Dawn of the Global World 1450-1800 For the Masters in Modern British and European History

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Dawn of the Global World 1450-1800
For the Masters in Modern British and European History

The ‘globalization’ of history has been the most visible and significant development in historical scholarship of the past decade or so. Historians are increasingly aware of the need to place their work in a context that spills over national, regional, or civilizational boundaries. Some of the most exciting work has emerged from probing the global dimensions of the ‘early modern period’ before the rise of European world domination. This course will introduce the two principal methodologies involved in doing this new large-scale history – the connective and the comparative – through a series of seminars led by one European historian and a different specialist in the non-European world each week. In pursuit of the connective we will consider what happened when Europeans began to traverse the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and became entangled in a newly diverse range of societies. For example, what kind of architecture resulted when Portuguese ecclesiastical styles were transplanted to the tropics? Other weeks will take a more comparative approach. Considering the way in which Chinese intellectuals turned to classical texts in ‘Neo-Confucianism’, for example, might help us see the familiar European themes of Renaissance and Reformation in a new light.

Regular tutor/course leaders: Alan Strathern and Nicholas Davidson
(1) The Early Modern World: An Introduction to Doing Connected History and Comparative History – Alan Strathern
(2) The Black Death and European Expansion – Jamie Belich
(3) Modes of Encounter between Early Modern Europe and the Ottoman Empire – John-Paul Ghobrial
(4) The Mughals – Polly O’hanlon (Oriental Studies)
(5) Social and Intellectual Change in Song China (960-1279): The Rise of Neo-Confucianism – Peter Ditmanson (Oriental Studies)
(6) Cultural and Architectural Syncretism in Goa – Mallica Kumbera Landrus (Ashmolean).
(7) The Comanches and Reversed Colonialism – Pekka Hämäläinen
(8) Global Millenarianism Howard Hotson

(1) The Early Modern World: An Introduction to Doing Connected History and Comparative History
With Alan Strathern
The purpose of this introductory session is to introduce students to the new field of world or global history, to clarify what the methods of connective and comparative history actually entail, and to consider some of the challenges and problems presented by these methods. We shall then consider a more substantive question, which is whether the world as a whole underwent an ‘early modern period’, and what that might mean. In many ways the most striking exponent of comparative history is Victor Lieberman, so everyone should make an effort consider his work – but don’t feel that you have to master Lieberman at this stage, as it may well take time for his arguments and approach to make sense. Subrahmanyam is the most notable exponent of connective history for our period.
Starred items are compulsory.
If you want to know what ‘world history’ is, try Douglas Northrup (ed.), A Companion to World History (Wiley-Blackwell 2012), the Introduction by Northrop and Chapter 1 by Pomeranz and Segal. Or Bentley’s introduction to the Oxford Handbook of World History (2011)
*Victor Lieberman, Strange Parallels. Southeast Asia in Global context c.800-1830. Volume 2: Mainland Mirrors: Europe, Japan, China, South Asia and the Islands. (Cambridge 2009), Chapter 1 (partic, 1-11, 49-122) and Conclusion

OR “Protected Rimlands and Exposed Zones: Reconfiguring Early Modern Eurasia,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 50, 3 (2008): 692-723. (but note that the book is more rewarding)

*Jack Goldstone, “The Problem of the ‘Early Modern’ World,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 41/3 (1998): 249-284, plus perhaps the debate that follows.

Also note this review article: ‘New Patterns in Global History: A Review Essay on Strange Parallels by Victor Lieberman’, Cliodynamics 1 (2010), pp. 92–102.

*S. Subrahmanyam, ‘Connected Histories: Notes Towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia’, in Modern Asian Studies 31: 3 (1997),

And/or Explorations in Connected History, From the Tagus to the Ganges (2005), chap 1.

*J. Bentley, ‘Early Modern Europe and the Early modern World’ in Charles H. Parker and J. Bentley eds. Between the Middle Ages and Modernity (Lanham, 2007).
Alexander Woodside, Lost Modernities: China, Vietnam, Korea, and the hazards of world history (Harvard, 2006).
Charles H Parker, Global Interactions in the Early Modern Age, 1400-1800 (Cambridge 2010),

Randolph Starn, ‘The Early Modern Muddle’ Journal of Early Modern History, Volume 6, Number 3, 2002 , pp. 296-307(12)

Jan de Vries, ‘The Limits of Globalization in the Early Modern World’, Economic History Review, 63, 3 (2010), pp. 710-733.

Alan Strathern, Feature Review Article of ‘Victor Lieberman, Strange Parallels, vol. II’ in Journal of Global History (2012) 7, pp. 129–142
Geoffrey Parker "Crisis and Catastrophe: The Global Crisis of the 17th-Century Reconsidered", American Historical Review, Review Forum: The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century Revisited (Oct 2008, vol 113, issue 4)
David Porter (ed.) Comparative Early Modernities (Palgrave-Macmillan 2012)

Maxine Berg (ed.), Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the Twenty-First

Century (OUP/BritishAcademy, 2013)

Tonio Andrade, “A Chinese Farmer, Two African Boys, and a Warlord: Toward a Global Microhistory”, Journal of World History, 21:4 (2010), pp. 573-591.

(2) The Black Death and European Expansion
With Jamie Belich
Abstract and reading to follow

(3) Modes of Encounter between Early Modern Europe and the Ottoman Empire
With John-Paul Ghobrial (john-paul.ghobrial@history.ox.ac.uk)
This session will encourage you to think critically about the nature of interactions between the Ottoman Empire and Europe in the early modern period. Specifically, this session explores questions of ‘cognition’, that is to say, what did people living on opposite sides of the Mediterranean really know about each other, and how did they know it? Focusing mainly on the seventeenth century, the primary and secondary readings all explore the actual forms of encounter as they took place in practice between Europeans and Ottoman subjects—Christians, Muslims, and Jews. How did the circulation of people, objects, and commodities play a role in connecting Europe and the Middle East? In addition, we will also consider -what ‘encounter’ felt like for those people who never travelled to distant and foreign lands. For most such individuals—the great majority, it must be said—the Islamic world was experienced through the media of the day: a strange assortment of travelogues, newsletter reports, forged manuscripts, gossip from merchants, and even fanciful Arabian tales. Special attention will be given to intermediaries—merchants, dragomans, Eastern Christians, travellers, and other go-betweens—who acted as purveyors of information about faraway lands.
The core readings consist of two pieces of secondary literature, representing two rather different approaches to the study of encounters between Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The remaining readings consist of extracts taken from primary sources, which are intended to give you a window into these debates as well as a feel for the range of sources that one might turn to for the study of encounters. Everyone should complete all of the readings, and anything marked with an asterisk is available from me in PDF format.
Core readings:

  1. B. Lewis, The Muslim discovery of Europe (London, 1982): chap. 4, ‘Media and intermediaries’, pp. 89-133.

  2. *E. Dursteler, ‘An Urban Middle Ground: Venetians and Ottomans’, in his Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity, and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Baltimore, 2006), pp. 151-185.

Primary sources:

  1. *C. Bargellini and A. Welch, eds., The Travels and Journal of Ambrosio Bembo. Berkeley, 2007: chap. 3, “From Aleppo to Basra,” pp. 85-134.

  1. *Selections on captivity, conversion, and travel taken from Nabil Matar, ed., Europe through Arab Eyes, 1578-1727 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009):

    1. Fakhr ad-Din’s journey to Pisa and Florence (1613-1618), pp. 163-186 (original Arabic edition can be consulted in Asad Rustum and Fu’ād Afrām al-Bustānī, Lubnān fī ‘ahd al-amīr Fakhr al-Dīn al-Ma‘nī al-Thānī (1969), pp. 208-224).

    2. Letters from a European renegade in Tunis to the antiquary Peiresc (1633-1635), pp. 186-192.

    3. Letter from a Muslim captive in France to a French minister (1707), pp. 230-232.

    4. Letters of a Moroccan ambassador under house arrest in London (1713), pp. 232-235.

  1. *Selections of European texts on the Ottoman Empire:

    1. The London Gazette (April 9-12, 1688), ‘news from Constantinople’ in a letter from Venice dated April 3 on p. 1.

    2. John Evelyn, account of ‘Padre Ottomano’, in The History of the Three Late Famous Impostors, viz. Padre Ottomano, Mahomed Bei, and Sabatai Sevi (London, 1669), front matter and pp. 1-20.

    3. A True Narrative of the Great Solemnity of the Circumcision of Mustapha, Prince of Turkie…together with an Account of the Marriage of his Daughter to his great Favourite (London: William Crook, 1676), pp. 1-6.

    4. Selections from Letters writ by a Turkish Spy who lived Five and Forty years undiscovered at Paris (London, 1687), front matter and letters I-IV (pp. 1-8).

    5. The True History of Cara Mustapha, late Grand Visier (London, 1685), front matter and pp. 1-4.

(4) Cultural and Architectural Syncretism in Goa
With Mallica Kumbera Landrus (Ashmolean)
N.B. This class will be held in the Ashmolean
In Goa the shifting class, caste, cultural boundaries, political and cultural movements, gave shape to a distinct space in India’s art and architectural history. Visual culture shaped a European authority and an indigenous population whose ideas and values were embodied by architecture in Goa. Although no records regarding early reception of European style churches in Goa have thus far been uncovered, the unique style of temples in the area suggests a trans-cultural identity. This session will explore ecclesiastical architecture built under the Portuguese administration as well as European influences that were inducted into Hindu temple architecture from the late seventeenth century onwards. We will also have the opportunity to look closely and handle objects in the Ashmolean’s collection created for European consumption under Portuguese authority in Asia.
*P.P. Shirdokar, “Socio-Cultural Life in Goa During 16th Century,” in Goa 
and Portugal: their cultural links, Charles J. Borges, Helmut Feldmann
eds. (New Dehli: Ashok Kumar Mittal, 1997), pp. 23-40.


*Paul Axelrod and Michelle A. Fuerch, " Flight of the Deities: Hindu Resistance in Portuguese Goa" in Modern Asian Studies, Volume 30, Issue 2, (Cambridge: May 1996), pp. 387-421.


*Gauvin Alexander Bailey, “Jesuit Art and Architecture in Asia,” in The
Jesuits and the Arts, 1540-1773, John W. O’Malley and Gauvin Alexander
Bailey eds. (Philadelphia: Saint Joseph’s University Press, 2005), pp.
313-332; 349-355.


*Glenn J Ames, "Pedro II and the Estado da India: Braganza Absolutism and Overseas Empire, 1668-1683", in Luso-Brazilian Review, Vol. 34, No.2 (Winter, 1997), pp. 1-13.


Mallica Kumbera Landrus, “Portuguese Goa – Taking Ownership with Architecture,” in Vanamala, ed. Klaus Bruhn and Gerd Mevissen, Wiedler Buchverlag, Berlin, 2006, pp. 97–107. 

Ângela  Barreto Xavier, ‘Power, Religion and Violence in Sixteenth-Century Goa. Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies (2010), 17/18, 27-50. 


Ângela Barreto Xavier, ‘Disquiet on the Island: Conversion, Conflicts and Conformity in Sixteenth-Century Goa’ Indian Economic and Social History Review (2007) Vol. 44, 3, 269-295


Ines G. Zupanov, Missionary Tropics The Catholic Frontier in India (16th-17th Centuries) (Michigan, 2005) OR I. Zupanov, ‘The Prophetic and the Miraculous in Portuguese Asia: A hagiographical view of Colonial Culture’ Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies, 1995


 Partha Mitter, Much Maligned Monsters


Maria de Jesus dos Mártires Lopes, ‘Converts, Protegés and Assimilated Natives: The Advantages of Christianization and the Beliefs of Goan Christians (Eighteenth Century)’, in Disney and Booth (eds.), Vasco da Gama, pp. 220-32. (OUP, 2000)

For those who would like background on the Portuguese expansion
A. R. Disney, A History of Portugal and The Portuguese Empire, Vol. 2, (Cambridge 2009)

Chapter 19: Breakthrough to Maritime Asia, pp. 119-137.

Chapter 20: Empire in the East, pp. 145-165.

Chapter 25: Holding on in India: The Late Seventeeth and

Eighteenth centuries, pp. 299-330.
Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500-1700: A Political and Economic History
Glenn. J. Ames. Renascent Empire? The House of Braganza and the quest for stability in portuguese monsoon asia, ca 1640-83. Amsterdam 2000.

(5) Social and Intellectual Change in Song China (960-1279): The Rise of Neo-Confucianism
With Peter Ditmanson
This session will consider the rise of Neo-Confucianism in Song China and then proceed to consider whether one can make viable comparisons with the later European experience of Renaissance and Reformation (students who are unfamiliar with this period of European history should ask the course leader for some basic readings.
Peter K. Bol, Neo-Confucianism in History. Cambridge, Mass.; London: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Daniel Gardner, Learning to be a Sage: Selections from the Conversations of Master Chu, Arranged Topically. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

Shiba Yoshinobu, Commerce and Society in Sung China. Translated by Mark Elvin.

Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 1970.

Hoyt C. Tillman, Confucian Discourse and Chu Hsi’s Ascendancy. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1992.

Linda A. Walton, Academies and Society in Southern Song China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press 1999.
Supplementary Resource:

The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 5 Part 1, Part One: The Sung Dynasty and Its Precursors, 907–1279, edited by Denis Twitchett and Paul Jakov Smith, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Just one foray into comparison of Europe and China:

Martin Powers: Visualizing the state in Early Modern England and China’ in Porter (ed.) Comparative Early Modernities

(6) Mughal India
With Polly O’Hanlon

(i) Did the success of the Mughal state rest on the common frameworks that it imposed, or on the degree to which it was able to accommodate cultural difference and regional identities?

(ii) How far did Indian political elites share a coherent theory of ‘virtuous government’ in early modern India?

(iii) Is it meaningful to talk about ‘religious community identity’ in early modern India?

(iv)How far does the study of the body and of norms for comportment amplify our understanding of Mughal political culture?

Primary Sources
N.Rao in Pollock (ed.) Forms of Knowledge 2011

History and Theory 46 (2007), Forum Textures of Time
(i) The Mughal Empire and Regional Societies

Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam (eds) The Mughal State 1526-1750 (1998): 1-71.

John Richards, The Mughal Empire, Cambridge University Press (1993): 58-93.

______. Kingship and Authority in South Asia (1998): ch 7, ‘Rajput Loyalties during the Mughal Period’

*Catherine B. Asher and Cynthia Talbot India Before Europe (2006) chs 6 and 8.

Richard Eaton, A social history of the Deccan, 1300-1761: eight Indian lives (2005): chs 4-5.

______. India's Islamic traditions, 711-1750 (2003): 1-36 (Introduction).

Stewart Gordon, ‘Zones of Military Entrepreneurship in India’ in Stewart Gordon, Marathas, Marauders and State Formation in Eighteenth Century India, 1500-1700 (1994): 182-208.

______. The Marathas 1600-1818 (1993), chs 2-3, 38-90
James Caron ‘Non-Empires of Pashto Verse, 1550-1800’ –this will be provided in by Dr. Perkins

(ii) Political thought and intellectual cultures

*CA Bayly, Origins of Nationality in South Asia: Patriotism and Ethical Government in the Making of Modern India (1998): 11-30.

Kum Kum Chatterjee, ‘History as self-representation: the recasting of a political tradition in late eighteenth century eastern India’, in Modern Asian Studies, 32, 4, (1998)

Sheldon Pollock, The Ends of Man at the End of Pre-Modernity (2005) ‘Artha: Rajadharmasastra and the End of Political Theory’: 63-78

Muzaffar Alam, The Languages of Political Islam. India 1200-1800. (2004), ch. 2: ‘Sharia, Akhlaq and Governance’, 26-80.

Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘The Making of a Munshi’ in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 24.2.(2004): 61-72.

SAA Rizvi, Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar’s Reign (1975): ch. 9: ‘Religious and political thinking of Abu’l Fazl’: 339-372

V. Narayana Rao and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘Notes on political thought in medieval and early Modern South India’ in Modern Asian Studies, vol. 43, Part 1, January 2009.

(iii) Religious relations and identities

*CA Bayly, ‘The Pre-history of “Communalism”? Religious conflict in India, 1700-1860’, in Origins of Nationality in South Asia: Patriotism and Ethical government in the Making of Modern India. (1998): 210-37

Cynthia Talbot, ‘Inscribing the Self, Inscribing the Other: Hindu-Muslim Identities in Pre-Colonial India’ in Richard M. Eaton. India's Islamic traditions, 711-1750. (2003): 84-117

Richard M. Eaton. India's Islamic traditions, 711-1750. (2003): Introduction, 1-36.

______. ‘Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States’ in David Gilmartin and Bruce Lawrence (eds), Beyond Turk and Hindu: rethinking religious identities in Islamicate South Asia (2000): ch. 10: 246-81.

Eleanor Zelliot, ‘A Medieval Encounter Between Hindu and Muslim: Eknath’s Drama-Poem, Hindu-Turk Samvad’ in Richard M. Eaton. India's Islamic traditions, 711-1750. (2003): 64-82

Stewart Gordon, ‘Maratha Patronage of Muslim Institutions in Burhanpur and Khandesh’ in Richard M. Eaton. India's Islamic traditions, 711-1750. (2003): 327-338.

SAA Rizvi, Shah Wali-Allah and His Times: A study of Eighteenth Century Islam, Politics and Society in India (1980) ch. 6: The political and social thought of Shah Wali-allah’ pp. 286-316.

Muzaffar Alam, ‘The Mughals, the Sufi Shaikhs and the formation of the Akbari Dispensation’ in Modern Asian Studies, vol. 43, Part 1, January 2009.

Ahmed Azfar Moin The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam

(1400-1700), (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012,

OR (essentially a review article of the latter), Alan Strathern, ‘Drawing the veil of

sovereignty: early modern Islamic empires and understanding sacred kingship’, in History

and Theory (February 2014)

(iv) Gender, household and social norms

Ruby Lal, Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World (2005) ch 6.

*Rosalind O’Hanlon, ‘Kingdom, household and body: history, gender and imperial service under Akbar’, Modern Asian Studies (2007): 887-922

______. ‘Manliness and Imperial Service in Mughal North India’ in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 42, 1, 1999.

JF Richard, 'Norms of Comportment among Imperial Mughal Officers' in Barbara Daly Metcalf (ed.), Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of Adab in South Asian Islam (1984).

(7) The Comanches and reversed colonialism
With Pekka Hämäläinen
*Pekka Hämäläinen, The Comanche Empire (New Haven, 2008)

* "The Politics of Grass: European Expansion, Ecological Change, and Indigenous Power in the Southwest Borderlands," William and Mary Quarterly 67 (April 2010), 173–208

forthcoming History and Theory book forum on The Comanche Empire.  

(8) Global Millenarianism
With Howard Hotson
This final topic will bring home the significance of millenarian ideas and movements, and their impact on politics as they circulated and flourished in Europe, the Islamic world, and East Asia. It is a perfect arena in which to test both comparative and connective historical approaches.
* Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘Sixteenth-century Millenarianism from the Tagus to the Ganges’, chapter 5 in Subrahmanyam, Explorations in Connected History: from the Tagus to the Ganges (Oxford 2005).

And see the debate that ensues here:

Francisco Bethencourt, ‘Le millénarisme : idéologie de l'impérialisme eurasiatique?’ and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘Ceci n'est pas un débat...’ in Annales 2002
* Ahmed Azfar Moin, The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam (1400-1700) (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012).

OR ‘Challenging the Mughal Emperor: The Islamic Millennium according to 'Abd al-Qadir

Badayuni’ in Barbara D. Metcalf (ed.), Islam in South Asia in Practice (Princeton, 2012)

*Howard Hotson, ‘Anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism, Apocalypticism and Millenarianism in Early Modern Europe: A Case Study and some Methodological Reflections’, in Alistair Chapman and John D. Coffey (eds.), Seeing Things Their Way: Intellectual History and Religious Belief, in press (planned for early 2009)

*Thomas David DuBois Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia (CUP, 2011), chapter 6 , ‘Apocalypse now’

Serge Gruzinski, What Time is it there (2011)

Cornell Fleischer, “Shadows of Shadows: Prophecy in Politics in 1530s’ Istanbul,” in Identity and Identity Formation in the Ottoman World, A Volume of Essays in Honor of Norman Itzkowitz, Edited by Baki Tezcan and Karl K. Barbir (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

OR Robert Finlay, “Prophecy and Politics in Istanbul: Charles V, Sultan Süleyman, and the Habsburg Embassy of 1533-1534,” Journal of Early Modern History 2:1 (1998): 1-31.

David W. Pankenier ‘The Planetary Portent of 1524 in China and Europe Journal of World History, 20 (2009), pp. 339-75.

Richard Landes, Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience (OUP, 2011)

Alan Strathern

Oxford 2014

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