Book Announcement: The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation * (John M. Hobson)

Book Announcement: The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation * (John M. Hobson)

John Hobson challenges the ethnocentric bias of mainstream accounts of the “Rise of the West” that assume that Europeans have pioneered their own development, and that the East has been a passive by-stander. Describing the rise of what he calls the “Oriental West”, Hobson argues that Europe first assimilated many Eastern inventions, and then appropriated Eastern resources through imperialism. Hobson’s book thus propels the hitherto marginalized Eastern peoples to the forefront of the story of progressive world history.

Contents
1. Countering the Eurocentric myth of the West: discovering the Oriental West; Part I. The East as an Early Developer; 2. Islamic and African pioneers: building the global economy in the Afro-Asian Age of Discovery, 500–1500; 3. Chinese pioneers: the first industrial miracle and the myth of Chinese isolationism, 1000–1800; 4. The East remains dominant: India, Japan and Southeast Asia, 1400–1800; Part II. The West was Last: 5. Inventing Christendom and the Eastern origins of European feudalism; 6. The myth of the Italian pioneer; 7. The myth of the Vasco de Gama epoch, 1498–1800; Part III. The West as a Late-Developer: 8. The myth of 1492 and the impossibility of America: the Afro-Asian contribution to the catch-up of the West, 1492–1700; 9. The Chinese origins of British industrialisation; 10. Constructing European racist identity and the invention of the world, 1700–1850; 11. War, racist imperialism and the Afro-Asian origins of British industrialisation; Part IV. Conclusion: The Oriental West versus the Eurocentric Myth of the West: 12. The twin myths of the Western liberal state and the civilisational divide between East and West, 1500–1900; 13. The rise of the Oriental West.

Reviews
“We are still at the beginning stage of a much-needed revisionist history of the world, to which this book makes a lively scholarly contribution. Hobson’s well-documented argument warrants serious consideration.” Janet Abu-Lughod, author of Before European Hegemony

“John Hobson’s work is thoroughly researched, enormously wide ranging and well written. It does not merely provide a thoughtful response to recent Eurocentric world histories. It is also certain to play a central role in the new wave of studies demonstrating the substantial contributions to modern ‘civilisation’ made by so many non-European peoples. The work is a worthy successor to the classic study of ‘imperialism’ written by the author’s great grandfather John Atkinson Hobson.” Martin Bernal, author of Black Athena

“This provocative book aims to change the way historians think about the ‘rise of the West.”
The International History Review

“This is an important book of comparative and historical sociology. It is both a punchy polemic against Eurocentrism and an impressive gathering of evidence on the historical development of Europe and Asia. Hobson argues that the many inventions which supposedly enabled Europe to dominate the world were actually diffused to Europe from Asia (usually from China) and that Asia/China remained as developed as Europe until the 19th century—and mostly he convinces.” Michael Mann, author of Sources of Social Power (2 volumes)

“Evidence that Asia’s primacy was crucial to the Rise of the West has been accumulating for twenty years. Dr. Hobson has now pulled the pieces together in a compellingly written and most challenging scheme. His grand conception will open a whole new order of debate.” Eric Jones, author of The European Miracle and Growth Recurring

“This is an important book of comparative and historical sociology. It is both a punchy polemic against Eurocentrism and an impressive gathering of evidence on the historical development of Europe and Asia. Hobson argues that the many inventions which supposedly enabled Europe to dominate the world were actually diffused to Europe from Asia (usually from China) and that Asia/China remained as developed as Europe until the 19th century—and mostly he convinces.” Michael Mann, author of Sources of Social Power (2 volumes)

“The true value of The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization resides in its capacity to reveal the manner in which politically expedient mythology has distorted Western understanding of both history and culture. There will be a need for many more such exploratory books…” - Reg Little

“It provides a nwe set of comparisons of economic and political developments in the East and Europe; and it offers a strong version of the Orient first thesis which it advances on points.” - Jam Nederveen Pieterse, University of Illinois


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