Early Modern India and World History, pp. 197-209
John F. Richards
The early modern period in world history, roughly 1500-1800, was marked by several worldwide processes of change unprecedented in their scope and intensity. The term early modern–which is not Eurocentric–should be applied to this period in South Asian history. The society of the Indian subcontinent shared directly in the massive processes of change that influenced societies throughout the world.
Toward a Comparative History of Borderlands, pp. 211-242
Michiel Baud and Willem van Schendel
The historical study of borderlands has been unduly restricted by an emphasis on the legal, political, and geographical aspects of borders and by a state-centered approach. Too often, the question has been how states have dealt with their borderlands rather than how borderlands have dealt with their states-culturally, economically, and politically. This article outlines a comparative approach to the social dynamics (struggles, adaptations, and cross-border alliances) in regions bisected by borders, and it argues that borderland studies provide an indispensable corrective to historical narratives that accept the territoriality to which all modern states lay claim.
Comparative History as World History: Religious Conversion in Modern India, pp. 243-271
Richard M. Eaton
In the period from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century, the vast majority of the Naga peoples of northeastern India converted to Christianity. This article explores the reasons for this extraordinary phenomenon–in Asia, second only in magnitude to the conversion of the Philippine population–and examines the different rates of conversion among Naga communities. It also tests the usefulness of models of religious change generated from fieldwork on conversion in Africa–in particular, Robin Horton’s “intellectualist” theory. In this sense the article is an essay in comparative history, and it argues for the usefulness of the comparative method for world history.
FORUM: ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE IN BRITISH SETTLER COLONIES
Peripheral Visions: Californian-Australian Environmental Contacts, c. 1850s-1910, pp. 275-302
This article offers a comparative and transnational study of environmental contacts between California and Australia. It analyzes “peripheral visions” of the ideal society, shaped by isolation, distant markets, and climate similarities, using staple, world system, and cultural landscape theories. Key exchanges of plants, irrigation policy, and biological control emerged from acclimatization sentiment and ideas of a garden landscape of small-scale yeoman farmers centered on horticulture. The exchange was used to control environmental damage in a form of landscape “renovation,” combining rational resource conservation and preservation. First fashioned in California, it spread to Australia and had reciprocal effects in the United States.
Remaking the Land: The Acclimatization Movement and Anglo Ideas of Nature, pp. 303-319
Thomas R. Dunlap
An enthusiasm for introducing animals and birds that could be hunted or that reminded settlers of home swept over the Anglo settler colonies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. The movement was much stronger in Australia and New Zealand than in Canada or the United States, for both biological and social reasons. It represented a generation’s ideas about nature and the relationship of human beings to nature–ideas deeply rooted in Western culture. We have inherited the landscapes that they shaped and their ideas as well, though today we express them in very different form.
BOOK REVIEWS, pp. 321-346
(bottom half of page)
INDEX TO VOLUME 8 (1997), pp. 347-350