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.
Ang Cheng Guan
This chapter examines the history of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. It explains that the onset of the Cold War coincided with nationalist struggles and decolonization, and explains why Southeast Asians should appreciate that the Cold War is a historical event which has significantly affected the development of their countries, particularly in terms of the role of the Cold War in shaping the political development of the nation-states and interstate relations in the region, and the growing interest in rewriting the history of the Cold War.
This chapter examines the root motives behind the Soviet struggle against the West and the paradigm of Soviet international behavior related to the Cold War. It suggests that decolonization contributed to the Cold War because the decline of European colonial empires in the 1950s created irresistible temptations for Soviet leaders to intervene in parts of the globe previously beyond their reach. The chapter also suggests that the Soviet Cold War consensus began to crumble when the key tenets of the revolutionary-imperial paradigm became suspect in the 1960s and 1970s. These tenets held that the West was determined to destroy the Soviet Union and its “socialist empire” by force.
Scott C. Levi
While it may seem counterintuitive, the increase in Mughal India’s maritime trade contributed to a tightening of overland commercial connections with its Asian neighbors. The primary agents in this process were “Multanis,” members of any number of heavily capitalized, caste-based family firms centered in the northwest Indian region of Multan. The Multani firms had earlier developed an integrated commercial system that extended across the Punjab, Sind, and much of northern India. In the middle of the sixteenth century, Multanis first appear in historical sources as having established their own communities in Central Asia and Iran. By the middle of the seventeenth century, at any given point in time, a rotating population of some 35,000 Indian merchants orchestrated a network of communities that extended across dozens, if not hundreds, of cities and villages in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Iran, stretching up the Caucasus and into Russia.
Yang Kuisong and Stephen A. Smith
The article examines the rise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from its foundation in the May Fourth Movement, through the first and second united fronts with the Guomindang to victory following the Sino-Japanese War in 1945. It examines land reform and the campaigns against counter-revolutionaries and the attempt of Mao Zedong to leap into communism through the Great Leap Forward. It shows how Mao concluded from the ‘revisionism’ in the Soviet Union that advance from ‘undeveloped’ to ‘developed’ socialism depends on continuous class struggle against those who would take the capitalist road. The postscript traces China’s rise to the world’s second largest economic power, via policies of export-led and investment- led growth initiated by Deng Xiaoping. It shows that this has bought unprecedented prosperity but also unprecedented inequality. It concludes that rising social conflict does not at present threaten the stability of the CCP.
In South East Asia the Marxist message came primarily to address issues of nation-building. The article traces the development of communist parties from their early diasporic networks and engagement with the Comintern, to their relations with the colonial powers, to the establishment of communist-ruled states after the Second World War, through to the Cold War and US efforts to contain communism. The article looks at the various forms that communism took in the region, from hybrid Chinese associations in British Malaya and Hồ Chí Minh’s Indochina network, to the constitutional party of Sukarno’s Indonesia, to the semi-Buddhist Burmese Way to Socialism of Ne Win, to the neo-dynastic communism of Pol Pot. Special attention is paid to the interplay between nationalism, internationalism, and communism.
Exploring how the field of Asian American studies might transform the study of race in U.S. history more generally, this essay suggests the need to critique themes at the heart of American exceptionalism: immigration and assimilation or racial exclusion and national inclusion. By exposing the violence enacted and justified by the U.S. state and the inherently relational logic of racial formations, it argues, Asian American studies has the capacity to disrupt predominant narratives of national redemption to reveal a broader history of struggles over race, empire, and social justice. In particular, this essay highlights recent studies that have attempted to move beyond binary frames (black-white, Asian-white, loyal vs. disloyal) in the study of race.
In China, the politicization of consumption at the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century became a key way in which intellectuals and politicians defined, and the general population experienced, nationalism. In China and worldwide, consumption has served as a battleground in the creation of the modern nation. This article traces the changing manifestations of these historical connections between consumption and nationalism across modern Chinese history up to the present, focusing on the most conspicuous form of economic nationalism in the twentieth century, boycotts, as well as a newer form, brand nationalism. A more subtle mode of linking consumerism to nationalism in the early twentieth century was an interlocking set of nationalistic commodity spectacles that included modern imaged-based advertising, museums, department stores, and exhibitions, all of which articulated and propagated this link through a nationalistic visuality. China also showed an obsession with creating national brands, a consequence of which is the increasing standardization of brands across the nation, a foundational element of a national consciousness through consumerism.
The experience of people in Japan offers a rich body of evidence for a comparative and global study of consumption from early modern, through modern times, and to the postmodern period. One finds ample grist for the mill of economic historians seeking to measure the extent and the shifts in consumption of all manner of goods and services. One also finds sources in abundance from the seventeenth century onwards speaking to the politics and culture of regulating, lamenting, and celebrating consumption. Building on early modern foundations, consumption expanded in the era of self-conscious modernization that followed the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate (1868), with a turn to new goods alongside more widespread use of customary ones. As this happened, attitudes in Japan evolved as part of a global dialogue on consumer life. This article explores consumption, consumerism, modernity, and the post-war ascendance of consumers in Japan.
Culture served communist-ruled states by presenting a vision of nations and peoples in transition from a dark and oppressive past into the projected bright future of communism. National and party leaders followed Lenin in ascribing great importance to the persuasive powers of the arts and insisting on their incorporation into the machinery of government. Artists creating works of literature, film, and the performing and visual arts according to the official doctrine of socialist realism presented images of new socialist persons overcoming difficulties and accomplishing tasks to instruct and entertain their audiences. While they might enjoy the benefits of state patronage, artists also risked condemnation and punishment if their works displeased the ruling party and its leadership. The arts of socialism have largely lost their political function and are now viewed as nostalgic memorabilia or kitsch.
“Marwari” stands for people hailing from a region in western India known as Marwar. In common parlance, the term refers to merchants and bankers from this region speaking the language spoken there and living elsewhere. Marwaris left this region and resettled in other parts of India and abroad from at least the eighteenth century. The article explores the Marwari diaspora. Although many Marwaris engaged in trade, banking, and occasionally manufacture, the group was socially and occupationally diverse. After liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s, some Marwari individuals have made successful use of new investment opportunities from a business base that had been created before the economy opened up, but, overall, the group has experienced the same pattern of “creative destruction” as have other business communities. In small towns, Marwaris have almost seamlessly assimilated with local society. In big business, the companies they own define the character of the business more than ethnic identity.