Part III's opener serves as the basis for a renewed discussion of periodization. Students will readily accept the idea that the decline of the classical empires signaled the end of an era. The more pressing task now is to establish the organizing features of a new period in world history that begins in the fifth century and lasts in broad outline until the fifteenth—with the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries seen as another time of transition, particularly in light of changes in the Arab world and other parts of Asia.
The themes of expansion of civilization (and the resultant emergence of seven civilization areas by the fifteenth century), spread of world religions, the rise of more active and significant international exchange in Afro-Eurasia, and the surge of Islam to central importance among the civilizations of the Old World provide four overlapping approaches to this period. They are not as simple as the "formative period" motif used for the classical period, or indeed the "rise of the West" theme that begins to emerge around 1400, and thus a detailed discussion of what marks the postclassical period and gives it some tenuous unity across the developments in the individual civilization is clearly called for.
After establishing the main features of the period, a lecture or discussion can turn toward more specific problems of change and continuity in the principal areas where classical civilizations had centered. Students should see that some civilizations changed more than others, and should be attuned to subtleties of continuity and change, particularly with regard to the Middle East. Different responses to the period's four main themes constitute obvious comparative issues in dealing with individual societies during the postclassical centuries, starting with the Middle East itself. For example: how did China and West Europe compare in terms of the impact of Islam.
The Rise of Islam: Civilization in the Middle East
Chapter 6 deals with the Middle East, examining the impact of Islam and the rise of the Arabs; it also treats aspects of the Arab political and cultural decline after about the eleventh century. The chapter presents some background material on the region and the pre-Islamic Arabs. Its main focus, however, is to study this region using the same methodology employed for the classical civilizations. Thus an outline of events is followed by characterizations of politics, culture, economics, and society — this latter with emphasis on tensions between Islamic ideals and inequality, the use of slaves, and family values and the position of women. In a sense, and granting subsequent changes under Ottoman rule, this period did see the formation of key, durable structures in Middle Eastern civilization that can be compared to classical forms in the Mediterranean and in Asia.
Lecture topics abound. Some instructors might want to clarify the region's ongoing diversity, its Hellenistic legacy; the situation of religious minorities, the importance of Persian culture — that is, to take up one or more topics mentioned but not elaborated on in this chapter amid its focus on dominant patterns. Explication of Arab politics and its relation to Islamic ideals commands attention, so that students can grasp how the system worked. The cohesive qualities of Islamic law and the reliance on non-Arab bureaucrats in the absence of a full aristocracy can be reviewed on the basis of chapter coverage. The obvious discussion topic, which can support more than a single session, involves comparison of Islam and Christianity to note the many resemblances as well as differences in doctrine and religious structure. In dealing with Islam directly, students can be led to discuss what its great appeal was (and in the process be reminded that, despite Christian prejudices, most of Islam's spread was not due to military conquest).
The History Debate on political implications can be amplified. This is a good way to explore certain stereotypes about Islam, including the role of holy war.
The complexity and creativity of Middle Eastern culture, including Islam but not confined to it, also raise important topics. The biographical insert on Omar Khayyam challenges students toward an appreciation of cultural diversity. Examining Islam's complex political and gender implications, discussed in the text, sets up other important topics for the period and for connections with issues today.
The chapter also supports a lecture or discussion that can resume some of the "laws of history" approach taken up regarding decline and fall. Using the Arab example, have students discuss what causes a society to gain new vigor, and how, indeed, vigor is to be measured. The Arab decline, complex and incomplete, also merits attention; it is less straightforward than Rome's fall but probably, therefore, more revealing. (Later in the course the author has frequently asked for comparisons between the West's twentieth-century patterns and Arab, rather than Roman, decline.)
Possible Tests and Exercises
More ambitious comparative-essay possibilities include the implications of Islam and Confucianism for social and political protest, their views on the status and conditions of women, or their tolerance for other beliefs. Islam and Buddhism can also be compared on a number of specific topics.
India and Southeast Asia Under the Impact of Islam
This chapter has three interrelated themes: First, Indian history is sketched from the fall of the Guptas to roughly the fifteenth century. Second, students are introduced to a few features of southeast Asia in this period, when important regional kingdoms took shape. Though it had begun a bit earlier, the Indian influence on southeast Asia is emphasized, and the racial, political, and religious diversity of the region is also discussed. Finally, the impact of Islam both in India and in Southeast Asia is examined, which provides a link to the previous chapter.
Chapter 7 is relatively brief. Many texts skip over this period in Indian history, leaving students with a sense that India almost disappeared between the classical period and the rise of the Mughal and then British empires. However, it is important to stress the ongoing evolution of the major civilizations, which is why each civilization, including India, once presented in terms of initial characteristics is treated in each of the major periods defined in the text. But it is also true that this is not as significant a period in Indian history as those that preceded or followed, and that Indian developments at this point need not be grasped in the same detail as those in the Middle East or East Asia. The chapter can serve as an opportunity to discuss themes of continuity and change, so that students begin to gain some facility in sorting out what is new and what is persistent as a major civilization evolves. The continuity-and-change theme, indeed, forms a useful discussion topic, with India providing a case study. It is particularly useful to remind students how basic structures and values can survive even amid apparent political disarray or fragmentation.
Using India and Hinduism in contact with Islam is a good way to explore complexities in India at this point and also to discuss implications of culture contact more generally.
In addition to exploring continuity and change, chapter 7 lends itself to a lecture focusing on Islam's initial impact on India — why India was open to an extent, but also what the limits of the impact were. It is important to emphasize and explain ongoing differences between India and the Middle East. Some instructors might also wish to take up Southeast Asia more explicitly since the sketches offered of this region in the text are deliberately cursory.
Africa and Islam
Chapter 8 deals with sub-Saharan Africa in the postclassical period. Two main themes are introducing Africa as a civilization area — though students should be reminded that earlier sections on Egypt (chapter 1) and Kush (chapter 5) have already set out important data — and the Islamic influence on Africa.
Issues in defining African civilization and addressing some common misperceptions are highlighted in the History Debate. Students should be introduced to the size and complexity of the continent and, of course, to the postclassical period as a formative one for civilization in many African regions.
Opportunities for lectures and discussions include in-depth detail on the main regions of Africa, which have continuing importance; Africa can also be usefully compared with Western Europe in this period, in terms of political structures, the rise of merchants, the nature of its contacts with Islam. One prominent African historian has rightly pointed out the broad similarities evident between the two areas around 1200, but increasing differentiation by 1450, based on differences in trade problems, exposure to technological diffusion, and seafaring traditions pushed these areas in diverse directions. Comparison with the Islamic Middle East and North Africa is another obvious candidate for deeper examination, around issues such as conditions for women, the structures of monarchy, and dominant artistic styles. Use of Muslim travel accounts (Ibn Battuta, Ibn Khaldun) can be a vital supplement here.
East European Civilization: Byzantium and Russia
Chapter 9 covers the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire and comments on its relationship to Rome. It also discusses the cultural and economic influence of Byzantium in Eastern Europe more generally, with particular emphasis on Kievan Russia. Kievan Russia, in turn, is taken up to the Mongol invasion. The overall theme of the chapter is the development of characteristic forms of civilization in Eastern Europe, especially in politics, religion and church structure, and the arts. Some brief comparisons with the medieval West, as well as discussion of the Great Schism, focus attention on some of the features of Eastern Europe at this stage in history that distinguish it from the West beneath their shared Christian umbrella.
Some instructors may wish to develop a lecture or two that would amplify the Byzantine section in its own right, and the chapter can be extended to explore Byzantium's links with the later Roman Empire and further explain how the Mediterranean heritage developed. A lecture on Byzantium at its height could clarify how the civilization rivaled the Asian societies already examined for this period. A single lecture on the chapter's coverage could simply explore some key points of contact between Byzantium and Russia, while also explaining the vast differences in sophistication and stages of development of the two societies. For Russia, this period was, of course, formative, not some complete blueprint for later developments. A lecture could usefully introduce students to some basic features of European Russia, including ethnic makeup and geography. Finally, a lecture bridging toward the next chapter could highlight Eastern European social features and anticipate comparisons (similarities as well as differences) with the medieval West. The decision to explore Eastern Europe as a distinctive civilization, rather than as a peculiar part of European civilization itself, is debatable, and some instructors might at this point wish to assume a somewhat different position from that taken in the text, by doing more with the parallels and linkages between the two parts of Europe.
The chapter ends with comments on East European decline at the end of the postclassical period. Further discussions of the dynamics involved may include comparison with other societies, in this period and before, that suffered from a combination of internal change and outside invasion.
Western Civilization: The Middle Ages
For many instructors initially trained in European history, the principal challenge of this chapter on Western Europe in the postclassical period will be helping students sort out an understanding of medieval Europe appropriate to a world history survey without getting excessively bogged down in detail. Some attention to the backwardness of the West, even at the height of the Middle Ages, is a useful corrective to undue ethnocentrism. (Comparisons with African kingdoms from the same time period, to be elaborated on in the next chapter, work toward the same end).
The History Debate on the problems of defining "Western civilization," given divisions in this period and the complex relationship to the classical heritage, can be extended to exploration of what characteristic Western features were in this formative period.
The events of the postclassical centuries were integral in bringing the West close to the point at which it did begin to affect the larger world and in setting up some enduring and distinctive features of the West itself. Why the West began to develop new dynamism is a valid and familiar staple of medieval history, and it can be addressed by way of exploring the more general topic of why some cultures begin to surge forward. (Note also, for later reference, the possibility of analogies from the present; it is not necessarily the most sophisticated civilizations that leap rapidly forward, but rather those with looser institutions and newer values—and if this is true, where are the next rising societies likely to come from?)
Lectures can explore several of these topics, including a think-piece on dynamism using the medieval example. For one or two specific lectures, a good choice would be to highlight the ways in which medieval society changed as it moved from the Dark Ages to its twelfth- to thirteenth-century height, in order to focus students on the process of ongoing evolution, and then to comment on sorting out the characteristically medieval from the medieval-but-durable in the West. For example, in this line of thinking, feudalism was medieval, but, via parliaments, it left a more durable heritage; scholasticism was medieval, but the revival and definition of rationalism enduring; the strictest serfdom was medieval, but villages and guilds enduring. The final segment of the chapter, on changes at the end of the postclassical period, can also focus discussion.
When examining this period and region, it is also stimulating to use the comparative context. Russia, Japan, Western Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa had important similarities in the postclassical period. They all participated in world trade but at some disadvantage; they all imitated more advanced centers, but with different results. Comparing what they borrowed from other centers and considering their different problems and trajectories by the fifteenth century is a revealing exercise.
The Spread of East Asian Civilization
This chapter looks at China during the Sui, Sung, and Tang dynasties and at the development of civilization in Japan, from early imitation of China (and therefore the advent of writing) through the first shogunate. The chapter, in other words, focuses on East Asia from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries. Brief comments on the Mongol invasion (and Japan's providential exemption) move into the fourteenth century, though there is more specific coverage of this in chapter thirteen. Short sections on Korea and Vietnam may be supplemented by additional reading or class presentations.
On China itself, there is ample opportunity to stress the themes of change and continuity. Basic forms of the civilization are unusually consistent, compared, say, to the disruption in India, but while impressing this on students, with some attendant discussions of the advantages and drawbacks of this much continuity, there is the opportunity for good lectures on what did change, in bureaucracy, religion, commerce, and family relations. Another lecture or discussion possibility involves the standard "why nots" of this period of Chinese history — for instance, why not, given great commercial advance, a full industrialization? (The concept obviously must be defined, and due reminder given of the solid economic position China had attained.) Or, why not, given steady scientific advance, a "scientific revolution" type breakthrough? (This subject is taken up again later in a chapter on seventeenth-century Europe.)
The introduction of Japan offers abundant opportunities for comparison with China—what turned out to be similar through imitation and diffusion, what was different. From this point onward, in dealing with East Asia, a dichotomy is established between noting the overlaps between the two societies and crucial differences that ultimately contributed to distinctions evident in the contemporary world. From a theoretical standpoint, a lecture could readdress the topic of how a civilization is defined, not in terms of its difference from noncivilization, but in terms of assessment of coherence—when are societies too dissimilar, despite some shared features, to be embraced in the same civilization category? More specifically, a lecture on feudalism is a possible lecture topic, and it can prepare both cross-referencing with postclassical Europe and also some understanding of organizational strengths in Japan that have carried to our own time (and its flexibility compared to China). Discussion of what kind of political system feudalism is, and how it differs from more bureaucratic setups as well as from decentralized landlord power without feudal ties (for example, Zhou-dynasty China) can help students into a vital but difficult topic. (As needed, distinctions between feudalism and manorialism, that is, between nobles' relationships and landlord-peasant relationships, can also be insisted upon.)
A final topic that can usefully inform a lecture or discussion at this point is the question of why in so many agricultural civilizations did the position of women, or at least upper-class women, tend to deteriorate over time. Students have seen this pattern in China and Japan, and earlier in India and to an extent (with some qualifications from earlier Bedouin patterns) in the Middle East under Islam. This important topic lends itself to speculation on causation; it can also return students to some serious consideration of social-history themes.
Centers of Civilization in the Americas
Chapter 12 examines the development of civilizations in the Americas by focusing on three themes. The first comprises the main characteristics of the civilizations, both in central America and the Andes region, in terms of trade and technology, political structures, society, and culture and religion. Here, comparisons can be made between the two centers, or between these civilizations and societies elsewhere, in this period as well as before.
The second theme emphasizes the unusual isolation of American societies in contrast to Africa, Asia, and Europe, all of which were involved in growing mutual contacts. Here, obviously, a balance needs to be struck between the achievements of American societies (the extent of the Inca empire; the productive agriculture of the Aztecs, which supported an urban center that would later awe the Spanish; the scientific and mathematical advances of the Mayans) and the undeniable results of isolation seen in differences in religion, technology, availability of domesticated animals, and disease resistance. Comparison with Africa may be particularly revealing for both sides of the equation.
The chapter's third theme evokes the issue of heritage from this period, as the American civilizations were overwhelmed by European invasion. The utility of knowing about additional examples of human experience and the ongoing importance of artistic, social, and religious forms even amid European preponderance can stimulate useful discussion. In this vein, some instructors will wish to go more deeply into the American Indian experience in other parts of the hemisphere. The History Debate section provides a basis for further discussion of the American experience before and after the Spanish Conquest.
The Mongol Interlude and the End of the Postclassical Period
This brief chapter focuses on changes in the bases for international exchange in Afro-Eurasia from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. Three episodes are featured in a context in which several established centers, particularly the Arab Middle East/North Africa and Byzantium, were beginning to decline in vigor. The first explores the rise of the Mongols and the interlocking empires they established, the second treats the brief period of Chinese international trade in the fifteenth century and the reasons for the decision to pull back from this experiment, and the third sketches European excursions into the Atlantic and the complex causation involved—the mixture of European strength and weakness that prompted new ventures, plus the kinds of colonial societies the Europeans experimented with in the Atlantic islands.
These episodes can, of course, be broken down for further discussion. The history of the Mongols offers opportunities for review of the long-standing importance of central Asia and of nomadic peoples in trade and contact (not just invasion); references to the growing role of the Turks supplements this theme. The dramatic Chinese experiment with internationalism, as it were, as well as its end, invites discussion of causation in terms of cultural and political factors. It is important to see the episode in context: China's experience presents an opportunity to discuss whether a society that passes up a chance for major expansion is automatically making a mistake—an opportunity, in other words, to assess empathetically, rather than ethnocentrically, the reasons behind Chinese decisions to focus on other goals than world trade, and whether that decision was a wise one.
Review or Exercises in Comparison, Chapters 6-13
Because of the complexity of the period 450-1400 C. E., given the various civilizations covered, this point in a world history course forms an opportune moment to review and compare. Essay assignments and class discussion can help drive home the themes undertaken in previous weeks. This is also the point in the text where the establishment of the main "traditional" (though not static) features of the seven civilization areas has been completed, again a good point for review and examination.
In many world history courses, the fifteenth century opens a major new segment, often a new semester. The introduction to the early modern period in World History, likewise, is meant to introduce a number of new themes and discuss how some previous themes — such as the expansion of world religious, so important through the postclassical period — become less prominent as others, some new, some old, take the lead in setting the framework for major developments. New themes still do not homogenize experience across all societies, but they pose some common issues to which particular civilizations react — issues such as, in this instance, what to do about expanding world trade or the new foodstuffs available thanks to growing knowledge of American crops.
The themes introduced in this initial segment can be handled in one or more discussions. They involve a new balance of world power, featuring the growing importance of the West but also the rise of new empires in Asia, and a redefinition of the previous world network resulting from a new type of world economy and the inclusion of the Americas. The results of the "Columbian exchange" on world population levels and balance need attention, not only for the Americas but for Africa, Asia and Europe. Systematic, international cultural changes play a smaller role: the spotlight is on new trade systems and other exchanges and new political capacities in a number of societies, each supplemented by new technologies, particularly new weaponry.
Discussion of the specific themes for the early modern period should be related to a broader outlook on world history from this point onward. Several points might be borne in mind: First, a number of major changes in all areas of the human experience were occurring, and would occur, in this period and subsequent ones, but second, despite this, continuities were not erased. Different societies maintained distinctive traditions, which led to unique reactions and adaptations. The prior stages of world history must be integrated with what was to happen in the modern periods, and that necessitates some active reminders and integrations — even in dealing with the twentieth century. Finally, while power balances were realigned to the advantage of Western Europe, and would remain so for some time, no one society dominated all initiatives. Even when European interventions were particularly decisive, as in the Americas, interactions, not unilateral determinations, must usually be explored. Separate and lively political and economic development continued in Asia. Complexity must be maintained in the interests of appropriate historical understanding and perspective.
Western Civilization Changes Shape, 1450-1750
The challenge of chapter 14 is to boil down the essentials of an exceptionally diverse and creative period in the history of the West. Putting the same point slightly differently, this chapter addresses the Protestant and Catholic reformations, the Renaissance, the scientific revolution, absolutism, and the Enlightenment by emphasizing the main lines of development and eschewing great detail. There is a danger in this part of a world history course of shifting gears too radically toward centering on the West, or of expecting students to grasp details and varieties of Western experience in what were indeed crucial centuries, as if they were taking a Western civilization course. This chapter, as a result, concentrates particularly on showing the main changes that the various movements cumulatively set in motion in politics, culture, economy, and society.
Lectures may, of course, expand on several of the familiar movements in Western history during this time period, thus dealing with the Renaissance, reformations, or Enlightenment in greater detail. But instructors will be well advised to devote some lecture and class discussion time to helping students with the task of integration, for students will find some of the effort to get at main trends quite natural, but not easy; thus, a session on cultural currents that makes some bow to the distinctive aspects of Renaissance and such, but also stresses how the movements through the Enlightenment interrelated, will be a great service both in dealing with main Western themes and in facilitating later comparisons to other cultures.
From this point onward in the text, and logically in a world history course, efforts to get at change and continuity become vital. Students by this time will have gained some handle on this approach through earlier treatment of postclassical China and India; but now they must undertake this kind of analysis for all seven civilizations. A class discussion that deals with the West in terms of continuity and change, with a focus on continuity that may get lost amid all the changes being mentioned, is a logical candidate. Another interesting theme involves simply asking why the West in this period pushes toward new dynamism after having been so long backward—and why the West and not any of the older civilizations? (The chapter's discussion of China and science might provide a lead-in point here.)
In addition, given the amount of exciting social-history work done on the early modern West, a lecture or segment devoted to this aspect of change, in addition to the more familiar political and cultural shifts, seems vital. Developments in family, social structure, and popular outlook may well have been more important than some of the more conventional categories of change to which they in any event were linked. The History Debate section highlights the origins of Western consumerism.
Finally, putting early modern Western history in world context is a crucial task. This involves discussing how developments in the West reflected its new international contacts and the profits it drew from world trade (the next chapter also furthers this theme), as well as the ways in which changes in the West affected how Westerners judged (and often condemned) other societies they encountered — and how that behavior would ultimately affect judgments about the West by would-be reformers or conservatives in other societies.
The West and the World: Discovery, Colonization, and Trade
This chapter deals with the West's outreach into the world from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries, which involves several interrelated topics, any or all of which can focus lecture and discussion. For example, patterns of European colonization can be discussed. Familiar in outline to most students, at least in terms of the American "discoveries," exploration and colonial establishment can take on new meaning in the world history context. The issue of motivation is also fascinating, while a strong technological element opens the way to discussion of technological determinism to the chapter technology's limits, as students recognize that other motivations must be present for the technology—in this case, naval and related military advances—to be widely used.
Further discussion might explore the History Debate topic of the nature of Western ascendancy compared to earlier, Arab ascendancy.
The two areas most touched by European exploration and trade were the Americas and Africa. Students should be reminded (see especially chapter 12) of why these societies were most vulnerable; they can also be told in greater detail why the Europeans would be drawn to these areas and interact with these societies as they did. Yet the European impact differed widely between Africa and the Americas, and this point can be established either through direct comparison of the port-colonies/slave-trade model versus extensive colonization, or through more detailed examination of developments in Africa and the Americas. The chapter also discusses ongoing themes of African history that were not at this time seriously touched by Europe's presence, but this point too can be usefully extended in class.
Treatment of the slave trade, including the autobiography of Equiano, encourages discussion of its impact on Africa, the Americas, Europe (including Western racism), and on the slaves themselves.
The chapter depicts the period as formative for Latin American civilization, and this can certainly bear fuller comment. The blend of colonial and American Indian features in creating a society closely linked to the West but not Western served as the crucible for this newest of the world civilizations. Meanwhile, the chapter deals also with the English colonies of North America, arguing that, in contrast to Latin America, they did become part of Western civilization. This theme can be usefully explored — and contested — as part of building American history (that is, U. S. history) into the world course, a perspective too often neglected. Comparison between the two major American societies — including the far greater global importance of Latin America at this point — is an important exercise.
The chapter's overarching theme, borrowing from Immanuel Wallerstein, is the evolution of the world economy. Here is a worldwide development that, though differing in impact depending on each civilization's prior history, genuinely helps students organize the modern half of a world history course—but it requires discussion and explanation from the outset and recurrent reinforcement thereafter. This chapter does not attempt to reproduce all of Wallerstein's terminology or complexity (some of which proves contestable in any event), but the basic notion of a division between a dominant (core) and dependent (periphery) is established, with the chapter conclusion suggesting the conditions present in societies that remained partly external to the system at this point in time. Again, students do find this a useful conceptual framework because of its assistance in organizing links among a number of civilizations and because of its durability through the centuries from 1450 to our own day, hence the desirability of some careful exposition at this juncture.
The Rise of Eastern Europe
This chapter deals with the development of Russian society after the Tartar period through the eighteenth century. A key theme is Russian expansion, with Russia along with the West the only societies consistently able to acquire new territory during the early modern period. Analytically, chapter 16 focuses on Russia's complex relationship with the West, the similarities and the deliberate imitation, but also the vital and, in some respects, increasing differences. A related issue involves Russia's position in the world economy, where relative backwardness on the one hand is counterbalanced by Russia's political and military strength and some trade with Asia, to keep Russia from occupying a completely dependent position.
The History Debate section highlights the complexity world (and European) historians face in figuring out how to regard Russia, particularly after the selective Westernization process. Comparison with other complex cases of defining civilization — Latin America, Japan in relation to China and an "East Asian civilization" — can be brought into play here.
In a single lecture, the highlighting of main themes via comparison with the West seems an obvious choice; this can also feed a discussion session. A lecture that expands the social-economic aspects of early modern Russia, and particularly the importance and conditions of the peasantry, fits well. So does expanded comment on the nature of Russian expansion and the impact of Central Asia and Siberia. Finally, some instructors might want to devote a lecture to the other, smaller nations of Eastern Europe, which could be compared with the Russian model.
The Ottoman and Mughal Empires
Chapter 17 covers the Ottoman empire in the Middle East and Balkans, from its consolidation to the beginnings of decline; it also covers Indian history from the rise and decline of the Mughal empire to the beginnings of British colonization.
The chapter directs attention to two possibly related comparative topics: the nature and strength of the new military empires in Asia, and the vulnerabilities that led to relatively early decline, particularly, in the Mughal case.
The decline theme, however, should not be pressed too far. The Ottoman empire enjoyed a long period of strength (longer, students might be reminded, than the Roman empire). Both Mughals and Ottomans brought important changes to their civilizations, and the change-and-continuity theme invites considerable discussion.
Finally, both empires must be fit into the larger context of expanding European interests and the world economy. Students might be asked why neither India nor the Middle East adopted the East Asian policy of isolation, a topic that involves geography, to be sure, but also differences in cultural and commercial tradition. The nature of and reasons for Britain's rising rule in eighteenth-century India form the basis for considerable discussion, preferably focused on India rather than the details of British policy. As India became a colony (and the same holds for Indonesia or the Philippines, should lecture coverage extend the treatment of southeast Asia), it invites comparison also with Latin America—to what extent economic dependency was imposed in both cases, with attendant changes in labor systems; to what extent cultural tradition was altered, etc. The "Understanding Culture" section provides a basis for discussing Muslim reactions to the West.
The Isolation of East Asia
This chapter covers China and Japan from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until the late eighteenth century. Exploring the causes and results of the policy of isolation that both countries adopted. Relatedly, it compares aspects of Japanese and Chinese societies, which produced such similar policies despite differences in tradition, particularly in the political area.
Coverage of all parts of Asia from the fifteenth until the twentieth century must involve something of a juggling act, and this is certainly true for East Asia. On the one hand, Western dynamism was not quite equaled elsewhere, and so the relative rise of the West was a genuine fact of world importance. On the other hand, Asia was not a uniform or passive blob, and many important changes that had nothing to do with Western expansion or the world economy occurred there. For China and Japan in this early modern period (before the nineteenth century), students must learn that isolation had its relative costs and that, even apart from isolation, some symptoms of decline set in by the eighteenth century (more noticeably in China than in Japan). But they must also learn about China's great internal commercial expansion, had many interesting parallels with commercial capitalism in the West in the same period, as well as about China's continued cultural confidence, and the important strengthening of the Japanese state. They should also know about China's economic vigor, which gave it great strength in world trade , particularly in earning New-World silver.
A single lecture, then, might focus on the positive internal dynamics of China and Japan (or Japan alone) in the early modern centuries. Another useful possibility is a comparison of Chinese and Japanese societies, touching again upon the utility and limits of the "East Asian" rubric; this is particularly important since, come the nineteenth century, the two societies' responses to change would differ widely, in part due to distinctions visible in the early modern period. Chapter 18 also highlights important innovations in Japan in this period that merit careful discussion in comparison with China. Finally, the change-and-continuity theme is important in both societies, where continuity was unusually substantial but not to the exclusion of significant shifts.
Review Themes, Chapters 12-16 (The Early Modern Centuries)
World patterns from the emergence of new Western (and Russian) dynamism and the world economy, to the point at which industrialization and new imperialism were about to alter the rules of the game, form a convenient point for some summary and comparative discussion — or essay assignments and concept testing.
The opener for part V presents what is sometimes called the "long nineteenth century" — it runs from the 1750s to 1914 — as a partially new period in world history. Western industrialization intensified and redefined several ongoing trends — resulting in a modified though not totally new framework for world history. Notably, Western military and naval power increased, allowing more land conquests and pressures, while the world economy accelerated international economic linkages and exacerbated imbalances. Because of these changes, newer forces emerged as well, among them various discussions of imitating or resisting the West. Nationalism, for instance, began to develop widely, reflecting both imitation and resistance. Relatedly, new comparisons become important in assessing different reactions to industrialization and imperialism. One or more class sessions may profitably be devoted to these themes, in helping to explicate the overall periodization pattern.
The First Industrial Revolution: Western Society, 1780-1914
Chapter 19 deals with the extended nineteenth century in Western society (Western Europe but with explicit inclusion of the United States). The main theme is the industrial revolution, which is defined with some care and demonstrated to be a major transition—comparable to the agricultural revolution of Neolithic times—not only for economic systems but in social and family structure and, to an extent, in politics and intellectual life as well. Because of the central importance of industrialization to world history no less than that of the West, the chapter begins with this theme and then returns to the more standard framework with coverage of main events—the revolutions, national unifications, and American Civil War; the expansion of state functions in the later nineteenth century and definitions of the leading political, cultural, and social characteristics of the West in this period.
Because the industrial revolution marks an unusually sharp break from previous patterns, students should certainly be encouraged to grasp the extent of change, though they can usefully be asked about some continuities as well. (As in most sections of this guide, the essay and multiple-choice questions amplify suggested directions of this sort.) They can also deal with causation.
The chapter also lends itself to lectures and discussions that build on other changes in this exceptionally concentrated period in Western history, showing how they link to industrialization but also how they had some life of their own. A good lecture on the major thrust of revolution and the political "isms" is a good choice here to show why so many new political movements arose and what the major directions of actual political change were. (Note that the chapter tries to establish the significance not only of constitutional shifts but also of redefinitions of government functions.) Intellectual life is a second candidate for separate treatment, again with some linkage to the central theme of industrialization, but with attention to the self-sustaining patterns of Western cultural trends as well. Some instructors might also wish to play up a social history for this period in the West, given the tremendous advances in knowledge of this topic in recent years. The chapter provides a basis for further discussions of work and leisure, family roles, protest, and social structure. Gender issues loom large, and the biography of Wollstonecraft could be expanded into further discussion of complex new cultural and economic currents.
Finally, by way of drawing class segments to a close in preparation for moving back to world history more generally, the "patterns" involved in Western history during the industrial revolution can be addressed. Without falling into the misleading ethnocentrism of the more simple-minded theories of modernization, it is true that to much of the non-Western world, what happened in the West during the nineteenth century was seen as something of a model to imitate, avoid, or break up into more manageable pieces. A speculative session, asking what a Japanese, say, in the late nineteenth century, interested in seeing his country industrialize, would judge that the West had done not only technologically, but also in military structure, politics, family life, and culture to break away from traditional standards, could be quite useful at this point. Indeed, presentation of the modernization model and its critics at this juncture can help organize much subsequent discussion of world developments.
Settler Societies: the West on Frontiers
Chapter 20 addresses the development of the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in the long nineteenth century, stressing the growing importance of these societies, particularly the United States, in world history, particularly after 1860. The chapter's brevity is a compromise between the older tradition of leaving the United States largely out of world history on grounds that there was plenty to do already, and the newer trend of inclusion. The chapter suggests principal ways to consider these societies in world history terms — through comparisons and decisions about whether they formed a distinctive part of Western civilization or need to be treated as a separate, new civilization category. Class sessions can expand upon these analytical themes, calling upon student knowledge of American history to flesh out some of the issues of American exceptionalism versus an enlarged Western civilization approach. Instructors may, of course, wish to expand on the factual content. One way to proceed here would be to explore in more depth the differences among the societies treated in this chapter, a point outlined in the chapter's final segment.
Because of the ways in which American history is usually presented, in a usually implicit exceptionalist framework, there may be some need to emphasize dynamics that America generally shared with Western Europe in the nineteenth century. "Frontier Western" societies in some cases moved a bit more quickly toward a version of political democracy (including granting female suffrage) than Western Europe did, but they were arguably part of the same basic political evolution and chronology.
The special features of the economic role of the "frontier West" deserve emphasis, as these societies (including the United States, its own experience with the industrial revolution changed the dynamic somewhat) provided foods and raw materials without the degree of low wages and labor debasement characteristic of dependent economies treated in subsequent chapters. Another analytical point that can be evoked in this section and then pursued more fully in dealing with the twentieth century, involves what innovations the growing dynamism of these societies brought to world history more generally. For example, was United States imperialism, as it rose at the end of the nineteenth century, at all different from the better-established Western European version?
Western Imperialism in Africa and South Asia
It would be quite defensible to open a new period in world history with the West's industrial revolution and the resultant new imperialist pressures. This book, while permitting such an option, does not directly follow it, preferring instead to focus on the twentieth century as beginning the next new world history era. (The reasons for this decision are defined explicitly in the preface to part V and include the larger world impact of industrialization.) Nevertheless, Western industrialization certainly redefined world relationships, and this chapter seeks to get at this redefinition. In the main, during the nineteenth century, redefinition involved rapid rise of the West through military superiority, and development of a Western-dominated world-economy framework that had first begun to emerge in the fifteenth century. But the intensity of imperialism—both in geographic extent, in breaking into Chinese and Middle Eastern political and economic independence, and in controlling power, as colonial responsibility was redefined in India and Africa—and the power of the world economy were both greatly enhanced following on the industrial revolution, and this sub-periodization must be conveyed.
Chapter 21 specifically covers four related topics. The first involves the intensification and redefinition of the world economy, including the curtailment of slavery and its causes. Second is the new imperialism itself: where the major European powers went in the world, particularly from the 1860s and 1870s onward, and what the causes of the new surge were. The chapter does not place great emphasis on particular national European patterns or specific diplomatic clashes, lest the legitimate theme of new European impact on the world be diverted into detailed Western history. But some instructors may wish to expand, in lecture, on various national goals, achievements, and styles. The subject of causation is treated extensively and can certainly support a class discussion.
Third, the redefinition of imperialism in India and in Southeast Asia is discussed. The themes for India, important in what has proved to be a major transitional period in Indian history, involve changes brought by the British or developed in reaction to them and continuities, or aspects of Indian culture and society not deeply altered. The complex pattern of protest and resistance that developed on several different levels in Southeast Asia is treated more briefly, mainly in terms of the sheer geographic extension of Western control (Indochina, shifts in Philippines) and the echoing of some of the Indian patterns. A lecture might well expand on the Southeast Asian topic if greater detail is desired.
Finally, the new imperialist surge in Africa is taken up. Again, attention is devoted less to the details of what European country got what, and more to the economic, political, and cultural impact during the first phase of the new imperialism, including factors that limited that impact. A discussion session might well juxtapose African traditions as previously studied, with the new imperialist forces (giving a nod to Islamic influence, since the West was not running everything), toward speculation about how Africans would judge plusses, minuses and possible compromises with the new developments. (Some excellent, readily available paperback fiction can immensely improve student grasp here; see, for instance, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.)
Possible Tests and Exercises
This chapter, discussing as it does the range of the new imperialism, lends itself to map work.
The importance of redrawing boundaries in Africa can be stressed. Differential imperialist impact in Asia is another ready topic—where colonialism ruled outright, where there were more limited incursions, and where no direct takeovers occurred in Japan.
Middle East and China in the Imperialist Century
This chapter deals with the Middle East and China during the nineteenth century to roughly 1914. Both societies can be contrasted with the cases of outright colonialism discussed in the previous chapter and, of course, with the "latecomer" industrializations of Russia and Japan covered in chapter 24. Concerning the first comparison, a lecture might discuss whether a society was better off, in the context of the nineteenth century, becoming an outright colony or remaining technically independent while open to exploitation from the West without much leavening sense of responsibility. (This question has been evoked in historiography on India and China in particular). The second comparison will be easier to develop later, as part of chapter 24 coverage; here the most apparent contrast involves the distinction between Japanese and Chinese responses.
The pairing in this chapter has not been used before in this text. Previously, the Ottoman empire was linked with coverage of India, and in the early modern period this was the obvious comparison. Students might profitably be told in greater detail why the linkage shifts; India is drawn into colonial orbit, while China, is forced out of isolation and, therefore, comes to resemble the Ottoman situation a bit more closely. Both the Middle East and China, in this period, raise issues concerning new Western interference and its impact (as well as new tensions with Russia, questions about decline and sluggish response. Of course, the comparison should not be overdone. Lecture or discussion can address the two societies on strictly their own terms, with attention to what changes and what persists from previous periods in each. However, the similarities do suggest at least a comparative discussion. To be sure, Ottoman reform attempts were more numerous than Chinese ones during the middle decades of the century, and this might be spelled out in greater detail; Chinese distraction as a result of rebellion can also be discussed in fuller measure. But the development late in the nineteenth century, in both societies, of new kinds of dissatisfaction among students (China) or young officers (Turkey) exposed to Western values and impatient with their societies' response returns to some real comparative possibilities. Some discussion of issues faced by Chinese and Middle Eastern nationalists may also be desirable.
The Understanding Cultures segment invites comparison also between China and Japan, over the role and adaptability of Confucianism. Themes here can be picked up again in Chapter 24.
In sum, lecture possibilities include fuller exploration of Western interference without outright colonial takeover—why this pattern developed differently in China and Turkey than in southern Asia and what impact, long-range as well as short-run, the difference had; a fuller discussion of Ottoman reforms and their limits; a focused analysis of the decline of the Chinese imperial government, touching on the various forms of popular and regional resistance as well as Western incursions; and a session on outright comparison. Some attempt to characterize the new involvement of both societies in the world economy can also facilitate comparison; dependent status certainly increased over the previous centuries, when China particularly had not been greatly involved at all, but it did not extend as deeply as it did in Africa or Latin America, given China's more established internal manufacturing and trade strengths.
The Development of Latin American Civilization
This chapter focuses relatively extensive treatment on Latin America in the nineteenth century for two reasons. First, though Latin America was in fact no more important in world history during this period than, say, India or China, the period was of crucial significance to the civilization itself. The newest of the world civilizations, Latin America had been incompletely shaped during the colonial centuries; the nineteenth century sees the emergence of a fuller set of political and cultural characteristics. This fact, despite the relative neglect of Latin America common in some older world history coverage, alone commands some special attention, so that Latin America can be brought to student attention on a level comparable to that of other parts of the world. The History Debate section on the complex definition of Latin America as a civilization can serve as a springboard for further discussion.
The second reason for this attention is that Latin America turned out to prefigure some patterns visible later in Africa and parts of Asia. As the first civilization filled with new nations, unable to wrest full economic independence from the dominant Western world and open to considerable Western cultural influence, Latin America in the nineteenth century had much in common with other areas in this century — a comparative vantage point that can be used well in later discussion.
Several lecture or discussion topics can build on the chapter's coverage. Some instructors may wish to offer a richer portrait of Latin American culture—its attempt to merge Western and Indian or African-derived forms, its religious and aesthetic qualities. Political patterns certainly invite fuller exposition or student discussion. Latin America's distinctiveness here, so often belittled by Westerners focusing only on instabilities, must be grasped. Terms like "liberal" and "authoritarian" have different meanings in the Latin American context than they have in most of the West, and this fact provides an entree for more sympathetic comprehension. The relationship between politics and elite-mass divisions in society offers another vantage point. Further, students should understand how significant economic change occurred even as the largely dependent framework of Latin American economics persisted. The divisions of the early part of the chapters with key subperiods can also be expanded upon to explore the complexities of the nineteenth century as a whole.
Where time permits, fuller exploration of the regional diversities within Latin American civilization would offer greater richness and accuracy alike, and this approach is briefly prepared in the text. The diversity theme should not (despite current centrifugal tendencies in Latin American historiography) be pressed to the point of incomprehensible nominalism: there remain some larger themes that do bind the civilization more generally.
Russia and Japan: Industrialization Outside the West
This chapter rounds out coverage of the nineteenth century under the impact of the West's industrialization and imperialism by focusing on the two non-Western areas where serious industrial revolutions, with attendant political and cultural change, began before 1900. Russia and Japan, for quite different reasons, managed to avoid colonial or semi-colonial status, and this forms the link between these two cases in this chapter. The chapter thus invites comparative assessment of the ingredients of successful imitation of initial industrialization, the similar patterns that result from being "late" and the marked differences between Japan and Russia in terms of social stability and national cohesion.
Many facets of the two societies should be explored separately. For Russia, students should be led to discussion of what was changing and what was constant in the Russian traditions they have already examined. A lecture might give more attention to the purely political strand, or the peculiar qualities and importance of the peasant question might be covered. The theme of comparison with the West, already evoked in earlier discussions of Eastern Europe, can be taken up again to help students use this chapter to touch base with a standard comparative framework. Finally, chapter 24 offers some characterization of Eastern Europe outside Russia; this too might be expanded in lecture.
Japan may also be approached through the change-and-continuity theme. Students should be brought to understand that Japan did not simply waltz into industrial status—that serious change was involved, and serious strain as well. Given recent American awe of Japan, and some silly scholarly simplifications about how marvelously all Japanese traditions fit a superior industrial economy, this point can merit some attention. But it is also true that Japan did not Westernize in any full sense, that traditions were preserved and adapted, and this point should come through clearly. Finally, since Japan and China have usually been treated together, their separate patterns from the mid-nineteenth century invite comparison. Why did China and Japan differ in their reactions to new Western pressure? The History Debate section on Confucianism can spur further discussion on this question.