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Empires and Colonies in the Modern World

A Global Perspective

Heather Streets-Salter and Trevor R. Getz

Publication Date - June 2015

ISBN: 9780190216375

592 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A critical interpretation of the modern history of empires across the globe over the past 500 years


In Empires and Colonies in the Modern World: A Global Perspective, Heather Streets-Salter and Trevor R. Getz provide a thorough overview of modern empires and colonialism from the late fifteenth century to the present. Synthesizing the vast outpouring of new scholarship that examines empires in a global context, the book pays as much attention to the Ottoman, Mughal, Ming, and Qing Empires as to European colonialism, and stresses the continuous social, political, and cultural interactions between colonizers and colonized.

Amply illustrated with photographs and full-color maps, Empires and Colonies in the Modern World examines numerous issues--including commodity flows, pan-movements, and anti-colonial activism--that superseded the boundaries of colonies and empires entirely. It calls attention not only to the complexities of the internal dynamics of individual empires, but also to the constant interactions between empires, and between colonies with different national metropoles.

About the Author(s)

Heather Streets-Salter is History Department Chair and Director of World History Programs at Northeastern University.

Trevor R. Getz is Professor of African History and World History at San Francisco State University.


"In this wide-ranging, ambitious, and highly readable book, Heather Streets-Slater and Trevor Getz make the case for the interdependence of empires and the global from the Mongols through the Iraq war. They skillfully navigate basic definitions, complex processes, and scholarly arguments based on the latest research to support their argument that global empires were totalizing experiences--historically specific yet marking out a distinctive era in world history. Readers will come away not just with a deeper understanding of what the underpinnings of modern imperialism and colonialism are, but with a greater appreciation of what a global perspective on these developments means as well."--Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois

"Heather Streets-Salter and Trevor Getz have written a major overview of modern empires and colonialism that covers the last five-hundred years and that brilliantly summarizes the outpouring of new work placing empires in a global context. Paying as much attention to the Ottoman, Mughal, Ming, and Qing Empires as to European colonialism, the work stresses the continuous interaction between colonizer and colonized and is as attentive to gender and identity issues as it is to conquest, collaboration, and resistance. A must read for global historians interested in empires. The footnotes and the bibliography are treasures in themselves."--Robert Tignor, Princeton University

"At long last we have a truly comprehensive and comparative study of global empires from the early modern era until the twenty-first century. The authors are to be commended for their unfailingly lucid presentation of the entangled processes, in multiple scales and in many places, which ultimately forged the world that we inhabit today. Empires and Colonies represents both an invaluable classroom text and a rich compendium for scholars."--Julia Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona

Table of Contents

    List of Maps
    About the Authors
    Color Map
    Why Define?
    Global and Modern
    Looking Ahead

    Part One: The Rise of Early Modern Empires, ca. 1350-1650

    Chapter 1. The Forging of Early Modern Empires

    The Emergence of the Early Modern State System
    A Gunpowder Revolution?
    Sectoral Alliances
    The Search for Legitimacy
    Sub-Saharan African Empires?

    Chapter 2. Emerging Imperialism and Colonialism in Early Modern Empires
    Models of Early Modern Colonialism
    Themes in Early Modern Colonialism
    The Economic Underpinnings of Early Modern Integration
    Imperial Interaction and Grand Alliances
    The Portuguese Estado da India

    Chapter 3. Intersecting Empires in the Americas
    Iberian Motivations for Exploration, Trade, and Conquest
    The First Iberian Colonies in the Americas
    American Imperialism
    The Columbian Exchange
    Iberian Empires in the New World

    Part Two: Atlantic and Asian Empires in a Global Age, ca. 1600-1830

    Chapter 4. The Rise of the Slave/Plantation Complex

    Competition for Empire
    New Europeans in The Americas-English, French, and Dutch Colonial Efforts
    The Sugar Revolution
    Sugar, Slavery, and Transatlantic Societies

    Chapter 5. Colonial Societies in the Atlantic World
    The Role of Identity in History
    New Societies, New Peoples in the Americas
    New Societies, New Peoples in Africa and Asia
    The Process of Identity Formation

    Chapter 6. Asian Land Empires in a Global Age
    Continuity and Change from the Mid-Seventeenth Century
    Opportunities and Challenges
    Imperial Strategies and Colonial Modes of Rule
    Questioning Imperial Decline

    Part Three: Informal Empires, ca. 1810-1880

    Chapter 7. Revolutions in the Atlantic World

    The Seven Years' War and Its Consequences
    The War of American Independence and Its Legacies
    The French Revolutionary Wars and the French Caribbean
    The Napoleonic Wars and the Spanish and Portuguese Americas
    Atlantic Rebellions and Global Wars in Southern Africa

    Chapter 8. The Industrial Revolution and the Era of Informal Imperialism
    Informal Empire-Anti-Imperialist or Imperialist?
    Industry and Empire
    Cultures of Informal Imperialism
    Informal Imperialism in Action
    Formal Expansion in the Era of Informal Imperialism

    Chapter 9. Living the Colonial Experience
    Modes of Governance
    Common Themes in Nineteenth-Century Colonialism
    Resisting the Imposition and Effects of Colonial Rule

    Part Four: The New Imperialism, ca. 1870-1930

    Chapter 10. Dividing the World

    What Was the New Imperialism?
    Why Did the New Imperialism Happen?
    The Annexation of Burma, 1885
    The Struggle for The Upper Nile Valley: The Race for Fashoda from British, French, and African Perspectives, 1896-1899
    Japanese Policy Formation and the Invasion of Korea, 1874-1910
    Public Opinion in the United States and the Invasion of Haiti, 1915

    Chapter 11. Strategies of the Colonized
    The Pacification of Vietnam and the Gold Coast
    Imposing Colonial Authority and Sovereignty
    Problematizing Collaboration
    Problematizing Resistance
    Re-Evaluating the Pacification of the Gold Coast and Indochina

    Chapter 12. The Sinews of the New Imperialism
    War and Military Power
    Gender, Sexuality, and Race

    Part Five: The Rise and Fall of High Imperialism, ca. 1890-1975

    Chapter 13. Imperial Projects and Colonial Petitions

    The Colonizers' Model of the World
    Hierarchy and Colonial Projects in the Era of High Imperialism
    The Proconsular State and the Realities of Colonial Rule
    Strategies of Colonial Subjects: Negotiation, Accommodation, and Petition

    Chapter 14. Imperial World Wars
    Imperial Ambitions and the First World War
    The Colonial Experience and the First World War
    The Armenian Genocide as a Colonial Event
    Imperial Ambitions and the Second World War
    The Colonial Experience and the Second World War
    The Holocaust as a Colonial Event
    The Aftermath of the Second World War and Political Decolonization

    Chapter 15. Unraveling Colonialism
    The Challenge Facing Anti-Colonial Movements and the Search for Unifying Ideologies the Development of Emancipatory Nationalism
    Organizing Resistance among the People
    The Diffusion of Emancipatory Nationalism: A Global Perspective
    Pan Movements
    Settlers and Settler Nationalism
    The Messy Reality of the Road to Independence

    Part Six: The World We Live in, 1948 to Today

    Chapter 16. Cold War Empires

    A Cold War Imperial System?
    Soviet and American Cultures of Imperialism
    Cold War Colonialism

    Chapter 17. Imperialism Now
    Cultural Colonialism?
    Economic Domination?
    A Modern Chinese Empire?
    Twenty-First-Century Soviet And American Empires?


Featured Resources

Check out an interview podcast with Heather Streets-Salter and Trevor R. Gets here:


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