An Archive of “Political Trouble in India”: History-Writing, Anticolonial Violence, and Colonial Counterinsurgency, 1905–1937
At the turn of the twentieth century, a campaign of terrorism emerged across India to overthrow British rule. This revolutionary terrorist movement was propelled by three modern practices—terrorism, the establishment of intelligence organizations, and history-writing—as they produced an archive of “political trouble in India.” While historical reports produced by British intelligence officials legitimized the growth of emergency legislation, histories produced by the revolutionary terrorists undermined the liberal imaginary and chronology of British colonialism, arguing that India would gain its independence through radical and revolutionary politics rather than nonviolent protest and constitutional reform. In the postcolonial period, this archive of political trouble has been reprinted, revived, and transformed from a set of documents about colonial counterinsurgency into an archive about an anticolonial movement that was based on political violence and revolutionary terrorism.
R. Bin Wong
Many of early modern Europe’s connections to Asia were commercial in nature, in contrast to the colonial relations forged by Europeans in the Americas. This chapter considers the ways in which the connections that Europe had with Asia and the Americas provide a context for comparing the early modern political economies of China and Europe. Similarities and differences highlighted by this exercise help make clear both the dynamics of economic change common within both world regions as well as the character of their connections, illustrating important differences between them. The intellectual limitations of identifying historical parallels according to traits first observed in Europe is suggested by noting features of early modern Chinese political rule that are not observed in Europe until a later historical era. These topics illustrate various ways in which comparisons and connections to other world regions helps to place early modern Europe in a global history perspective.
Prods Oktor Skjærvø
The Avestan language present in the area stretching from the Aral Sea to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan and southeast of the Caspian Sea was in circulation between the second and first millennium
Nancy S. Steinhardt
This article examines China's oldest cities from the earliest evidence of urbanism until the country's reunification under the Sui dynasty (589–618). Covering a period of six millennia, the discussion is divided into five periods based on technological or political developments: Pre-Bronze Age, Bronze Age, Warring States, First Empires, and Period of Disunion. It shows that by the mid-third millennium
China and the “Anarchist Wave of Assassinations”: Politics, Violence, and Modernity in East Asia around the Turn of the Twentieth Century
This chapter discusses the reception of what David Rapoport has called the “anarchist wave of assassinations” as the first wave of global terrorism in East Asia at the turn of the twentieth century. It shows how the terms “terrorism” and “anarchism” were translated into East Asian languages; how the practice of assassinations relates to indigenous traditions of political violence; and in which sense one can speak of “modernity” in the Chinese assassination attempts undertaken. What interested the radicals receiving European models most was the perceived “new” strategy of systematic assassination campaigns as lived out by the Russian Narodnaya Volya, and its potential for “new” groups of people to join political violence, namely women. This strategy was attractive for a time to many kinds of ideological commitments, but especially to the Chinese Nationalists. Thus, this chapter calls into question the definition of the “first wave” in Rapoport’s “four wave concept” as “anarchist.”
This chapter examines the role of China in the Cold War. It describes the origins of Cold War in China and the participation of nationalist China in World War 2 and the Cold War, and suggests that China played a pivotal role as the third (albeit shorter) leg of a cold war tripod. The chapter contends that the Cold War era in China is inseparable from the political supremacy Mao Zedong, and highlights the impact of the split between China and the Soviet Union on the role of China in the Cold War. It also argues that the 1972 Sino-United States rapprochement contributed to the fading of China from the Cold War narrative.
William T. Rowe
By 1300 China hosted several of the largest cities in the world, and was arguably the world's most urbanized society. These cities did not enjoy nor had they explicitly sought ‘autonomy’ from encompassing political regimes, but they did enjoy a modest amount of practical communal self-management. This article focuses on China's urban history under the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) empires, which continued these developments. The commercialization of the countryside contributed to ongoing urbanization, especially at the lower end of the urban hierarchy, with the proliferation and growth of market towns. The intensification of internal diasporas of local-origin groups involved in long-distance domestic trade led to more cosmopolitan urban populations, and contributed to innovations in urban culture. The increasingly complex urban societies and economies led to a massive wave of both private and quasi-public association building, greatly enhancing urbanites' capacity for self-management, and ultimately contributing to the perceived irrelevance of the imperial state.
This article chronicles changes in Chinese urban life and in the political and economic environments that shaped the urban system in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The first section discusses urban administrative reforms and technological transformations set in motion in the Qing dynasty's final decade and urban development in the chaotic years after the Qing collapse in 1911. The second section examines the new era of Soviet-influenced urbanism that began with the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The final section surveys city life in the post-Mao period of ‘reform and opening’ since 1978.
Hilde De Weerdt
This article first examines the new criteria by which medieval Chinese cities came to be defined and then traces this redefinition back to the commercialization of local and regional economies. It outlines the expansion and diversification of urban society that accompanied economic and demographic growth and then turns to the transformation of urban space, one of the most visible markers of the adaptation of state power to urban life. It shows that the various types of cities (capital, maritime, garrison, and provincial) supported the administrative structure of the empire. They did so, however, not because they were replicas of the ideal imperial city, but because the interaction of central and local governments and diverse social groups resulted in socio-economic changes and the expansion of cultural production in and about the city that allowed for both urban specificity and empire-wide integration.
Vivienne Lo and Michael Stanley-Baker
This article leans towards practice-orientated accounts. The historical enterprise dignifies itself with the idea that it is possible to share something of the sensory and perceptive style of the originators of early Chinese healing practices to deepen our appreciation of their textual legacies. Indeed the ethnic and cultural boundaries of China itself are contested. This article discusses some observations about how the sensory modalities of Chinese medical thought speak powerfully to a modern global audience who frequently feel their own individual experience of health and sickness devalued in the processes of modern standardized medicine. With these methodological tools at our disposal, the door also opens into a rich inter regional cultural and material history, and a narrative not only concerned with internal ‘Chinese’ genealogical developments but also ready to tackle the transitions, transformations, and transmissions that happen to medical knowledge as it is exchanged between different peoples across physical domains as well as down through generations of healers.