The comparative history of empires has become a very popular subject in recent years, provoking interesting debates on the origins of the globalization process and on the future of post-Cold War international relations.(1) The focus on empires has also provided a constructive way to reassess the role of Europe in world history, going beyond the traditional great narrat
Unsurprisingly, given the significant First World War anniversary that is now upon us, there has been a raft of new books on the conflict with a variety of foci; each aimed at different groups on the spectrum of amateur enthusiast to hardened academic scholar.
In 1942, as Japanese forces swept through Southeast Asia, retreating British colonial officers decided to shoot the dangerous animals living in Rangoon Zoo and to release the harmless ones. Because of their own uncertain futures and limited supplies, they also killed the Zoo’s deer for meat to supplement their increasingly meagre diets.
Historians of the British Indian army, with little exception, have argued that Indian soldiers, or Sipahis, were incapable of acting on their own: they were led into anti-British political activities by ‘outsiders’ (1), they were loyal because ‘others’ told them to be loyal (2), and they could not be disloyal to the British as the sol
Recent developments in Ukraine and Crimea have raised a number of questions about Russia and her political machinations.
Recent historiography on the ascendance of colonial rule in India has shifted from a mode of investigating the contours of colonial power to looking at the fissures of imperial governance.
In 1988, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak famously posed the question regarding the peoples of the Indian subcontinent, 'Can the subaltern speak?'.(1) Spivak referred to the seemingly insurmountable challenge of writing a history of the colonized masses when nearly all of the available sources were products of the colonizers and thus reflected their preoccupations, biases, a
Since its publication in the 13th century, the Travels of Marco Polo has attracted a wide readership around the world. The transmission and translation of the original Rustichello-Marco text (either in French or Franco-Italian) resulted in 150 medieval manuscripts. Despite its popularity, not everyone believed Marco Polo’s account.
In a time of ‘pressure to publish’, ‘publish or perish’, and ‘publish then perish’, it’s a great pleasure to read a work that has taken a decade to metamorphose from a small folder of notes on the Southeast Asian Hajj to this enormously rich and varied volume.