local economies basically through commodity trade, the migration of labor, flows of capital, and transfers of technology between the developed continents of Europe, North America, and Australasia, on the one hand, and the less developed continents of Asia, Africa, and South America (the Third World) on the other. Despite the marked inequality in the distribution of income across continents, Third World economies and populations derived significant benefits from participation in the global economy until 1914, and the breakdown of the liberal order imposed serious impediments to trade during the era of neomercantilism between 1914 and 1950, which severely constrained Third World opportunities for growth through trade. When a new international economic order emerged with decolonization and the rise of American hegemony, the Third World again found it entirely beneficial to participate in global commerce.

Toward “One Enlightened and Progressive Civilization”: Discourses of Expansion and Nineteenth-Century Chinese Missions Abroad, pp. 135-156
Charles Desnoyers
Recently, scholars attempting “China-centered” perspectives of the Qing dynasty’s nineteenth-century effort at “self strengthening” have asserted both a greater capacity for Confucianism to support modernization than previously supposed and a considerable amount of Chinese rather than Western agency in originating such efforts. This essay traces a distinct current in the writing of the self-strengtheners, which sees the marriage of Confucianism and Western technology as powerfully transformatory, leading not just to a revivified China, but also to a China that extended its commercial and cultural influence deep into the West.

BOOK REVIEWS, pp. 157-186
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