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Imperial Models in the Early Modern World, Part 3: From Early-Modern to Modern Empire and from Empire to Nation-State

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

Saturday, April 28, 2007
9:00 PM - 3:00 PM
2520 Cimarron St.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Second day of a two-day conference at the Clark Library directed by Anthony Pagden and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Center and Clark Professors, 2006-07

Our first conference in part looked back to see how the early modern empires of Europe and Asia borrowed from the empires of the past. Our second examined the ways in which empires managed the sometimes stark differences between their various subject peoples. This final conference will look forward to see how the empires of the nineteenth, twentieth, and even twenty-first centuries, represent continuity, or a discontinuity with the empires of the early-modern world. By the end of the eighteenth century, two of the major imperial European powers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spain and Portugal were in eclipse. France had lost nearly all its possessions in America and India. The Ottomans were in retreat. The Mughal Empire had become in effect a dependency of the East India Company. New imperial and would-be imperial powers now began to appear: Russia which now had the largest land empire in the world, Germany, Japan, post-Napoleonic France, and, of course, the United States. And by the early nineteenth century, Britain, after the loss of much of North America embarked on an aggressive new imperial phase; so, too, did France. It has often been claimed that these new empires were wholly unlike their predecessors. But were they, and if they were, in what ways were they different? Was, for instance, the rise of nationalism after the Congress of Vienna responsible for the creation of entirely new imperial practices, and quite distinct imperial cultures? How, indeed, was the concept of the ‘nation-state” shaped by the evolution or collapse of the older imperial states? Or was there in fact considerably continuity between the first and second phases of European empire-building? Did international commerce, for so long believed to be a possible alternative to expansion, now become merely another form of imperial belligerency? How much did the process of what the British called “indirect rule” and the French “politique des races” really differ from previous understandings of imperial sovereignty?

These are just some of the questions which this conference will attempt to answer. If the current debate over the role of “empire” and “imperialism” in the modern world is to have any meaning, we have to look beyond easy slogans and the simplistic analogies between past and present. Empires, however we define them, have, in one form or another, been with us far longer than any other kind of political society. They are now, almost certainly things of the past. But if we are to understand the ways in which they have, shaped the post-colonial, post-imperial world, we have also to understand their very long varied and complex histories.

Program Schedule for Saturday, April 28

9:00 A.M.        Morning Coffee

9:30 A.M.        Timothy Brook, University of British Columbia

"Empires in Reverse: China and Japan in the Twentieth Century"

R. Bin Wong, UCLA

"Fiscal Legacies of Empire in Post-’49 China"

Cemil Aydin, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

"Anti-Imperialist Empires: Ottoman and Japanese Lessons on the Nature of Modern Imperialism"

12:30 P.M.       Lunch

1:30 P.M.         Mark Mazower, Columbia University

"The Nazi New Order and the End of European Imperialism"

Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, New York University

"Imperial Trajectories and Imaginaries in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries"

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, UCLA Closing Remarks

Registration Deadline: April 20, 2007. Students should enclose a photocopy of their current ID with the registration form. Fees are not refundable and apply to full or partial attendance.

Cost : Registration Fees: $25 per person; UC faculty & staff, students with ID: no charge

(323) 731-8529

Sponsor(s): , Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies

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