The Global Origins of Early Vietnamese Republicanism, Part I

Christopher Goscha
Professor of History, University of Quebec at Montreal

National emblem of the Republic of China, 1912-1928. Yuan Shikai (left) and Sun Yat-sen (right) with flags representing the early Chinese republic.
National emblem of the Republic of China, 1912-1928. Yuan Shikai (left) and Sun Yat-sen (right) with flags representing the early Chinese republic.

Utilizing a global historical approach, Professor Goscha explores the dynamic origins of Vietnamese Republicanism, in part I of this two-part Forum series.

Just as nationalism, liberalism, and republicanism spread across the Atlantic world in the 18th and 19th centuries, underpinning a series of revolutions stretching from Philadelphia to Paris by way of Port au Prince and Bogota, so too did people, their books, papers, and print technology move such powerful ideas across the Indian Ocean into East Asia with similar effect by the turn of the 20th century.[1] This global transfer of ideas, however, did not move in a straight line. Nor did it necessarily arrive through the colonial connection, even though Euro-American imperial states had colonized much of the Afro-Asian world during this period.

The arrival of Republican ideas to Vietnam is a case in point. Continue reading “The Global Origins of Early Vietnamese Republicanism, Part I”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Marc-William Palen

lawrencecamp
A piece of history: This photograph of an armoured Rolls-Royce helped researchers track down a desert camp (pictured) from which Lawrence of Arabia launched guerilla attacks on German-allied Turks.

Ready or not, here is the weekend roundup in imperial and global history:

*It is amazing what still remains to be uncovered at the National Archives. A Bristol University archaeologist has discovered a secret desert camp used by Lawrence of Arabia. It appears to be intact nearly a century later: Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Writing Human Rights into the History of State Socialism

Ned Richardson-Little
Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter

One of a number of East German postage stamps commemorating International Human Rights Year 1968. The hammer and anvil represent the right to work.
One of a number of East German postage stamps commemorating International Human Rights Year 1968. The hammer and anvil represent the right to work.

The collapse of the Communist Bloc in 1989-1991 is viewed as one of the great triumphs of the human rights movement. But this ignores how socialist elites of the Eastern Bloc viewed themselves: not as the villains in the story of human rights, but as the champions. Continue reading “Writing Human Rights into the History of State Socialism”

Contesting History with Jeremy Black

Cross-posted from Bloomsbury History

9781472519504

We all know that history isn’t just about facts; any historical event can be interpreted in a variety of different ways, and these interpretations can be used intentionally to serve particular interests and agendas – agendas which are often set by the state. A national museum, for example, is not a neutral presentation of that country’s history, but its exhibitions are constructed in order to present that nation’s historical self-image. The Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore – although housed in a building named in honour of Queen Victoria – makes little reference to British imperial rule, instead aiming to reconnect Singapore with its Chinese and Indian cultures of origin. Similarly, Hanoi’s National Museum of Vietnamese History provides a defence of Communism and independence by providing accounts of French imperial cruelty.

These and many other examples from across the globe are discussed in Jeremy Black’s latest book, Contesting History: Narratives of Public History, which we are proud to have published this month. The book provides an authoritative guide to the positive and negative applications of the past in the public arena and what this signifies for the meaning of history more widely. Continue reading “Contesting History with Jeremy Black”

Conference: Trade Unions in the Global South, From Imperial Rule to the Present Day

Gareth Curless

Where: 9am-5.30pm, Friday 13 June 2014, Congress House, London

To mark the important role that trade unions have played in popular protests in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, History & Policy’s Trade Union Forum and the Trades Union Congress will host a one day conference. The conference will reflect on the relationship between trade unions and the state in the Global South, as well as the role of labour movements in popular protests from the end of imperial rule to the present day.

This event is funded by the ESRC. It is free to attend and open to all but space is limited. Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. To reserve your place please contact Gareth Curless (g.m.curless@exeter.ac.uk), University of Exeter.  Continue reading “Conference: Trade Unions in the Global South, From Imperial Rule to the Present Day”

Atlantic Empires in Arrested Development

Rachel Herrmann
Lecturer in Early Modern American History, University of Southampton

Arrested DevelopementI’m a firm believer in the idea that we need to hold our students to high standards when we teach history. I am also (perhaps somewhat paradoxically) a firm believer in the idea that to get students enthused about meeting those standards, we need to make history approachable.

And so I sometimes pander.

This semester I’m teaching what is essentially a colonial America class called “Accommodation, Violence and Networks in Colonial America.” I’ve included a week on the Atlantic World—no small feat given the fact that one of my colleagues devotes a whole semester to it—and so I had to grapple with reducing the notion of Atlantic empires into something that was easily digestible. To deal with the problem of summarizing the key identifying features of the Spanish, Dutch, French, and English empires in the early modern period, I turned to the delightfully dysfunctional Bluth family.

For the (woefully) uninformed, Arrested Development follows the trials and tribulations of the California-based Bluth family, a once-wealthy clan that’s fallen from grace, and is composed, for the most part, of terrible, selfish, egotistical people. The show aired from 2003 to 2006, garnered a cult following, and enjoyed a long-anticipated revival season on Netflix last year.

I use Arrested Development at the start of my Atlantic World lecture to paint a broad (and admittedly simplistic) picture of how the different Atlantic empires functioned on their own terms and in their interactions with each other. I should point out that this portion of the lecture takes up no more than five or ten out of our forty-five minutes, but I think it’s worth it because my caricatures provide students with a starting point from which they can challenge what I’ve told them about Atlantic history.  Continue reading “Atlantic Empires in Arrested Development”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

"An ingenious and labored anti-Darwinian exercise inspired by The Descent of Man of the same date (1871); also a bit of a temperance tract. Original artwork displaying a miniaturist's skill. But for what purpose? The decorative margin and minute detail suggest lanternslide copy. If the figures had been intended as book illustrations BWH would have drawn them directly on the lithographic stone. The skeleton-on-body-silhouette renderings recall those in Hawkins's Comparative view of the Human and Animal Frame" -- Baird. Darwin - Wallace / B. Waterhouse Hawkins, 1871. Image available via Academy of Natural Sciences.
“An ingenious and labored anti-Darwinian exercise inspired by The Descent of Man of the same date (1871); also a bit of a temperance tract. Original artwork displaying a miniaturist’s skill. But for what purpose? The decorative margin and minute detail suggest lanternslide copy. If the figures had been intended as book illustrations BWH would have drawn them directly on the lithographic stone. The skeleton-on-body-silhouette renderings recall those in Hawkins’s Comparative view of the Human and Animal Frame” — Baird. Darwin – Wallace / B. Waterhouse Hawkins, 1871. Image available via Academy of Natural Sciences.

Marc-William Palen

Here are some of the Centre’s top reads for over the weekend:

*Historians are busy exploring why the First World War remains so fascinating to school children. Could it be the war’s angst-ridden poetry?

*The Great War isn’t the only conflict stirring up controversy this year. According to the Globe & Mail, The Conservative Harper government has now been warned by bureaucrats that its planned 110th anniversary commemoration of the Boer War should be peripheral at most. According to documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, civil servants warned:  Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”