Seminar in Comparative World History


Seminar in Comparative World History
History 100.724.Professor Curtin

Spring Semester - 1995

The general format of the seminar in this semester will consist of meetings to discuss works in the fields of world and comparative history.
For purposes of discussion, the subject matter will be divided into particular kinds of comparison, with some fuzzy borders between divisions. Most of these subject-matter fields will be discussed at only one meeting, though "world history" and "miscellaneous" will receive two weeks each.
Each week two or more students will present discussionopeners on one of the listed problematic questions---or on a subject of is own choosing, but they should clear unlisted problems with the instructor. Whatever the stated problem, each discussion opener should include an analysis of the kind of comparative history dealt with----including an evaluation of the way each author has handled the techniques of comparative history. With eleven discussions, we will need 22 discusion openers in all, or about five for each seminar member. This implies briefer kind of discussion opener than we have had when each student was only responsable for three or so.


Bibliography: Comparative Method

Bendix, R., "The Comparative Analysis of Historical Change," in T. Burns and S. B. Saul, Social Theory and Economic Change, pp. 67-86.
Grew, Raymond, "The Case for Comparing Histories," AHR, 85:763-78 (1980). .Hill, Alette Olin, and Boyd H. Hill, Jr., "Marc Bloch and Comparative History," AHR, 85:823 -57 (1980). Marsh, Robert, Comparative Sociology.
Smelser, Neil J., Comparative Methods in the Social Sciences Warner, R. Stephen, "The Role of Religious Ideas and the Use of Models in Max Weber's Comparative Studies of NonCapitalist Societies, JEH, 30:74-99 (1970)


Tentative Schedule:

February 2 - First week - Organization for the semester - field research methods .
February 9 - Second Week - Earlier World Histories
Possible discussion openers:
  1. How do Costello's list of world historians come off in the light of the Standards for World History?
  2. How do Cameron and E. L Jones compare as economic historians of the world?

Feburary 16 - Third Week - Recent Appoaches to World History
Possible discussion openers:
  1. Wolf and McNeill have both written world histories featuring Europe in the title. Is this truly "world history?" Or how much of the world does "world history" have to cover?
  2. Hodgson and Gellner have come to world history after an earlier career in non-Western studies. Should either approach be preferred to the western-centered view of Braudel?

More-or-Less World Histories


Braudel, Fernand, Civilization and Capitalism, 3 vols. (1967- 79) First published in French as Civilisaton mate'rielle et capitalisme (1967), Les jeux de l'echange '(1979), and Le temps du monde (1979).

Cameron, Rondo, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present (New York, OUP, 1989).
Costello, Paul, World Historians and Their Goals: TwentiethCentury Answers to Modernism (De Kalb: Northern Illinois Press, 1993. Deals with the work of HG Wells, Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, Pitirim Sorkin, Christopher Dawson, Lewis Mumford, and William McNeill. McNeill.
 William H., A History of the Human Community, 4th ed., 2 vols. (Prenticed Hall, 1990). A new edition of The Rise of the West.
Toynbee, Arnold J., A Study of History, 10 vols. (1934-54).
Woodruff, William, The Impact of Western Man
Wolf, Eric, Europe and the People Without History
Wells, H. G., The Outline of History (1920).
Fletchner, Joseph, "Integrative History: Parallels and Interconnections in the Early Modern Period, 1500-1800," Journal of Turkish Studies, 9:37-57 (1985).
Gellner, Ernest, Plough, Sword, and Book: The Structure of Human History (London, 1988).
Hodgson, Marshall G. S., Rethinking World History: Esays on Europe, Isalam and World History (New York: Cambridge, 1993).Edited by Edmund Burke III.
Lewis, Bernard, "Other People's History," The American Scholar, 50:397-405 ( 1990).
Jones, E. L., Growth Recurring: Economic Change in World History (Oxford,Clarendon Press, 1988)
National Center for History in the Schools, National Standards for World History: Exploring Paths to the Present (Los Angeles: National Cent er for History in the Schools, University of Calfornia, Los Angeles, 1994).
Von Laue, Theodore, The World Revolution of Westernization.



February 23 - Fourth Week - General Histories on a Regional Scale

Possible discusion openers:
  1. How successful are Janet Abu-Loghod and Gunder Frank in making the case for "world systems" as the proper subject matter of history--presumably displacing Toynbee's civilizations? Do these two "world systems" have much in common?
  2. Chaudhuri's two volumes on the Indian Ocean suggest at least two approaches to an ocean-centered history. How do these two approaches compare with the Ocean-centered histories of Peggy Liss or Ralph Davis?

Regional Histories:


Abu-Lughod, Janet L., Before European Hegemony Adas, Michael (ed.), Islamic and European Expansion: The Forging of a Global Order (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993)
Canny, Nicholas and Anthony Pagden, Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800 (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1987).
Chaudhuri, K. N., The Trading World of Asia (1978)
Chaudhuri, K. N., Asia Before Europe: Economy and Civilisation of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (1990).
Davis, Ralph, The Rise of the Atlantic Economies (Ithaca: Cornell UIniversity Press, 1973).
Frank, Andre Gunder, The Centrality of Central Asia (Amsterdam: VU Boekhandel, 1992). (skim) [See also Daniel Ballard and others, "'The Centrality of Central Asia': A Dialogue with Frank," Studies in History, 8(new series): 43-122 (1992).]
Hodgson, Marshall G. S., The Venture of Islam (more approachable though Rethinking World History, edited by Burke).
Karras, Alan L., and John R. McNeill, Atlantic American Societies: From Columbus through Abolition 1492-1888 (New York: Routledge, 1992).
Liss, Peggy K., Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revolution, 17131826 (Baltimore, 1983).
Thornton, John K., Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680 (New York: Cambiridge University Press, 1992).
Tracy, James D., The Rise of Merchant Empires: Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern World 1850-1750 (1990).
____________, The Political Economy of Merchant Empires: State Power and World Trade, 1350-1750 (1991). Wallerstein, Immanuel, The Modern World System
Wink, Andre, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-lslamic World. Volume 1. Early Medieval India and the Expansion of Islam (New York: Brill, 1990). Five volumes projected.



March 2 - Fifth Week-- Comparative Revolutions

Possible discussion openers:
  1. Crane Brinton wrote about Western revolutions---how far wrong did he go in failing to bring in non-Western examples, or did it make any difference? (Compare Brinton, Paige, Moore, and Wolf).
  2. Marx was a classic theorist of revolution. How valid is Skocpol's implied revision?
  3. Have the works on comparative revolution inspired by the Vietnam experience aged well over recent decades?

Comparative Revolution:


Brinton, Crane, Anatomy of Revolution
Dunn, John, Modern Revolutions: An Introduction to the Analysis of a Political Phenomenon.
Moore, Barrington, Jr., The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.
Paige, Jeffrey, Agrarian Revolution.
Skocpol, Theda, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China.
Walton, John, Reluctant Rebels.
Wolf, Eric R., Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Volume 29, pp. 417-513. A series of comparative articles on peasant resistance and revolt in Indonesia, France, Mexico, E1 Salvador, and Sri Lanka.

Commentaries on comparative revolutions:
Adas Michael, "Social History and the Revolution in African and Asian Historiography," Journal of Social History, 19:335-348 (1985).
David Geggus, "The French and Haitian Revolutions and Resitance to Slavery in the Americas: An Overview, Revue francaise d'histoire d'outre-mer," 76: (1989).
Nzongola-Ntalaja, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Africa: Essays in Contemporary Politics (London: Zed Books, 1987).



March 9 - Sixth Week - Histories of Technology

Possible Discussion Openers:
  1. Is Headrick's work really comparative history, or merely the history of Europeans overseas ?
  2. Parker's Miitary Revolution and NcNeill's Pursuit of Power deal with the rest of the world, but they center on the West. Is that enthocentric, or was the West really as important as they suggest?
  3. Was the ancient agricultural revolution as important a technological innovation as the recent industrial revolution? (Bruce Smith and Mark Cohen)

Histories of Technology:


Cohen, Mark, "The Epidemiology of Civilization," in Judith E. Jacobsen and John Firor, Human Impart on the Environment: Ancient Roots and Current Challenges (Boulder: Westview, 1992)
Cohen, Mark Nathan and George Armelagos (eds.), Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (Orlando: Academic Press, 1984).
Cohen Mark Nathan, The Food Crisis in Prehistory: Overpopulation and the Origins of Agriculture (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1977).
Headrick, Daniel, Tools of Empire.
_______, The Tentacles of Progress.Jones, E. L., The European Miracle.
Singer, Charles, E. J. Holmyard, and A. R. Hall, A History of Technology, 5 vols. (1954-58).
McNeill, William, The Pursuit of Power.
Parker, Geoffrey, The Military Revolution
Smith, Bruce D., The Emergence of Agriculture (New York: Scientific American Library, 1994)



March 16 - Seventh Week - Environmental Studies

Possible discussion openers:
1 Are Crosby and MacKenzie successful in making the case that "imperialism," rather than other factors accounts for the spectacular environmental changes of the past two centuries??.2. Historical epidemiology and climate history are possible fields of historical specialization with worldo-wide implications, but it is possible to deal with the whole biosphere in the manner of Turner and others?


Environmental Studies:


Crosby, Alfred W., Jr., The Colombian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492.
________, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900.
Curtin, Philip D., Death by Migration: Europe's Encounter with the Tropical World in the Nineteenth Century
Dean, Warren, Brazil and the Struggle for Rubber: A Study in Environmental History (New York, CUP, 1987). Strongly revisionist of the previous views of the rise and fall of Brazilian rubber. Real cause of failure was a leaf blight. Study takes a strongly biological approach and looks at the history of the science in projects and failures in Brazil and elsewhere.
Grove, Jean M., The Little Ice Age (New York: Methuen, 1988). A study of the climatic change over the past millennium, based on recorded changes in the positions and extent of glaciers everywhere in the world.
Kiple, Kenneth F. (ed.), The African Exchange: Toward a Biological History of Black People (Durham: Duke University Press, 1987).
Larson, Clark Spencer, "Bioarchaeological Interpretations of Subsistence Economy and Behavior from Human Skeletal Remains," Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, 10:339-445 (1987).
MacKenzie, John M. (ed.), Imperialism and the Natural World (Manchester, Manchester U. Press, 1990).
McNeill, William, Plagues and Peoples.
Richards, John F. and Richard P. Tucker (eds.), World Deforestation in the Twentieth Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1988). Has chapters by different authors on Kenya, Togo, Sahelian Africa, India, Thailand, and the US and USSR.
Turner, B. L. II, William C. Clark, Robert W. Kates, John F. Richards, Jessica T. Mathews, and William B. Meyer (eds.),The Earth As Transformed by Human Action: Global and Regional Changes in the Biosphere over the Past 300 Years (New York, Cambridge University Press, 1990)
Wrigley, T. M. L., M. J. Ingram, and G. Farmer (eds.), Climate and History: Studies in Past Climates and their Impact on Man (New York, Cambridge Press, 1981).



Spring Break

March 30 - Eighth Week - Resarch Reports
April 6 - Ninth Week - Comparative Slavery
Possible discussion openers:
  1. What does Cooper's criticism leave of the main interpretive thesis advanced by Kopytoff and Miers?
  2. Is Russian or South-East Asian slavery too far removed from the familiar picture of the plantation complex to make it valuable for comparative analysis?
  3. How should the differences interpretation between Orlando Patternson, Meillassoux, and Kopytoff be resolved?

Comparative Slavery :

Cooper, Frederick, "The Problem of Slavery in African Studies," JAH, 20: 103125 (1979).
Hellie, Richard, Slavery in Russia: 1450-1725 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982).
Kolchin, Peter, Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom (Harvard, 1987).
Klein, Martin L., Breaking the Chains: Slavery, Bondage, and Emancipation in Africa and Asia (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993).
Lovejoy, Paul, and Toyin Falola (eds.), Pawnship in Africa (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993) .
Lovejoy, Paul E. and Nicholas Rogers, Unfree Labour in the Development of the Atlantic World (London: Frank Cass, 1994).
Meillassoux, Claude, The Anthropology of Slavery: The Womb of Iron and Gold (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1991). or for quick review see Joseph Miller, "The World According to Meillassoux: A Challenging but Limited Vision," IJAHS, 22:473-495 (1988).
Morrissey, Marietta, Slave Women in the New World: Gender Stratification in the Caribbean (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1989).
Miers, Suzanne and Igor Kopytoff, Slavery in Africa
Miers, Suzanne, and Richard Roberts (eds.), The End of Slavery in Africa (1989).
Patterson, Orlando, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA, 1982) .
_____________, Freedom, Vol. 1. Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (New York: New York University Press, 1990).
Phillips, William D., Jr., Slavery from Roman Times to the Early Transatlantic Trade (Minneapolis, 1985)
Reid, Anthony (ed.), Slavery, Bondage and Dependency in Southeast Asia (St. Lucia, Queensland University Press, 1983).
Watson, James L. (ed.), Asian and African Systems of Slavery (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980)



April 13 - Tenth Week - Cross-Cultural Images

Possible discussion openers:
  1. Cohen concentrates on the French Image of Africans, Curtin on the British. Was there any national difference, or are both authors really talking about the European image?
  2. Were non-Western images of the West essentially different from Images of the non-West? (see especially the six articles in Schwartzz).
  3. Is it proper or useful to study cross-cultural images held by ordinary people, as opposed to those that made a difference---the "official mind" of Gallagher and Robinson?

Image Studies:

Cohen, William, The French Encounter with Africans
Curtin, Philip D., The Image of Africa
Curtin, Philip D. (ed.), Africa and the West: Intellectual Responses to European Culture.
Devisse, Jean, and Michel Mollat, The Image of the Black in Western Art: Volume 2 From the Christian Era to the "Age of Discovery," 2 parts (New York: William Morrow, 1979).
Honour, Hugh, The Image of the Black in Western Art: Volume 4, From the American Revolution to World War 1, 2 parts (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).
Keen, Benjamin, The Aztec Image in Western Thought
Lewis, Bernard, The Muslim Discovery of Europe (New York: 1982).
Thompson, Ann, Barbary and Enlightenment: European Attitudes toward the Magreb in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Brill, 1987).
Raychaudhuri, Tapan, Europe Reconsidered: Perceptions of the West in Nineteenth-Century Bengal (Delhi: OUP, 1988)
Pagden, Anthony, European Encounters with the New World (New Haven: Yale Press, 1993)
Said, Edward, Orientalism
Schwartz, Stuart (ed.), Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters Between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era (Cambridge: Cambridge Univerfsity Press, 1994). See especially aritcles by Anthony Reid and Ronald Toby Thompson, Lloyd, Romans and Blacks (London, Routledge, 1989).
Wachtel, Nathan, The Visions of the Vanquished: The Spanish Conquest of Peru through Indian Eyes (New York, Harper and Row, 1977).



April 20 - Elventh Week - Research Reports


April 27 - Twelfth Week - Urban History

Possible discussion openers:
  1. Is it possible that Adams and Bairoch are in basic agreement, in spite of diffferences in nationality, previous specialization, and disciplinary training ?
  2. Do economic principle that cut through parochial cultural differences make possible the comparative study of urbanization (or of the relations between cities) in ways that are not the case for comparative revolutions or comparative slavery?

Urban History:

Adams, Robert McC., The Evolution of Urban Society. Bairoch, Paul, Cities and Economic Development: From the Dawn of History to the Present (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).
Broeze, Frank (ed.), Brides of the Sea: Port Cities of Asia in the 16th-20th Centuries (Honolulu, HA: University of Hawaii Press, 1989).
Lampard, Eric, "The Nature of Urbanization," in Derek Fraser and Anthony Sutcliffe, The Pursuit of Urban History (London: Arnold, 1983).
Rozman, Gilbert, Urban Networks in Russia, 1750-1800
 _________, Urban Networks in Ch 'ing China and Tokugawa Japan.
Skinner, G. William, The City in Late Imperial China (Stanford, 1977)



May 4 - Thirteenth Week - Millennarian and Nativist Movements

Possible discussion openers:
  1. To what extent is Thrupp or Worsley led astray by concentrating to a single culture area? What,if anything, would a cross cultural treatment have added?
  2. Talmon concentrates on narrowly-defined "Millennarian" movements, while Adas used a more relaxed definition concentrating on antiWestern "nativist" revivalism. Would the answer be different in either case if a different kind of definition had been used.

Millennarian and Nativist Movement


Adas, Michael, Prophets of Rebellion: Millennarian Protest Movements agaiinst the European Colonial Order. Burridge, Kenelm, New Heaven New Earth: A Study of Millennarian Activities.
Mair, L. P., "Independent Religious Movements on Three Continents," CSSH 1 :223-36 (1959).
Talmon, Yonina, "Millennarian Movements," Archives europeenes de sociologie, 7:159-200 (1966).
Thrupp, Sylvia L. (ed.), Millennial Dreams in Action: Essays in Comparative Study.
Wallace, Anthony F. C., "Revitalization Movements," American Anthropologist, 58:264-81 (1956).
Worsley, Peter, The Trumpet Shall Sound: A Study of "Cargo" Cults in Melanesia


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