Empires in World History

By Jane Burbank, Frederick Cooper,

Book cover of Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference

Book description

Empires--vast states of territories and peoples united by force and ambition--have dominated the political landscape for more than two millennia. Empires in World History departs from conventional European and nation-centered perspectives to take a remarkable look at how empires relied on diversity to shape the global order. Beginning with ancient…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Empires in World History as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is part of a new genre of global history and provides enough of a historical sweep to acquaint the non-historian with a view that is not dominated by the nation state as its unit of analysis and Europe as the apex of world historical change. 

It’s an accessible work that fills in a lot of gaps in world historical knowledge that often exist because our myths of historical change (like modernization or development) keep us focused on ‘the west’ and ‘the state’.

From my point of view, it’s no longer politically acceptable to be ignorant of history in…

Empires or nation-states? Which do you prefer? Most of us have assumed that the endpoint in world history is the nation-state. Empires are somehow relics of the past, you know, ‘bad’ things associated with the Europeans in the 19th century or only something the Americans would dare to do today. In this tour de force, Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper demolish this idea by showing us that empires have always been and are still a part of our world. Burbank and Cooper don’t start their story in ‘1492’ with the usual European suspects; they open with the Romans and…

From Christopher's list on empires in world history.

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