A World Connecting: 1870-1945

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Between 1870 and 1945, advances in communication and transportation simultaneously expanded and shrank the world. New technologies erased distance and accelerated the global exchange of people, products, and ideas on an unprecedented scale. A World Connecting focuses on an era when growing global interconnectedness inspired new ambitions but also stoked anxieties and rivalries that would erupt in two world wars—the most destructive conflicts in human history.

In five interpretive essays, distinguished historians Emily S. Rosenberg, Charles S. Maier, Tony Ballantyne, Antoinette Burton, Dirk Hoerder, Steven C. Topik, and Allen Wells illuminate the tensions that emerged from intensifying interconnectedness and attempts to control and shape the effects of sweeping change. Each essay provides an overview of a particular theme: modern state-building; imperial encounters; migration; commodity chains; and transnational social and cultural networks. With the emergence of modern statehood and the fluctuating fate of empires came efforts to define and police territorial borders. As people, products, capital, technologies, and affiliations flowed across uneasily bounded spaces, the world both came together and fell apart in unexpected, often horrifying, and sometimes liberating ways.

A World Connecting goes beyond nations, empires, and world wars to capture the era’s defining feature: the profound and disruptive shift toward an ever more rapidly integrating world.

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Editorial Reviews

H-Net Reviews - Ian Tyrrell
A World Connecting should be of interest to American specialists precisely because of the rich empirical data marshaled, the fruitful hypotheses embedded in the arguments, and the myriad of scholarly works cited and included in the bibliography. This book should become a standard reference tool not only for global history, but also for supplying the wider contexts for conceptualizing American history from a transnational angle... [This] is a very large book of over a thousand pages, and each of the five sections could well command a detailed review in itself. In many ways, the individual chapters qualify as tour-de-force achievements in the agendas they have set. Not only is the material handled in a magisterial fashion, but arresting interpretations also appear at almost every turn. Historians of specific periods of national history like the American Gilded Age will profit from consulting this work.
New Republic - David A. Bell
Each of its five chapters draws on a massive range and quantity of source material. Each manages not only to synthesize this material, but also to make fresh arguments about it. Taken together, the chapters provide a broad picture of the way certain sorts of global connections changed between 1870 and 1945...In sum, the contributions bring together a remarkable body of insights about global connections and networks.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674047211
  • Publisher: Harvard
  • Publication date: 10/31/2012
  • Series: A History of the World, #5
  • Pages: 1168
  • Sales rank: 799,919
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 2.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily S. Rosenberg is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

Akira Iriye is Charles Warren Professor of American History, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

Jürgen Osterhammel is Professor of Modern History at the University of Konstanz.

Charles S. Maier is Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University and author of Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany.

Tony Ballantyne is Professor of History at the University of Otago.

Antoinette Burton is Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dirk Hoerder is Emeritus Professor of History at Arizona State University.

Steven C. Topik is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

Allen Wells is Roger Howell, Jr., Professor of History at Bowdoin College.

Emily S. Rosenberg is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction: Emily S. Rosenberg

Over the period from 1870 to 1945 the world became both a more familiar and a stranger place. Fast ships, railroads, telegraph lines, inexpensive publications, and film all reached into hinterlands and erased distance. The exchange of people and products accelerated, while the fascination with traveling around and describing foreign areas—long evident in human history—reached new heights. Jules Verne’s famous 1873 book Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days) imagined the new age, and many others tried their hand. Chinese official Li Gui described his trip around the world in 1876; King Kalakaua of Hawai’i claimed distinction as the first ruling monarch to accomplish a global tour in the early 1880s; American journalist Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman (“Nellie Bly”) scored a speed record for circling the globe in 1889; and Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore set a more deliberative pace in visitations that took him across the Pacific in 1916 and the Atlantic in the early 1920s. As the numbers of travelers grew exponentially in the first half of the twentieth century, accounts and images of distant places multiplied and became accessible to all but the most remote of the world’s inhabitants. Yet the very possibility of familiarity also bred strangeness. New connections highlighted all kinds of regional differences, and the awareness of difference could promote suspicion and repulsion perhaps even more easily than it facilitated understanding and communication.

This volume focuses on an era in world history marked by ever greater global interconnectedness—and by the excitement and anxiety, hope and violence that accompanied the complex mix often called modernity. Drawing on interpretations and approaches of the past few decades of historical scholarship, it provides both general readers and specialists with a thematic overview. Its five chapters each highlight a particular theme: modern state-building, imperial encounters, flows of migration, commodity chains, and transnational social and cultural networks. Together, these themes collectively explore the tensions between the intensifying global interconnectedness and the attempts to stabilize, control, or shape the effects of sweeping change. The new age brought flux and attempts to ward off its consequences; it brought disintegration of old orders and efforts to create and rationalize new ones.

There are, of course, many ways to present overarching patterns in world history. Some histories unfold chronologically around large events such as global wars and economic depressions. Others slice the world into geographical areas such as Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. While not neglecting chronology and geography, the chapters in this book are focused around themes that extend over both time and place and play out often unpredictably according to historically grounded circumstances. Breaking away from a common chronological spine or an area-by-area approach can help reveal the overall dynamic between outreach and containment—between flux and attempts to stabilize—that characterized and gave variability to world history in this era.

Specifically, our chapters highlight both the diverse and interactive regional and global networks of the era and the simultaneous efforts to define territorial borders. The first two chapters, on the emergence of modern statehood and on efforts to build and to resist empires, emphasize the problematic of formulating and policing geographical boundedness. How and with what consequences did modern states and empires give shape to this period? The final three chapters explore the transnational flows of people, products, capital, technologies, and affiliations that cut across bounded spaces. In a world in which these flows increasingly touched and changed people’s lives, things fell apart and also came together differently. The organization of the topics in this volume, then, emphasizes an ever-changing dyad of enclosure and permeability. Presenting the multiple processes of disintegration and reintegration that lie at the center of histories of national states, empires, demographic patterns, economic connections, and cultural affinities provides the major contribution of this volume.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Emily S. Rosenberg 3

1 Leviathan 2.0: Inventing Modern Statehood Charles S. Maier

Introduction 29

1 The World Is "Weary of the Past 40

2 Reconstruction on a World Scale 93

3 The Human Zoo 153

4 States of Exception 196

2 Empires and the Reach of the Global Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton

Introduction 285

1 Reterritorializing Empires 306

2 Remaking the World 348

3 Global Empires, Transnational Connections 390

3 Migrations and Belongings Dirk Hoerder

Introduction 435

1 A Longue-Durée Perspective 444

2 The Global and the Local 468

3 Migrations, Free and Bound 491

4 Migrations during War and Depression 548

5 The Aftermath of War and Decolonization 579

4 Commodity Chains in a Global Economy Steven C. Topik Allen Wells

Introduction 593

1 Transformations 600

2 The Sinews of Trade 628

3 Commodity Chains 685

5 Transnational Currents in a Shrinking World Emily S. Rosenberg

Introduction 815

1 Currents of Internationalism 823

2 Social Networking and Entangled Attachments 849

3 Exhibitionary Nodes 886

4 Circuits of Expertise 919

5 Spectacular Flows 960

Notes 999

Selected Bibliography 1097

Contributors 1137

Index 1139

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