Jean-Jacques Ngor Sène

Abstract

Few scholars have been successful at articulating with as much clarity as Patrick Manning does, the relevance and centrality of African history to world history. The historical experiences of the peoples of Africa, within, above, and beyond the Anthropocene, had not been synthetized with a view of globalizing certain Forms of the African Past as integral pieces of the mosaic of the Human Adventure. This essay presents the extent of Manning’s contributions to the debates regarding the general concept of Afrocentricity in practice, namely in relation to the construction of functional global institutions where learned citizens congregate to boost humanity’s intellectual capital. Pat Manning stands out for deconstructing in engaging arrangements—that is, in bravura and substance—the marginalization of Africa and Africans in the academic deliberations about the emergence of cosmopolitan Modernity over the past six or seven centuries at a global scale. Manning-Senseï reverberates in global academia the influences of Black peoples on “the Human System in Movement.” On the other hand, Manning arguably evades the moralization of the discourse that participates in the travails for the restoration of historical consciousness in Black Africa, inducing thereby the ubiquitous question of contemporary world historians’ political responsibility.

Yinghong Cheng

Abstract

This biographical essay sketches Patrick Manning’s career in world history and the contributions he has made to the field. Starting as a social and economic historian of Africa, Manning has continued to expand his interests by responding to the calls that history as an intellectual enterprise receives from society. As an educator and academic organizer, Manning taught for many years at Northeastern University and the University of Pittsburgh, established and helped to build many graduate programs and scholarly associations, and served as vice president (2004–2006) and president (2016–2017) of the American Historical Association.

Jin Cao

Abstract

Over the last millennium, the priority for imperial China’s parallel bimetallic monetary system shifted from copper cash to silver bullion, a development that gained momentum with the influx of New World silver during the sixteenth century. This trend was altered when the Qing government increased copper production in the Southwest, thus inaugurating China’s last copper century around 1705. This study focuses on those provinces where the wealth of China’s copper economy was created: Yunnan, where copper for the metropolitan mints in Beijing was mined under relatively strict governmental control; and especially Sichuan, which maintained China’s largest provincial mint and favored a more flexible cooperation between state and private structures. In these provinces, the interrelations between mining and minting can be observed most closely, the copper century lasted longer and showed a deeper impact, and the symptoms of its final crisis, like counterfeiting or coin debasement, became most apparent. This study aims to reassess our understanding of Chinese mint-metal mining and copper-coin production in practice and theory. It shows the importance of the internal market in huge land empires like China but also—through its interrelation with silver in the bimetallic system—its deep involvement in an increasingly integrated global economy.

Saul Guerrero

Abstract

In the sixteenth century the Spanish Empire would find itself owner and conqueror of the largest deposits of primary silver and mercury in the world, a geopolitical conjunction which would lead to the use of mercury at an industrial scale in the production of plata de azogue (silver by mercury) from silver sulfide deposits found in the Americas. Thus, two refining processes, the millennia-old two-stage smelting process based on lead and high temperatures, and the upstart based on mercury sine igne (without fire), came to share in nearly equal parts the aggregate global production of silver from the sixteenth to the final decade of the nineteenth century. These processes relied on the extensive use of two of the heavy metals most toxic to humans, and their anthropogenic emissions to the environment have caused impacts lasting over subsequent centuries. However, the successful use of haifuki-hō (smelting-cupellation process) in Japan to produce silver from silver sulfide ores with 0.2 percent silver content demonstrates that the extensive use of mercury by Spanish refiners in the New World was not the consequence of the geochemistry or silver content of the ores.

Rila Mukherjee

Aparna Vaidik and Gwendolyn Kelly

Abstract

In this paper we examine some of the problems of world historical frames especially as they are made manifest in the classroom, and we show how we designed a course to resist and avoid reproducing Eurocentrism and other biases. We reject frameworks that insist on focusing solely on connectivities, entanglements, braidedness, and “Big History.” Drawing pedagogical and intellectual inspiration from the writings of Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, John Holt, and Rudolf Steiner, we make a case for widening the scope of world history by insisting that it take on board the ruptures, dissonances, and messiness of a human past that defies easy cataloguing and facile connectivities. We centered the course around developing students’ understanding of how history is constructed and written, including how we can construct, write, and teach many possible narratives of world history. We argue that a course taught in such a way can be a vehicle for deepening human understanding, for decolonizing thought, and for helping students understand and articulate their position in the world.