This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Hans Sloane collected this specimen of cacao in Jamaica in the 1680s. Sloane often collected on or near slave plantations, taking advantage of slavery’s infrastructure to advance his science. NHM IMAGES

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From how to film a revolution to exposing scientists’ debt to the slave trade, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history.

Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Globalization Under and After Socialism

Besnik Pula. Globalization Under and After Socialism: The Evolution of Transnational Capital in Central and Eastern Europe. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018. 272 pp. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-5036-0513-8.

Reviewed by Tobias Rupprecht (University of Exeter)
Published on H-Diplo (April, 2019)
Commissioned by Seth Offenbach (Bronx Community College, The City University of New York)

Cross-posted from H-Diplo

A common narrative about Eastern Europe’s globalization starts with the political changes of 1989: first, the new political and economic elites shelved communism, then they (re-)entered the world economy. Scholars who studied this “transition” no longer bothered much with socialism, which they often saw as exogenous to the region’s post-1989 history. Socialism was seen in opposition to a market economy, and its legacies as roadblocks to overcome while neoliberal globalization was imported from the outside. Besnik Pula, political scientist at Virginia Tech, questions this view in his book Globalization Under and After Socialism. Based on numerous interviews with institutional actors from five East European countries, some historical archival documents, and a lot of economic data, he argues that Eastern European states were forced to react with institutional reforms to a stagnating postwar statist model of development. Some of them integrated their economies into international value chains as early as the 1970s. Eastern Europe’s globalization had its roots in reform socialism, and the different paths taken under socialism impinged on postsocialist political economies.

Pula engages mostly with political science literature and seems to strike a balance between the functionalism of the “varieties of capitalism” school and institutional economics, while expanding the analysis chronologically to include late socialism.[1] As a historian, I do not feel competent to judge the book’s theoretical merits; from the point of view of historiography, his argument is certainly convincing, if not entirely novel. In a recent research review, James Mark and I have surveyed what has already become a burgeoning field on state socialism in global history.[2] After socialist Eastern Europe was left out of academic debates on pre-1989 globalization, socialism has been reintegrated into the history of modern globalization in two different ways: as a rather passive victim of a much more competitive global capitalism on the one hand, and as an active co-producer of globalization on the other. While Pula does not address the contested question of the interplay of globalization and the collapse of socialist polities, and overall focuses more on the industrial sector than the state, his account is a felicitous combination of the two strands. He demonstrates how some socialist countries started attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) and encouraged collaboration with emerging transnational corporations (TNCs), creating paths that shaped economic developments in the 1990s. Continue reading “Globalization Under and After Socialism”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Constantinople. Credit: Culture Club/Getty Images

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From Brexit’s postcolonial clairvoyants to making socialism sexy, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history.

Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Paul Robeson in New York with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, 1957. M.B. Duberman, Paul Robeson.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From being grounded in the Bandung Era to the African American engineer who got stuck in the USSR for 50 years, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history.

Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Yellow Peril: The Rise of an Imperial Scare

Tom Harper
University of Surrey

The Yellow Peril – symbolised by British author Sax Rohmer’s Chinese mastermind Fu Manchu, the self-described ‘Yellow Peril incarnate in one man’ (1913) –  is possibly the most influential paradigm informing the image of China and East Asia in Western popular consciousness [1]. This image depicts China as an implacable oriental opponent of the Western world, a uniform mass with little or no individuality and prone to extreme cruelty. While the perception of the China threat, such as fears over a full blown Sino-American trade war or fears over Chinese ‘student spies’, might appear to be a more recent development, it actually follows a path long trod in the European imperial imaginarium and perpetuated through American strategies in Asia during the 20th century [2]. These same policies have played an important role in influencing and proliferating the Yellow Peril paradigm. Continue reading “Yellow Peril: The Rise of an Imperial Scare”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

A mural in Bogside in Derry/Londonderry near the site of the events of Bloody Sunday. murielle29/flickr, CC BY-SA

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From England’s unreadiness for self-government to the continuing divisiveness of Bloody Sunday, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history.

Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Keynote Lecture by Paul Kennedy – The Second World War at Sea, from Top to Bottom: A Braudelian Look at the Allied Victory

Centre for Maritime Historical Studies Keynote Lecture

Professor Paul Kennedy, CBE (Yale University)

‘The Second World War at Sea, from Top to Bottom: A Braudelian Look at the Allied Victory’

When: Wednesday 20 March, 2019, 1700-1830

Where: Amory C417 (University of Exeter, Streatham Campus)

All Welcome

Paul Kennedy is one of Britain’s leading historians. Perhaps best known for his seminal publication The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, his earlier work focused on the history of the Royal Navy and the wider contexts in which it operated. Paul’s book The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, published in 1976, examined the diverse elements that contributed to a nation’s exercise of naval power, including geopolitics, economics and logistics. This was a landmark publication, and one of the first academic works dealing with naval history to intervene in and enlighten wider historiographical debates; it was recently re-issued with a new introduction to coincide with the 40th anniversary of its publication. Paul continues to write and publish on the intersections between naval history, international relations and grand strategy. Paul was made a CBE in 2001, elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003, and was awarded the Caird Medal in 2005 for his contributions to naval history.