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Against the grain of the paradigmatic postcolonial analytics of the colonial state, this chapter presents a non-dichotomous comparison of two regimes within the late 18th…
Against the grain of the paradigmatic postcolonial analytics of the colonial state, this chapter presents a non-dichotomous comparison of two regimes within the late 18th century Danish empire, which are commonly presumed to be of essentially different kinds – namely the colonial state in Tranquebar in South East India and the metropolitan government of rural Danish society. By focusing, firstly, on practices of policing and, secondly, on the general technology of power that targeted these significantly different socio-political spheres, it is argued that these regimes were governing according to similar strategies: seeking, on one hand, to deploy societal mechanisms of self-regulation and, on the other, to provide a balance and order to the otherwise chaotic forces of the population. On the basis of a Foucauldian vocabulary of government, it is thereby argued that colonialism, at this time and place, had not yet clearly constituted itself as a particular form of rule.
This paper aims to explore various tensions related to the diffusion and reception of the New Qing History (NQH) in China, and more specifically, it aims at underlying a…
This paper aims to explore various tensions related to the diffusion and reception of the New Qing History (NQH) in China, and more specifically, it aims at underlying a recurrent tension within the core of this debate, between a Global and a Nationalist historical narrative.
The author’s focus is to analyze various texts published in China between 2006 and 2018.
The author argues that the intensity of the current debate is partly related on the one hand, to the fact that NQH undermines various aspects of China’s Nationalist teleology and territorial claims and, on the other hand, to the basic difficulty of accepting the coexistence of various historical representations that are risking to weaken contemporary’s justifications of its rising schemes.
The text presents an original reading of some important issues raised by the NQH debate.
The traditional postcolonial focus on the modern and the European, and pre-modern and non-European empires has marginalized the study of empires like the Ottoman Empire…
The traditional postcolonial focus on the modern and the European, and pre-modern and non-European empires has marginalized the study of empires like the Ottoman Empire whose temporal reign traversed the modern and pre-modern eras, and its geographical land mass covered parts of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Asia Minor, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa. Here, I first place the three postcolonial corollaries of the prioritization of contemporary inequality, the determination of its historical origins, and the target of its eventual elimination in conversation with the Ottoman Empire. I then discuss and articulate the two ensuing criticisms concerning the role of Islam and the fluidity of identities in states and societies. I argue that epistemologically, postcolonial studies criticize the European representations of Islam, but do not take the next step of generating alternate knowledge by engaging in empirical studies of Islamic empires like the Ottoman Empire. Ontologically, postcolonial studies draw strict official and unofficial lines between the European colonizer and the non-European colonized, yet such a clear-cut divide does not hold in the case of the Ottoman Empire where the lines were much more nuanced and identities much more fluid. Still, I argue that contemporary studies on the Ottoman Empire productively intersect with the postcolonial approach in three research areas: the exploration of the agency of imperial subjects; the deconstruction of the imperial center; and the articulation of bases of imperial domination other than the conventional European “rule of colonial difference” strictly predicated on race. I conclude with a call for an analysis of Ottoman postcoloniality in comparison to others such as the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, Persian, Chinese, Mughal, and Japanese that negotiated modernity in a similar manner with the explicit intent to generate knowledge not influenced by the Western European historical experience.
Despite the exponential spread of the British Empire by the late nineteenth century, there remained in England a continued indifference to “the Empire”. In 1883, J.R…
Despite the exponential spread of the British Empire by the late nineteenth century, there remained in England a continued indifference to “the Empire”. In 1883, J.R. Seeley, Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge, had expressed concern because ‘we think of Great Britain too much and of Greater Britain too little’. People had to rethink their understandings of nation and empire, he suggested, and steps had to be taken to modify what he saw as a ‘defective constitution’. Seeley’s lecture series had prompted debate about ‘the imperial question’, but the ‘anomalous political arrangements’ and the reluctance of the people to think imperially persisted. Insularity was not exclusive to the people in Britain, however. Because of their preoccupation with their own local affairs, it was suggested, there had been little opportunity for people from other parts of the empire to devote much time to the larger questions of imperial and common citizenship.
This article assesses the development of flood relief and recovery, and their narratives, as political sites for the central and local governments to negotiate each…
This article assesses the development of flood relief and recovery, and their narratives, as political sites for the central and local governments to negotiate each other's standing and role in imperial Japan.
The article examines local flood narratives, most prominently from Okayama, to assess how imperial Japan's central government intruded into the periphery through disaster relief, and how the localities negotiated and challenged Tokyo's political agenda on the ground and through these narratives.
The above sources reveal that the national government attempted to use flood experiences to unite the pluralizing society by three main means: building meteorological stations, relief laws, and through the imperial being. The process was systematized gradually, and local prefectures aided and challenged Tokyo's attempts. The prefectures also used disasters to try to bring unity within their community.
Historical flood narratives are often used to mine data from which future preventative and management measures are constructed. The article suggests the narratives' political nature, and hence the nuances that must be considered in these efforts.
Officially, of course, the world is now post-imperial. The Q’ing and Ottoman empires fell on the eve of World War I, and the last Leviathans of Europe's imperial past, the…
Officially, of course, the world is now post-imperial. The Q’ing and Ottoman empires fell on the eve of World War I, and the last Leviathans of Europe's imperial past, the Austro-Hungarian and Tsarist empires, lumbered into the grave soon after. Tocsins of liberation were sounded on all sides, in the name of democracy (Wilson) and socialism (Lenin). Later attempts to remake and proclaim empires – above all, Hitler's annunciation of a “Third Reich” – now seem surreal, aberrant, and dystopian. The Soviet Union, the heir to the Tsarist empire, found it prudent to call itself a “federation of socialist republics.” Mao's China followed suit. Now, only a truly perverse, contrarian regime would fail to deploy the rhetoric of democracy.
Looks at the reasons for the collapse of both regimes and considers the importance of repression with these developments. Contrasts the methods of Imperial Russia with the…
Looks at the reasons for the collapse of both regimes and considers the importance of repression with these developments. Contrasts the methods of Imperial Russia with the Bolsheviks looking at Court proceedings, prison conditions, education and propaganda in prison, exile and the secret police. Concludes that whilst social support is usually seen as essential for survival of a system, repression is not regarded as a positive element but can become the method for a system’s survival and stability.
So-called classical sociology took shape during perhaps the high point of a world dominated by imperial states. In the “west” the British, French, and German empires…
So-called classical sociology took shape during perhaps the high point of a world dominated by imperial states. In the “west” the British, French, and German empires, along with a surging America, claimed political and sometimes territorial control over wide stretches of the globe. Beyond Europe and the United States, while the Ottoman and Qing empires were in there last days, new states were staking out their imperial claims such as Japan and Russia. The tension between a reality of empire and an ideal of sovereign nation-states eventually exploded in WWI. Curiously, much of this dynamic, especially the global power of empire, went theoretically unnoticed by the makers of modern sociology. This chapter explores this theme through a sketch of the failure of this theoretical reckoning in Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.
Long established and revisionist approaches to European state formation are put to one side in this article and a turn to the imperial domains of early modern states is…
Long established and revisionist approaches to European state formation are put to one side in this article and a turn to the imperial domains of early modern states is made. The rise of Atlantic Studies as a new current of history has drawn attention to transatlantic patterns of colonialism. However, historical sociologists and comparativists have yet to grapple with the conclusions of this field of research. This article points to a possible line of argument that could draw historical sociology and Atlantic Studies together. It takes up the argument that early modern polities broke new ground in the formation of territorial institutions when they turned to transcontinental state building. From their inception, the projects of empire produced conflict-driven institutions. Comparative examination of the Spanish, British, Dutch, French and Portuguese empires reveals that, despite the authority accorded to overarching institutions of imperial government, domestic and colonial patterns of institutional formation diverged considerably. The article explores how developments in European territories took one course in each case, while colonial trajectories in the Americas took others and thereby generated distinct kinds of conflict.
When the 13 colonies in North America, the slave colony of Saint-Domingue, and the colonial territories of the Portuguese and Spanish Americas all rose against their…
When the 13 colonies in North America, the slave colony of Saint-Domingue, and the colonial territories of the Portuguese and Spanish Americas all rose against their imperial rulers, a new postcolonial order seemingly emerged in the Western Hemisphere. The reality of this situation forced political theorists and practitioners of the early 19th century to rethink the way in which they envisioned the nature and dynamics of international order. But a careful analysis of this shift reveals that it was not the radical break with prior notions of sovereignty and territoriality, often described in the literature. This was not the emergence of a new postimperial system of independent, nationally anchored states. Rather, it reflected a creative rethinking of existing notions of divided sovereignty and composite polities, rife with political experiments – from the formation of a new multi-centered empire in North America to the quasi-states and federations of Latin America. This moment of political experimentation and postcolonial order-making presented a distinctly new world repertoire of empire and state-building, parts of which were at least as violent and authoritarian as those of the old world empires it had replaced. The most radical ideas of freedom and liberty, championed by the black republic of Haiti, remained marginalized and sidelined by more conservative powers on both sides of the Atlantic.