New publications

 Nile Green, Bombay Islam. The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840–1915, Cambridge University Press, 2013, 344 p.

9781107627796As a thriving port city, nineteenth-century Bombay attracted migrants from across India and beyond. Nile Green’s Bombay Islam traces the ties between industrialization, imperialism, and the production of religion to show how Muslim migration from the oceanic and continental hinterlands of Bombay in this period fueled demand for a wide range of religious suppliers, as Christian missionaries competed with Muslim religious entrepreneurs for a stake in the new market. Enabled by a colonial policy of non-intervention in religious affairs, and powered by steam travel and vernacular printing, Bombay’s Islamic productions were exported as far as South Africa and Iran. Connecting histories of religion, labour, and globalization, the book examines the role of ordinary people – mill hands and merchants – in shaping the demand that drove the market. By drawing on hagiographies, travelogues, doctrinal works, and poems in Persian, Urdu, and Arabic, Bombay Islam unravels a vernacular modernity that saw people from across the Indian Ocean drawn into Bombay’s industrial economy of enchantment.

More information on CUP online

Daniel Marston, The Indian Army and the End of the Raj, Cambridge UNiversity Press, 2014, 397 p. 

9780521899758The Partition of British India in 1947 resulted in the establishment of the independent states of India and Pakistan and the end of the British Raj. The decision to divide British India along religious lines led to widespread upheaval and communal violence in the period leading up to and following the official day of independence, 15 August 1947. In this book, Daniel Marston provides a unique examination of the role of the Indian army in post-World War II India. He draws upon extensive research into primary source documents and interviews with veterans of the events of 1947 to provide fresh insight into the vital part that the Indian Army played in preserving law and order in the region. This rigorous book fills a significant gap in the historiography of the British in India and will be invaluable to those studying the British Empire and South Asia more generally.

More information on CUP online

Min Ye, Diasporas and Foreign Direct Investment in China and India, Cambridge University Press, 2014

9781107054196This book offers a comparative and historical analysis of foreign direct investment (FDI) liberalization in China and India and explains how the return of these countries’ diasporas affects such liberalization. It examines diasporic investment from Western FDIs and finds that diasporas, rather than Western nations, have fueled globalization in the two Asian giants. In China, diasporas contributed the lion’s share of FDI inflows. In India, returned diasporas were bridges for, and initiators of, Western investment at home. Min Ye illustrates that diasporic entrepreneurs helped to build China into the world’s manufacturing powerhouse and that Indian diasporas facilitated their homeland’s success in software services development.

More information on CUP online

Lucy Eldersveld Murphy, Great Lakes Creoles. A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750–1860, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 326 p

9781107052864A case study of one of America’s many multi-ethnic border communities, Great Lakes Creoles builds upon recent research on gender, race, ethnicity, and politics as it examines the ways that the old fur trade families experienced and responded to the colonialism of United States expansion. Lucy Murphy examines Indian history with attention to the pluralistic nature of American communities and the ways that power, gender, race, and ethnicity were contested and negotiated in them. She explores the role of women as mediators shaping key social, economic, and political systems, as well as the creation of civil political institutions and the ways that men of many backgrounds participated in and influenced them. Ultimately, The Great Lakes Creoles takes a careful look at Native people and their complex families as active members of an American community in the Great Lakes region.

More information on CUP online

[Book] Fighting for Living

fighting-for-a-living-Fighting for a Living. A Comparative History of Military Labour 1500-2000, Erik-Jan Zürcher, ed., Amsterdam University Press 2013. 688 pp.

Historians have long overlooked the labour involved in soldiering. With the publication of Fighting for a Living, the world of military workers is brought to the forefront of scholarly inquiry.

This new publication investigates the circumstances that have produced starkly different systems of recruiting and employing soldiers in different parts of the globe over the last 500 years, on the basis of case studies from Europe, Africa, America, the Middle East and Asia.
The twenty contributions to this volume undertake a systematic comparative analysis of military labour, addressing two distinct, and normally quite separate, communities: labour historians and military historians.
Fighting for a Living is the first volume of IISH’s new book series: Work around the Globe: Historical Comparisons and Connections, published by Amsterdam University Press.For optimal availability for readers all over the world, volumes in this series are published online in open access.

It is also included in the pilot project of Knowledge Unlatched, a collaborate initiative enabling open access books, helping stakeholders to work together for a sustainable open future for specialist scholarly books. This includes free access for end users, to ensure optimal availability for readers all over the world.

Starvation and the State

2014-02-06_StevenSerels_poster_webNew Book in the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies : Starvation and the State: Famine, Slavery, and Power in Sudan, 1883-1956, by Steven Serels

For much of its recent history, Sudan has been beset by devastating famines that have killed countless people and powerfully reshaped its society. However, as this historical study of food insecurity in the region shows, there was no necessary correlation between natural disasters, decreased crop yields, and famine in Sudan. Rather, repeated food crises since the late nineteenth century were the result of inter-generational, exploitative processes that transferred the resources of victim communities to the state and to a small group of non-state elites. This dynamic fundamentally transformed the social, political, and economic structures underpinning Sudanese society and prevented many communities from securing necessary subsistence. On one hand, food crises facilitated the British-led conquest of Sudan and subsequently allowed British imperial agents, acting through the Anglo-Egyptian government, to seize control of many of Sudan’s natural resources. At the same time, however, a number of indigenous elites were also able to position themselves so as to further augment their prestige and economic wealth. At independence, these elites were handed control of the state and, in the years that followed, they continued many of the policies that had impoverished their countrymen.

Steven Serels is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University, USA. He is also a Research Associate at the Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, Canada.

Announcing “The Indian Ocean in World History”

9780195337877Edward A. Alpers, The Indian Ocean in World History, Oxford University Press, 2013, 184 p.

A new volume in the New Oxford World History

The New Oxford World History is an innovative series that offers readers an informed, lively, and up-to-date history of the world and its people, representing a significant change from the “old” world history. “New” world history emphasizes connectedness and interactions of all kinds – cultural, economic, political, religious, and social – involving peoples, places, and processes. Each volume in this series is written by a leading authority and explores not only political events, but also social, cultural, and economic trends, and it highlights global interactions and the intersection of the global and the local.

Announcing “Britain’s Oceanic Empire, Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds, c.1550–1850”

9781107020146H. V. Bowen, Elizabeth Mancke, John G. Reid (eds.), Britain’s Oceanic Empire, Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds, c.1550–1850, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 486 p.

“DescriptionContentsResourcesAbout the Authors
This pioneering comparative study of British imperialism in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds draws on the perspectives of British newcomers overseas and their native hosts, of metropolitan officials and corporate enterprises, migrants and settlers. Leading scholars examine the divergences and commonalities in the legal and economic regimes that allowed Britain to project imperium across the globe. They explore the nature of sovereignty and law, governance and regulation, diplomacy, military relations and commerce, shedding new light on the processes of expansion that influenced the making of empire. While acknowledging the distinctions and divergences in imperial endeavours in Asia and the Americas – not least in terms of the size of indigenous populations, technical and cultural differences, and approaches to indigenous polities – this book argues that these differences must be seen in the context of what Britons overseas shared, including constitutional principles, claims of sovereignty, disciplinary regimes and military attitudes.”

Presentation on the publisher’s webpage

India’s Unfree Workforce: Of Bondage Old and New

Jan Breman, Isabelle Guérin and Aseem Prakash (Editors), India’s Unfree Workforce: Of Bondage Old and New, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, 392 p.

518AgOsVlFL._SY300_This volume makes a distinction between agrarian bondage as it existed in the past and the contemporary practices of bondage in various branches of the economy. It suggests that the analysis for bonded labour cannot be disassociated from a broader analysis related to the whole landscape of labour. The emergence of neo-bondage is strongly connected to the reinforcement of the informalization of labour relationships as well as the intensification of circulation and labour migration. Neo-bondage is strongly connected to the increased monetization of commodity exchanges and of social relationships, as well as the development of mass consumption. The authors do not accept the proposition that labour bondage is likely to disappear when economic growth is sustained at its current rate.

Readings on the Chinese “Divergence” and labour in China

Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy

  • “The Great Divergence brings new insight to one of the classic questions of history: Why did sustained industrial growth begin in Northwest Europe, despite surprising similarities between advanced areas of Europe and East Asia? As Ken Pomeranz shows, as recently as 1750, parallels between these two parts of the world were very high in life expectancy, consumption, product and factor markets, and the strategies of households. Perhaps most surprisingly, Pomeranz demonstrates that the Chinese and Japanese cores were no worse off ecologically than Western Europe. Core areas throughout the eighteenth-century Old World faced comparable local shortages of land-intensive products, shortages that were only partly resolved by trade. Pomeranz argues that Europe’s nineteenth-century divergence from the Old World owes much to the fortunate location of coal, which substituted for timber. This made Europe’s failure to use its land intensively much less of a problem, while allowing growth in energy-intensive industries. Another crucial difference that he notes has to do with trade. Fortuitous global conjunctures made the Americas a greater source of needed primary products for Europe than any Asian periphery. This allowed Northwest Europe to grow dramatically in population, specialize further in manufactures, and remove labor from the land, using increased imports rather than maximizing yields. Together, coal and the New World allowed Europe to grow along resource-intensive, labor-saving paths. Meanwhile, Asia hit a cul-de-sac. Although the East Asian hinterlands boomed after 1750, both in population and in manufacturing, this growth prevented these peripheral regions from exporting vital resources to the cloth-producing Yangzi Delta. As a result, growth in the core of East Asia’s economy essentially stopped, and what growth did exist was forced along labor-intensive, resource-saving paths–paths Europe could have been forced down, too, had it not been for favorable resource stocks from underground and overseas.”

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal & Bin R. Wong : Before and Beyond Divergence. The Politics of Economic Change in China and Europe

  • “China has reemerged as a powerhouse in the global economy, reviving a classic question in economic history: why did sustained economic growth arise in Europe rather than in China? Many favor cultural and environmental explanations of the nineteenth-century economic divergence between Europe and the rest of the world. This book, the product of over twenty years of research, takes a sharply different tack. It argues that political differences which crystallized well before 1800 were responsible both for China’s early and more recent prosperity and for Europe’s difficulties after the fall of the Roman Empire and during early industrialization. Rosenthal and Wong show that relative prices matter to how economies evolve; institutions can have a large effect on relative prices; and the spatial scale of polities can affect the choices of institutions in the long run. Their historical perspective on institutional change has surprising implications for understanding modern transformations in China and Europe and for future expectations. It also yields insights in comparative economic history, essential to any larger social science account of modern world history.”

Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2011, 290 p.

Philip T. Hoffman : “Why was it Europeans that conquered the World?”

  • “By the 1700s Europeans dominated the gunpowder technology, which was surprising, because it had originated in China and been used with expertise throughout Eurasia. To account for their dominance, historians have invoked competition, but it cannot explain why they pushed this technology further than anyone else. The answer lies with a simple tournament model of military competition that allows for learning by doing. Political incentives and military conditions then explain why the rest of Eurasia fell behind Europeans in developing the gunpowder technology. The consequences were huge, from colonialism to the slave trade and even the Industrial Revolution.”

The Journal of Economic History / Volume 72 / Issue 03 / September 2012, pp 601-633

Draft (?) can be downloaded from here.

Complementary readings:

  • Allen, Robert, “The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War”, Explorations in Economic History, 2001, 38: 411–447
  • Allen, Robert, “Agricultural productivity and rural incomes in England and the Yangtze Delta, c.1620–c.1820”, The Economic History Review, 2009, 62 (3): p. 525–550
  • Brenner, Robert & Isett, Christopher, “England’s Divergence from China’s Yangzi Delta: Property Relations, Microeconomics, and Patterns of Development”, The Journal of Asian Studies, 2002, 61 (2): p. 609–662
  • Broadberry, Stephen & Gupta, Bishnupriya, “Cotton textiles and the great divergence: Lancashire, India and shifting competitive advantage, 1600–1850”, International Macroeconomics and Economic History Initiative, 2005
  • Deng, Kent, “A Critical Survey of Recent Research in Economic History”, Economic History Review, 2000, 53. 1, p. 1-28 [downloadable]
  • Elvin, Mark, The Pattern of the Chinese Past, Stanford University Press, 1973
  • Feuerwerker, Albert, “Chinese Economic History in Comparative Perspective”, in Paul Ropp, Heritage of China, University of California Press, 1990, p. 224–241
  • He Zhaohui, “Ming China in the Global Context: New Trends in Ming Studies in Mainland China”, Ming Studies, Number 54, Fall , pp. 8-15(8) [Link]
  • Landes, David, “Why Europe and the West? Why Not China?”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2006, 20 (2), p. 3–22
  • Ma Debin and Jan Luiten van Zanden, Law and Long-Term Economic Change. A Eurasian Perspective, Stanford University Press, 2011, 376 p.
  • Paul S. Ropp, China in World History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, 208 p.

Further readings on China Labour history:

Bibliographies on Ming-Qing China (1368-1911) history online:

  • “Ming Qing shehui jingji shi” 明清社會經濟史專題. Professor Victor (Pengsheng) Chiu 邱澎生 from the Chinese University of Hong-Kong has published a detailed bibliography of major studies on late imperial China society and economy. It constitutes an essentiel access point to studies published in Chinese language. Access here.
  • Marilyn Shea, University of Maine at Farmington, proposes a complete bibliography for Chinese studies that notably includes a section on Economics in Chinese History.
  • The Internet Guide for Chinese Studies (Sinological Institute, Leiden University, Netherlands) has been for long now one of the best access point to resources to Chinese History. It can be accessed here. Subcategories include links to resources on China’s Economy, Society and bibliographies.
  • Also have a look at Professor Leif Littrup’s (University of Copenhagen) Reference Works for Chinese Studies.
  • Chinese readers will also want to follow the reference journal presenting Trends in Chinese History Studies (Zhongguo shi yanjiu dongtai 中國史研究動態) published by the Center for Historical Research of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Bâtisseurs d’empires, Russie, Chine et Inde à la croisée des mondes, XVème-XIXème siècle

Bâtisseurs d’empires, Russie, Chine et Inde à la croisée des mondes, XVème-XIXème siècle

Par Alessandro Stanziani. Paris : Raison d’agir, 2012

batisMLa bataille d’Ulan Butong en 1690 oppose dix mille Zhungars (trente mille suivant d’autres sources) à deux armées Mandchous (soit cinq mille hommes) ; le siège de Gingee par les Moghols implique environ 40000 soldats, des dizaines de milliers de chevaux et de dromadaires et des centaines d’éléphants. Ces affrontements ont lieu à des centaines, parfois des milliers de kilomètres des villes et des pâturages. Dans les steppes d’Asie centrale autant qu’en Inde, l’alimentation des chevaux et des hommes est tout aussi importante que la qualité des sabres. D’où venaient donc les approvisionnements nécessaires ? Les steppes ne sont-elles pas synonyme de territoire désertiques et de populations nomades ? Et l’Inde que nous décrivons toujours surpeuplée et sous-alimentée où trouvait-elle, en 1690, ces immenses ressources ?
Le point de départ et le fil rouge de cet ouvrage est donc tout simple : l’approvisionnement des armées dans les steppes et lors des sièges dans des régions périphériques. De quelle manière les Russes, les Chinois et les Moghols ont, chacun à sa manière, réglé ce problème ? Dans l’édification des Empires eurasiatiques, la lutte pour les chevaux est impitoyable. Chinois, russes et Moghols vont s’affronter entre eux et avec les peuples des steppes, les éleveurs mongols. Qui parmi les Chinois, les Russes et les Moghols aura mieux réussi dans ces opérations et pour quelles raisons ?
Au-delà, l’organisation militaire exige une discipline, une administration fiscale et un système de recrutement. Ce dernier peut avoir comme cible des mercenaires, des élites guerrières, des cavaliers nobles, des soldats paysans. En Inde des guerriers ascètes combattent à côté de paysans affamés et des cavaliers Rajputs ; dans les steppes d’Asie centrale, les cosaques déferlent à côté des Nogays, véritables nomades et de paysans russes cachés derrière les fortifications en bois ; en Chine enfin, ou plutôt dans sa partie nord-occidentale ; des paysans han, des criminels ordinaires et des guerriers mandchous organisés en bannières sont confrontés aux hordes Zunghars (mongoles oirats). Tous doivent être rémunérés alors même que leur emploi détourne des ressources monétaires, alimentaires et des bras d’autres occupations. Tout l’équilibre social est concerné. Les formes du recrutement et de la gestion des soldats, leurs équipements et approvisionnements s’ancrent dans le tissu social, dans les formes des institutions politiques et, bien entendu, dépendent de l’accès aux ressources disponibles. Les relations entre paysans, seigneurs, soldats et administration règlent cette architecture complexe.
Et le sort de ces trois empires immenses, les systèmes socio-économiques sur lesquels ils reposent, ne sont pas anecdotiques ; ce sont eux qui dominent le monde à une époque où personne n’aurait misé sur la suprématie mondiale de l’Europe. Jusqu’en 1789, quand l’Angleterre vient juste d’occuper le Bengale, l’Asie a encore de l’avance. Pourtant, un siècle plus tard, cette hiérarchie aura été complètement bouleversée ; l’Occident domine la planète. Alessandro Stanziani, auteur majeur du changement de perspective propre à l’histoire globale, explique dans ce livre ce prodigieux retournement, qu’a oublié l’histoire racontée par ceux qui connaissent la suite de l’histoire. Cette hiérarchie a été bouleversée, mais pour combien de temps ?

Couleurs de l’esclavage sur les deux rives de la méditerranée (Moyen-âge – XXè siècle)

Par Roger Botte et Alessandro Stella, Paris : Karthala, 2012

couleurs-de-l-esclavage-sur-les-deux-rives-de-la-mediterranee-moyen-age-xxe-siecleSi l’esclavage des Noirs présente une indéniable spécificité, il est tout aussi évident que l’institution esclavagiste a été aussi complexe et variée que la polychromie des phénotypes humains. Sans remonter à l’Antiquité gréco-romaine, l’espace méditerranéen, avant, pendant et après la traite transatlantique des Africains est un observatoire de choix sur la fabrique d’esclaves. D’une rive à l’autre de la Méditerranée, nous pouvons observer la coexistence d’esclaves de différentes couleurs, origines, religions. À côté d’Africains arrivés par les traites transsaharienne et atlantique, les marchés d’esclaves se nourrissaient de Slaves, Caucasiens et autres Orientaux, pendant que les clivages religieux alimentaient et justifiaient la capture et la mise en esclavage aussi bien de musulmans que de chrétiens et de païens. Le même statut d’esclave était appliqué à des individus qui, tout en partageant la domination servile, était souvent, de par leur origine ethnique, leur sexe, leur âge, leur apparence physique et leurs supposées qualités, destinés à des tâches diverses. De Byzance au monde ottoman, de l’Europe chrétienne aux terres d’islam, la désignation des esclaves empruntait une large palette de nuances, la couleur se révélant pour ce qu’elle est : une vision subjective du contraste. C’est cet esclavage multiforme que tentent de dépeindre les textes ici réunis.

Plus de détails ici.

International Review of Social History Supplements

International Review of Social History Supplements is a must see series for anyone interested in social history and more specifically in labour history.

International Review of Social History, a leading journal in its field, attempts to combine theoretical innovation with thorough research. The oldest scholarly journal of its kind, it is distinguished for the quality, depth and originality of its articles. It also publishes book reviews, a bibliography of social history titles, and an annual supplement of specially commissioned essays on a current topic. Addressing issues of immediate interest, the supplement contributors bring different perspectives and distinguished scholarship to the subject of social history.” (follow this link for a complete list of the books published in this series)

Latest volumes related to labour history include, among others :

  • Ulbe Bosma, Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, Aditya Sarkar, Mediating Labour. Worldwide Labour Intermediation in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (2013).
  • Karin Hofmeester, Christine Moll-Murata, The Joy and Pain of Work Global Attitudes and Valuations, 1500–1650 (2012).
  • Rana P. Behal, Marcel van der Linden, Coolies, Capital and Colonialism. Studies in Indian Labour History (2007).