How to Start an Empire: An Interview with Steven Press

Open a world map. Chances are it carves the world into a multi-colored jigsaw of national territories.  We’re used to thinking of the contemporary international order as composed of regular nation-states. But what happens if we imagine a different map—one made up of irregular, overlapping, and contested claims, not just to territories, but to languages … Continue reading How to Start an Empire: An Interview with Steven Press

A Muslim Cosmopolis, Or, the Individual and the Nation in Global History: An Interview with Seema Alavi

Dr. Seema Alavi

People tend to assume the origins of contemporary events, alliances and disagreements belong to the recent if not the immediate past. Recent news articles highlight with surprise the Arabicization of Islamic practice in South Asia – most prominently with respect to the murder of several bloggers in Bangladesh. But India has a long history of intellectual contact with the Arab world. The Madrasa Saulatia in Mecca was set up by an Indian Muslim Rahmatullah Kairanwi – a key protagonist in Seema Alavi’s book Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire (2015) – as a “centre for embracive reformist Islam with a strong Indic tradition.” It remains a major scholarly hub, retaining intellectual contact with Sunni Muslim seminaries all over the world. It’s own orientation now can be described as a purist intellectual tradition of Islam. For example, it receives patronage “from the Abd-al Wahab impacted Saudi ruling house,” even as – Alavi is quick to remind us of this – its scholarly tradition stands in stark contrast to the violence that is often perpetrated in the name of Wahabi Islam. In this respect, Alavi’s book Muslim Cosmopolitanism is a fundamentally revisionist text that works through the category of the individual and of the nation. She draws out the history of how a modern vision of Islamic universal selfhood was articulated in the mid-nineteenth century: the processes that connected Indic reformist strands in Islam with Hamidian notions of modernity centred on jurisprudence. In her account, cities such as Cairo thus appear as more than just a site that elucidated anti-British nationalism. Importantly, the book foregrounds how modern histories of South Asia limit key protagonists in this larger global story to the territorial bounds of modern India, even as the records of imperial Britain show how they negotiated trans-imperial identities across South Asia and the Ottoman empire. Continue reading A Muslim Cosmopolis, Or, the Individual and the Nation in Global History: An Interview with Seema Alavi

CFP: In-Between Empires: Trans-imperial History in a Global Age (Freie Universität Berlin, September 15-16, 2017)

For readers interested in borderlands and other liminal imperial spaces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, here’s an interesting call for papers for a conference to be held at the Freie Universität in Berlin in September:   By focusing on spaces “in-between” empires – their connectivity, cooperation, and competition – this workshop aims at establishing a trans-imperial … Continue reading CFP: In-Between Empires: Trans-imperial History in a Global Age (Freie Universität Berlin, September 15-16, 2017)

Connected Anticolonialisms: The Sultanate of Mysore and the American Revolution

Surprisingly little research focuses on how the mid to late eighteenth century rise of the British East India Company’s empire in India coincided with the disintegration of British control over what became the United States. The few exceptions, moreover – most notably P.J. Marshall’s Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America c.1750-1783 – … Continue reading Connected Anticolonialisms: The Sultanate of Mysore and the American Revolution

CfP: Law and Colonial Violence Workshop at Queen Mary University London

Queen Mary University London, Cambridge University, and the European University Institute have jointly issued a call for proposals for a workshop on the subject of “Law and Colonial Violence” worldwide, to be held at Queen Mary University London on February 14, 2017. The call provides the following description: Now more than ever, the relationship between … Continue reading CfP: Law and Colonial Violence Workshop at Queen Mary University London

Workshop: “Global Legal Regimes: Beyond Imperial Frames” (Ontario, Canada, April 20-21, 2017)

Interested in the legal history in global context? Here is a recent call for workshop from Global History Initiative, Queen’s University titled “Global Legal Regimes: Beyond Imperial Frames” and taking place in Ontario, Canada on 20-21 April 2017. The call explains: How do the concepts and methods of global history illuminate, enrich and complicate legal history scholarship? … Continue reading Workshop: “Global Legal Regimes: Beyond Imperial Frames” (Ontario, Canada, April 20-21, 2017)

Anti-Westernism in Question: An Interview with Cemil Aydin on Pan-Asianism, Pan-Islamism, and the Idea of the “Muslim World” in History

The centrality of anti-Westernism as a subject of global debate is underlined with every new terrorist attack on the West today. Both the attack on a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, as well as attacks in France and Germany over the summer engendered many civilization-oriented questions in the minds of people, as also happened in the … Continue reading Anti-Westernism in Question: An Interview with Cemil Aydin on Pan-Asianism, Pan-Islamism, and the Idea of the “Muslim World” in History

How Did Water Connect the World? An Interview with David Igler on Pacific and Environmental History

The Pacific is an area largely understudied by historians, yet it is “an ocean covering more than a third of the Earth’s surface” and has “over 25,000 islands”, to borrow the words of the late Australian historian Greg Dening.  In the past thirty years or so, a growing number of historians have shifted their attention to … Continue reading How Did Water Connect the World? An Interview with David Igler on Pacific and Environmental History

Guarding Empire, Mandating Statehood: A Conversation with Susan Pedersen on the League of Nations, Internationalism, and the End of Empire

Travel to the shores of Lake Geneva, disembark from your ferry or catamaran onto the narrow streets of bourgeois Geneva, and take one of the Swiss city’s speedy trams up the hill to your north, and you won’t be able to miss it: there, at the end of one of the tram lines, sits the … Continue reading Guarding Empire, Mandating Statehood: A Conversation with Susan Pedersen on the League of Nations, Internationalism, and the End of Empire

Lecturer Position in Imperial or Global History (University of Exeter)

Our colleagues at the University of Exeter – incidentally home to an excellent blog on imperial and global history – have recently announced a search for a full-time, permanent position as a Lecturer in Imperial or Global History. According to the job advertisement, The successful applicant will hold a PhD (or will have submitted and be awaiting … Continue reading Lecturer Position in Imperial or Global History (University of Exeter)