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Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium

Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium

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Analysis of migrations—regional, interregional, continent-wide, and global—and the resulting cultural interactions and societal changes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822349013
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 10/26/2010
Series: Comparative and International Working-Class History Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 808
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.90(h) x 2.30(d)

About the Author

Dirk Hoerder is Professor of History at the Universität Bremen in Germany. He has written and edited numerous books. He is coeditor of European Migrants: Global and Local Perspectives; The Settling of North America: The Atlas of the Great Migrations into North America from the Ice Age to the Present; People in Transit: German Migrations in Comparative Perspective, 1820–1930; Roots of the Transplanted; and Distant Magnets: Expectations and Realities in the Immigrant Experience, 1840–1930.

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World Migrations in the Second Millennium
By Dirk Hoerder

Duke University Press

Copyright © 2002 Duke University Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0822328348

Worlds in Motion, Cultures in Contact

Historians study men and, less so until recently, women who left archives rather than traces in the sand. Thus migrants have been shortchanged in historiography though human mobility, the agency of men and women, continuously changed societies and redefined parameters of action. My first goal is to describe and analyze migration from the local level to the continent-wide and global. My second goal is to discuss interaction resulting from migration. Warrior migrants aggressively destroy existing societies. Peasant and labor migrants aim at becoming part of the host societies. In intermediate stops and at the end of their journeys they have to earn their living and establish new communities. They fall in love and beget and give birth to children; fuse their cultural traditions with exigencies of the new surroundings, and develop new subsistence bases. Third, I focus on the self-changing societies into which migrants enter. They do not undermine stable cultures. In fact, societies throttled by stability face the departure of men and women who look for opportunities more challenging and promising for their life-courses.

1.1 People on the Move: Changes over Ten Centuries

Thisinquiry begins with a Mediterranean-outward approach and traces connections to East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Equally valid perspectives would start from China or the Gulf of Persia-Indic World. In Europe migrations of whole peoples-Visigoth, Teutonic, Slavic-ended in the eleventh century with permanent settlement, and gender relations probably changed at this time. In Central Asia and Africa people's migrations continued for several more centuries. Historic migrations in other civilizations were summarized retrospectively when in the sixteenth century European colonizers began to trade with peoples along the coasts of all oceans. The colonizers' construct of a White versus Colored dichotomy between themselves and Others hid processes of ethnogenesis in which colonial creole peoples emerged. It assumed cultural hierarchies and posited racial superiorities where the dichotomy was one of power and the differences were cultural.

Onto such mixed peoples nineteenth-century Europe-centered gatekeepers imposed constructs of ethnoculturally homogeneous nations-though among Chinese sages concepts of superiority existed to which Japanese propagandists juxtaposed their people's valor. For centuries peoples from the three continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe interacted from the Levant to the South Seas. The cultures of the Indian Ocean or of the Americas, not yet named, influenced each other and changed over time. Mediterranean, Chinese, and Indian traders formed mixed societies along the coasts of the globe. Slaves were forced to migrate; peasant people migrated voluntarily. All intermarried or consorted with resident peoples. Genetically "pure" or culturally self-contained peoples are merely myths, and continuities from times immemorial are but ephemeral self-constructions of ethnic identities. Ethnic pluralism and multiculturalism, the catchwords of the 1990s, have been societal practice throughout history.

Migration, cultural interaction, and change have been constituent features of human life, of construction of societies, of commercial exchange. Views of the Self and the Other often were (and are) self-serving. The Central Asian and Islamic "Turks" were said to threaten Christian Europe at a time when Latin Christians destroyed the Byzantine Christian World and annihilated dissenters. When under seventeenth-century Islamic Ottoman rule different peoples and creeds coexisted, if only in hierarchical relationships, the Christian powers of the "Holy Roman Empire" and beyond destroyed one-third of West Central Europe's people in warfare over religious persuasions and power. In the present, when Third World refugees are said to flood industrialized societies, First World capital penetrates the remotest corners of the globe and uproots local people. Who is perceived as a stranger, as the Other, depends on power relationships, on contemporary gatekeepers and retrospective historiographers.

Five periods of migration and cultural change may be discerned. In the first, the multi-civilizational Mediterranean and Black Sea World of Latin and Byzantine Christendom, of Sunni and Shiite Islam, and of Jewish communities included western Asia, southern Europe, and northern Africa. Caravan traders on trans-Saharan routes connected the world of the Eastern Mediterranean to Black Africa. Trans-Asian routes, interrupted by Mongol expansion at the end of the thirteenth century, were re-established during the pax mongolica. The Mediterranean World's core shifted from the intercultural Alexandria-to-Constantinople crescent to Urban Italy in Latin Christendom. Transalpine Europe remained distant until the fifteenth century, though merchants traveled northward over the mountain passes and via fairs to Bruges in the Urban Netherlands. The endless feudal wars in the north, however, induced merchants from Urban Italy to explore a westward circum-Iberian route with their galleys. A separate northern "common market," the fourteenth-century Baltic-centered Hanseatic Federation, lost its position to the North Sea-oriented Dutch within a century. After 1500 trade and the commercial core shifted to the urban segments of the Atlantic seaboard, the Iberian and Dutch societies. In the eastern Mediterranean, the emerging Ottoman Empire realigned Muslim states, both Turkoman and Arab. Genoese merchants traded with Islamic Arab merchants and through them with India. Trade zones surpassed state boundaries, while commercial links and the mobility of producers connected civilizations-but were also forces of conflict and competition.

The Mediterranean slave system brought Central Asian, North African, and Black African men and women to southern Europe and European ones to North Africa. Christian crusaders mobilized masses, but achieved no unity. Latin, Byzantine, Coptic, Nestorian, and other denominations interacted with the various Judaic, Islamic, Indic-Hinduist, and Buddhist East Asian denominations. Frankish settlers in Palestine converted to Arab-Islamic culture; Norman peoples settled along the Atlantic coast and in Sicily; peasant migrations made Central Europe a zone of interspersed Slavic and Germanic settlement. Towns and cities across the world depended on continuous immigration to even maintain population levels. The fourteenth-century climatic change and plagues, in which one-third of the Eurasian peoples died, formed the major caesura; recovery of population size and previous levels of economic activity took a century and a half. In transalpine Europe, wars, struggles between ruling families and their political apparatuses, and doctrinal rigidity of religious gatekeepers influenced migratory patterns. Only after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 did a new state system and new migrations evolve.

By the fifteenth century, "Europe" became a concept, and Latin Christianity had externalized Others, Jews in particular. The Islamic World had been unified by the house of Osman from the Balkans and the Black Sea through its Anatolian core into North Africa and the Gulf of Hormuz. New bureaucratic rationalities competed with hereditary privileges in empires and religions. The Christian and Islamic civilizations' "time of troubles" from the 1570 to the 1650s dislocated men and women. Throughout the period, the construction of Others in ethnic or religious terms amalgamated the many into larger categories, such as the Huns, Turks, Franks, and Germans. On a cognitive level this process provided simple recognizable structures for the perplexing multiplicity of peoples. On the level of social relations it provided boundaries and permitted in-group solidarity. On the level of power relationships it denigrated the Other.

A second period, beginning as early as the mid-fifteenth century, brought merchants and soldiers from the Western Mediterranean to societies of other large and elaborate civilizations. The societies of Western Africa had been part of Arab-Mediterranean trade and had developed their own patterns of migration and cultural exchange. The civilizations of the Americas were characterized by labor migrations and dislocation by war. In the Indic World the merchants of the trade emporia moved and settled from East Africa to Siam, from cities of the Gujarat to southern China. The arrival of Europeans, though involving at first only a trickle of migrants, overwhelmed populations in the Americas by pathogens and destruction, wrought havoc in African societies by the transatlantic slave trade, and established small coastal enclaves in Asia. Migration and settlement in Asia or Africa had as a corollary intermarriage, consorting, or rape. Children of mixed cultural background were born; new peoples came into being. After contact with the Europeans, peaceful migrations and military conquest resulted in re-formation of peoples; modern peoples created and recreated themselves: Spanish-Italian-Native in Argentina, Dutch-African-English-Indian in the Cape Colony, and Native-Chinese-Other on the Malayan peninsula. In Europe, on the other hand, the Iberian states expelled Jews and Moriscos who re-established their trade connections from North Africa and Amsterdam. The feudal orders discouraged commercial enterprise and physical labor.

An intercivilizational comparative approach to migrations suggests fundamental similarities. Across the globe administrators and mercenaries, clerics and pilgrims, merchants and traders, peasants and laborers, vagrants and marginal people moved, were sent to distant locations, or departed from adverse living conditions. Wherever rulers or religious leaders built palaces, fortifications, or temples and cathedrals, immigrant artisans and artists settled. Migrant laborers built roads and bridges in China and in the Andes. Architects of the Taj Mahal, the cathedral of Chartres, and Tenochtitlán needed skilled workmen from elsewhere, and women came to feed them. Regardless of culture, women dominated in the production of textiles and clothing, and service jobs were taken by migrating single women. Warrior segments of peoples penetrated into the territories of others, settled, killed, intermingled, and adjusted to the new social and natural environments. Such migrations involved a search for "frontiers" of opportunity; all-including the belatedly constructed prototype, the settlement of the North American West-also involved the expulsion of previously settled peoples. Frontier societies are characterized by the absence of political structures, of powerful capital and rigid class structures, and of corporatist domination. Opportunities to gain access to local resources were comparatively large. Each change in relative economic power engendered important migratory movements on all levels of social life.

Within this global framework, migrations were unique to each society, depending on economic practices, social structures, and power relationships, as well as on the right to relocate, gender hierarchies, and children's position. Intersocietally they depended on investment strategies and exploitative relationships. Capital flows from the cores provided just the initial impetus. The newcomers traded and transported enslaved and temporarily indentured laborers in ever larger numbers to plantation economies. Labor created wealth depending on soil fertility, mineral resources, or climate. Profits from the labor of colonized populations or immigrant settlers were remitted to stockowners in the cores. These reverse transfers impoverished and mobilized laboring men and women in the peripheries and changed demand for labor in the metropoles.

Emigrants from Europe headed in two directions. The many from the peasant strata moved to colonies of agrarian settlement in temperate climates; the few with capital and power or their representatives moved to tropical territories. Self-serving assumptions that local populations, whether in the Caribbean or in Asia, would labor for the European foreigners came to naught, and European underclasses could not be mobilized easily for distant labor. Settlers in temperate zones chose to advance cost of travel to laboring men and women who bound themselves to work off the debt. Plantation owners in the tropical economies chose to rely on labor bound into lifetime hereditary slavery by force. Religion and color of skin served as criteria to hierarchize and exploit people.

In a third period, industrialization and concentration of production in the Atlantic cores demanded a reallocation of labor from the agrarian to the urban sector. Artisans and skilled workers migrated with their families. Unskilled rural laboring people migrated to repetitive factory work. Imagined or real opportunities in Britain, the United States ("America"), European Russia, or the Germanies became more easily accessible by railroads and iron-hulled steamships. Those impoverished to a degree that they could not even afford low-cost ocean travel had to stay-or to move locally and intraregionally on foot. The producing classes of mercantilist states became the surplus populations of the new industrial order in liberal states, an internationally mobile proletariat. Migration in a Russo-Siberian System remained distinct to the end of the nineteenth century.

In Asia under colonialism, the Chinese trader diaspora connected with the foreigners' enclaves, and local populations either were mobilized against their will and transported to distant plantations or were immobilized to produce export crops locally. The first system of forced mass migration, African chattel slavery in the Americas, was replaced by a second system, contractual, often slavelike work of men and women from Asia. Like European serfs, African slaves and Asian coolies in day-to-day resistance and in reproductive culture from sundown to sunup strove for at least partially self-directed lives within the structural constraints. Indentured Asian laborers had some choice in deciding whether to return home, reindenture, or form independent immigrant communities. The internally diverse and well-organized Indian community in Southeast Africa's Natal, for example, was as much an immigrant community as comparable communities in North American cities.


Excerpted from CULTURES IN CONTACT by Dirk Hoerder Copyright © 2002 by Duke University Press
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Figures xiii

Acknowledgments and Dedication xvii

Contexts: An Introductory Note to Readers xix

1. Worlds in Motion, Cultures in Contact 1

Part I The Judeo-Christian-Islamic Mediterranean and Eurasian Worlds to the 1500s 23

2. Antecedents: Migration and Population Changes in the Mediterranean-Asian Worlds 27

3. Continuities: Mobility and Migration from the Eleventh to the Sixteenth Century 59

4. The End of Intercivilization Contact and the Economics of Religious Expulsions 92

5. Ottoman Society, Europe, and the Beginnings of Colonial Contact 108

Part II Other Worlds and European Colonialism to the Eighteenth Century 135

6. Africa and the Slave Migration Systems 139

7. Trade-Posts and Colonies in the World of the Indian Ocean 163

8. Latin America: Population Collapse and Resettlement 187

9. Fur Empires and Colonies of Agricultural Settlement 211

10. Forced Labor Migration in and to the Americas 234

11. Migration and Conversion: Worldviews, Material Culture, Racial Hierarchies 257

Part III Intercontinental Migration Systems to the Nineteenth Century 275

12. Europe: Internal Migrations from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century 277

13. The Russo-Siberian Migration System 306

14. The Proletarian Mass Migrations in the Atlantic Economies 331

15. The Asian Contract Labor System (1830s to 1920s) and Transpacific Migration 366

16. Imperial Interest Groups and Subaltern Cultural Assertion 405

Part IV Twentieth-Century Changes 443

17. Forced Labor and Refugees in the Northern Hemisphere to the 1950s 445

18. Between the Old and the New, 1920s to 1950s 489

19. New Migration Systems since the 1960s 508

20. Intercultural Strategies and Closed Doors in the 1990s 564

Notes 583

Selected Bibliography 717

Sources for Maps and Figures 747

Index 755

What People are Saying About This

Immanuel Wallerstein

We have long known that the world's peoples have been in constant movement for a very long time. Now we have an encyclopedic overview of who has moved where and why for the last thousand years, based on impressively wide reading. This overview will shake up a lot of preconceptions.
—Immanuel Wallerstein, author of The End of the World as We Know It: Social Science for the Twenty-First Century

Nancy Green

This book is breathtaking in its scope and detail. Hoerder has done world history a great service, speaking to multiculturalism while providing the nuts and bolts of migration history over time and space.
— Nancy Green, author of Ready-To-Wear and Ready-To-Work: A Century of Industry and Immigrants in Paris and New York

Donna R. Gabaccia

The people of the world have always been migratory. Exhaustive, encyclopedic and challenging, Hoerder's book links world historic events to global and regional migration flows, within and across cultural borders. And he does it without losing sight of the men and women who moved, changed, suffered, prospered and intermingled. A must read for all historians of the world and its inter-connected cultures.
— Donna R. Gabaccia, author of Immigration and American Diversity: A Concise Introduction

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