Summary Class notes - Global History

- Global History
- Claire Vergerio
- 2018 - 2019
- Universiteit Leiden (Universiteit Leiden locatie Den Haag, Den Haag)
- International Relations and Organisations
111 Flashcards & Notes
1 Students
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Summary - Class notes - Global History

  • 1551394800 Lecture 1

  • Sykes-Picot

    "The Owl of Minerva spread its wings only with the falling of dusk"
    - G.W. F Hegel (1820)      

    Approaches to history in IR: A spectrum
    Closet of facts (esp. Neorealism)
    • Past= just lots of facts to test theories about the present
    • History as monochrome flatland - always the same
    • Emphasis on continuities.

    Middle way approaches (constructivism, the English school, historical sociology, conceptual history)
    • Use history in some detail (not just closet of fact
    • Try to establish patterns (not just random list)
    • We are going to operate in this category and focus on continuities and discontinuities.

    Shopping list (esp. poststructuralism)
    • Past= list of minor events/ accidents that have huge impact
    • No discernable patterns in history - always different.
    • Emphasis on discontinuities.
  • History is
    • The general study of the past
    • A nonfictional account of the past 
    • A craft
    History aspires to:
    • Construct and tell stories about the discovered evidence of the past
    • Understand and explain past events by interpreting their meaning.

    • Emphasizes patterns and regularities, great drivers of development, larger meaning of history
    • About big ideas
    • Popular in C19, bad reputation in C20, now making a comeback.

    The key term associated with metahistory:

    - Longue Duree
    -> Take the long view of history to identify long-term trends/ patterns and distinguish the contingent from the permanent.

    Antihistory = the idea that when we speak of history, fiction and non-fiction are identical.
    -> Particularly relevant concept in the age of 'fake news' and 'post-truth'.
    -> The holocaust never happened, Barack Obama was not born in the US, the moon landing was a hoax.

    Relativism is a closely related concept= there is not truth out there and all narratives are equal.
    - Extreme relativists turn to what they find the most useful fictions for their own purposes.
    - Bottom line: antihistory is fiction and speculation, 'not' history proper.
    1. Big history vs. Global History
      Big history:
      - Also called 'universal history' and sometimes 'world history'
      - Concerned with the history of the world since the big bang.
      - Integrates natural sciences (cosmology, geology, biology....)

      Global history:
      - Not the same as big history
      - Sometimes also called world history
      -> Global history is the story of connections within the global human community
      Bottom line: look beyond the single country/ region and into the development of the connected whole

    2. Global history and IR
      - The human world comprises a multiplicity of co-existing societies.
      - Five implications of multiplicity
      1. Co-existence
      2. Difference
      3. Interaction
      4. Combination
      5. Dialectical change
  • 1551481200 Lecture 2

  • Imperial expansion
    1. Process of destruction
    2. Process of creation
    3. Major consequences to this day 
  • 1. The chronological scope of European empires
    • European imperialism begins: 1492
    • Decolonization: mostly 1950s-70s (various exceptions, e.g. Latin America in the early 1800s)

    2. Broadening the focus of IR
    • Basic unit IR: the state, but modern international relations (~1400 - now)- mostly world of empires

    What does this mean in practice?
    • Relationships between empires instead of between states
    • Also, relationships between societies within empires.
    • Conceptual issues: international anarchy or international hierarchy
  • Empire
    A large, composite, multi-ethnic or multinational political unit, usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate, sometimes far distant peripheries.
  • Six core characteristics of an empire
    1. Direct (centralized) and indirect (decentralized) rule
    2. Established and maintained by violence
    3. Dominant 'core' economically exploiting the periphery
    4. Cultural difference between people at core and periphery; belief in superiority of culture by people at core.
    5. European empires (specifically) associated with racial hierarchies and racist beliefs.
    6. Mass movements of people, through both voluntary migration (e.g. settler colonialism) & forced migration (e.g. slave trade) 
  • Imperialism
    the actions and attitudes which create or uphold such big political units, or less obvious kinds of control/ domination
  • Colonialism
    Systems of rule by one group over another, where the first claims the right to exercise exclusive sovereignty over the second and to shape its destiny
  • Colonization
    Large-scale population movements, where the migrants maintain strong links with their or their or their ancestors' former country and when by doing so they gain significant privileges over other inhabitants of the new territory (incl. settler colonialism)
  • The post-colonial world
    The parts of the globe that used to be under colonial rule
  • Neo-imperialism
    postcolonial situations where an outside power - usually, but not always, the former colonial ruler - still exercises very great, though half-hidden influence in ways that greatly resemble the older patterns of more open domination.
  • Example: CFA Franc
    CFA: Financial Community of Africa, previously French Colonies in Africa
    -> 50% of the bills are kept at the French Central Bank, and the value of the CFA Franc is entirely dependent on the value of the €.

    -> No ability to control their financial policy because they have to pay the euro.
  • 1551567600 Lecture 3

  • Introduction:
    • Mappa Mundia (1300)
      -> Center: Jerusalem
    • A world of knowledge

    • Aristotle -> rediscovered, Greek text had been lost, but refound in Arabic that was translated by Islamic scientists.

    • Manuscript from the Timbuktu library -> Arabic was the knowledge language in the past.

    • Leiden connections
      - Plague to fransiscus raphenbengius in Vrouwensteeg
      - Scaligers' house, 113 Breestraat
      - First tulip planted in Europe was planted in the LU Botanical garden from the Ottoman Empire
      -> Key idea: the Eastern Origins of the Western Civilizations

    • Voltaire: look to the East, to which the West owes everything, to understand progress. 
  • Eurocentrism
    A point of view that places Europe at the center of everything, particularly modernity and progress, and that sees the rest of the world as historically backwards.

  • A. The Oriental Globalization (500-1800)
    • Middle Eastern Muslims & North Africans first being to create global economy after 500.
    • Global economy then maintained until ~1800 by wide-ranging group of peoples.
    • Interlinking of all major world civilizations, hence the 'oriental globalization'.

    • Pre-1500 globalization was different from now, significant flow of a lot of things in a region that transforms it.

    Key facts about Oriental Globalization
    • Begins ~500; revival of camel as mode of transport essential for overland routes in Central Asia
    • ~500 -1000: connects two main centers of civilization (Middle East and China); creates a world system
    • Mainly pacific relations between empires -> Extensive trade
  • Three main empires
    1. T'ang China (618-907)
    2. The Islamic Umayyad and then Abbasid empire in the Middle East (661-1258). Sunni Islamic Caliphate
    3. Fatimid empire in North Africa (909-1171). Shia Islamic Caliphate, overtaken by the Abbasid empire.

    Connections between these regions: Silk Roads
  • Eurocentrism - five assertions about the pre-1500 world
    1. Stuck in stagnant 'tradition' undermining economic development
    2. Divided into insular regions
    3. Governed by irritational despots
    4. The impossibility of globally interdependent world
    5. The world finally connected through the European age of discovery from 1500

    Why are these wrong?
    • The global economy during the Afro-Asian age of discovery from 500s
    • Terms dictated to Europeans by Middle Eastern Arabs, Persians, and Africans
    • Pre-1500s = considerable Eastern economic progress ('irritational despots', argument dubious)

    • The reason that this has been 'forgotten' is by the justification of Europeans and their imperialistic goals.
  • B: to the West: the Islamic Global pioneers (500-1000)
    • Islam: central to globalization for two main reasons
      1. Unity through Islam in a previously fragmented region
      2. A religion that included a strong penchant for trade
      -> Islamic world = bridge of massive Afro-Asian economy between 650 and 1800.

    • Famous cities in the Islamic World
      - Samarkand (modern-day Uzbekistan), one of the longest continuously inhabited city in Central Asia, part of Abbasid then Mongol empire (C15-C17)
      - Baghdad (modern-day Iraq), capital of the Abbasid empire, round city (C11)
      - Isfahan (modern-day Iran), Persian empire (C16)

    "The density of commercial relations within the Muslim world constituted a sort of world market of unprecedented dimensions" - Maxine Rodinson.

    • Trade with Africa
      -> Muslims were particularly dependent on African trade.
      - Egypt as a crucial junction
      - African markets were the most profitable branch of trade
      - Africans trading with India and lands as far as Polynesia even before Muslims arrived.
    • Marco Polo (1254-1324)
    • Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
    • Ibn Battuta (1304-1377)
      - Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1325-1332 (Northern Africa, Iraq, Persia, The Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, Swahili coast)
      - Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1332-1346 (Black Sea Area, Central Asia, India, South East Asia and China)
      - Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1349-1354 (North Africa, Spain, West Africa)

  • Some Chronology: Chinese Empire
    • Becomes even more internally powerful than Muslim counterparts from ~1100
    • By 1400s, starts influencing global economy even more strongly than Islamic empires.

    What made China so internally powerful from ~1100s onward?
    • Enormously wealthy

    Why was China so wealthy?
    • During Song period (960-1279), goes through the 'first industrial miracle'
    • Develops characteristics usually associated with British industrial revolution.

    What was the Chinese Industrial revolution about?
    1. A huge revolution in steel and iron (surge in numbers, cheap iron, transportation)
    2. A tax system based on cash (rather than goods, e.g. crops) -> Foster large cities.
    3. Massively advanced agricultural techniques (means higher yield ratios)
    4. The 'first military revolution' (850-1290): including development of huge navy
    5. A revolution in navigation techniques.
      - Invention of the compass, explorers develop more accurate maps.
      - Invention of new ships, unprecedented in size (3000 tons), weaponry, and number in which they were produced.

    1433: China renounces massive imperialist expansion
    • New Chinese emperor: a renewed embrace of Confucian identity, isolationism, and concerns about costs.
    • China renounces imperialism despite the potential to rule the world.
    • But still, open to international trade, and continues to develop. Remained 'the example and the model of advanced civilization' to Europeans until the 1780s

    "Unfabling the East"

    To sum up:
    • China enormously advanced in the Middle Age & remains so long after 1492
    • Chinese rulers opt against massive imperial expansion despite the possibility
    • China nonetheless continued to play a central role in the global economy
      -> other empires too: Japan & India)
  • Key points to keep in mind:
    • Silk Roads essential for concerning main empires during "Oriental Globalization"
    • From 1300s-1400s, trading on land superseded by trading at sea in Indian Ocean.
    • Europeans initially not part of it; want to get involved from late 1400s. 
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