Professor Goscha concludes his two-part Forumexploration of the global origins of Vietnamese Republicanism [Read Part I].
The East Asian Origins of Vietnamese Republicanism
Located on China’s long southeastern coastal flank, Vietnam, Korea, and even Japan had long participated in an East Asian civilizational world based on the Middle Kingdom. For centuries overland and maritime routes channeled administrators, Confucian scholars, Buddhist monks, artists, and political theorists to and from the Middle Kingdom and beyond. Vietnam and Korea may have resisted the colonial ambitions of their immense northern neighbor, but they had, like the Gauls dealing with the Romans, borrowed heavily from the Chinese political, social, religious, linguistic, and cultural canon long before Atlantic ideas arrived. Continue reading “The Global Origins of Early Vietnamese Republicanism, Part II”→
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. 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.
History does not repeat itself. The historians repeat one another.
—Max Beerbohm, 1896.
Historians are often charged — sometimes correctly — with precipitously proclaiming a “new” field of study: a field that, upon further investigation, is shown to be remarkably similar to earlier turns in the historiographical timeline. The post-colonial and subaltern “turns” of the 1980s are cases in point, as they, however unwittingly, tended to ignore the prodigious and overlapping work within Area Studies that had appeared in preceding decades. I duly began to wonder if the term “global history” might prove to be yet another illustrative example. Continue reading “Sleuthing the Origins of ‘Global History’”→
David A. Bell Lapidus Professor of History, Princeton University Contributing Editor, The New Republic
I am grateful to Marc-William Palen for his smart, sharp comments on my New Republicessay, and also for his generous offer to let me respond to them on this blog.
Palen calls my essay ‘provocative’ and ‘eloquent’, but also ‘unfair’. I certainly prefer this judgment to ‘balanced, but dull and inarticulate’, but the adjective ‘unfair’ still rankles a little. In particular, Palen charges me with confusing page counts and criticism; with mixing up Atlantic history and global history; and with ‘expect[ing] the impossible’ from the volume that I was reviewing.
[Update: Please also read Professor Bell’s response.]
A recent New Republicarticle by David A. Bell on the limitations of the ‘global turn’ has been making the rounds this month, and deservedly so. Bell’s article reviews Emily Rosenberg’s 2012 edited volume A World Connecting: 1870-1945.  Nestled within it, however, is a much larger critique of the global historiographical shift toward ‘networks’ and ‘globalization’.
Bell’s criticisms are provocative. They are eloquent.