Globalization has become an issue of the greatest urgency in the first decade of the new century.
Recent world events, especially the terrorist attacks on the United States and the evolving conflicts in the Middle East, have sparked wider concern for global issues in general. There is now a flood of literature on the economics, politics, and sociology of globalization and regular commentary in the serious daily and weekly press.
Virtually all of this discussion makes assumptions, and frequently explicit claims, about the novelty of globalization. According to one view, globalization is a new phenomenon that can be dated from the 1980s. A second view holds that globalization has a long history that can be traced to the nineteenth century, if not earlier. These are important claims, but until now they had not attracted significant critical attention from historians. This volume is the first by a team of historians to address these issues.Globalization in World History has two distinctive features. First, it traces the history of globalization across nearly three centuries. Second, it emphasizes a feature that the current debate greatly underestimates: the fact that globalization has non-Western as well as Western origins. Globalization is much more than a new way to tell the all-too-familiar "rise of the West" story. The contributors bring their expertise to bear on themes that give prominence to China, South Asia, Africa, and the world of Islam, as well as to Europe and the United States; these themes span the last three centuries while also showing an awareness of more distant antecedents. The result is a coherent and thought-provoking collection of essays. Globalization will become a major theme of historical research during the next decade; this book will help set the new agenda.
A. G. Hopkins, formerly the Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History at Cambridge University and now an Emeritus Fellow of Pembroke College, is currently the Walter Prescott Webb Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin. He has published widely in the field of African and imperial history, beginning with a pioneering study, An Economic History of West Africa (1973), and continuing with two prize-winning volumes, written jointly with P. J. Cain, British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688–1914 (1993) and British Imperialism, 1914–1990 (1993), second editions of which are now available in one volume entitled British Imperialism, 1688–2000 (2001).