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The book investigates China’s relations to the outside world between ca. 100 BCE and 1800 AD. In contrast to most histories of the Silk Roads, the focus of this book clearly lies on the maritime Silk Road and on the period between Tang and high Qing, selecting aspects that have so far been neglected in research on the history of China’s relations with the outside world. The author examines, for example, the power alliance between the Tang and the Arabs during Tang times, the specific role of fanbing 蕃兵 (frontier tribal troops) during Song times, the interrelationship between maritime commerce, military expansion, and environmental factors during the Yuan, the question of whether or not early Ming China can be considered a (proto-)colonialist country, the role force and violence played during the Zheng He expeditions, and what role of the Asia-Pacific world played for late Ming and early Qing rulers.
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Education, the production of knowledge, identity formation, and ideological hegemony are inextricably linked in early modern and modern Korea. This study examines the production and consumption of knowledge by a multitude of actors and across languages, texts, and disciplines to analyze the formulation, contestation, and negotiation of knowledge. The production and dissemination of knowledge become sites for contestation and struggle—sometimes overlapping, at other times competing—resulting in a shift from a focus on state power and its control over knowledge and discourse to an analysis of local processes of knowledge production and the roles local actors play in them. Contributors are Daniel Pieper, W. Scott Wells, Yong-Jin Hahn, Furukawa Noriko, Lim Sang Seok, Kokubu Mari, Mark Caprio, Deborah Solomon, and Yoonmi Lee.
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This book compares the ways in which new powers arose in the shadows of the Roman Empire and its Byzantine and Carolingian successors, of Iran, the Caliphate and China in the first millennium CE. These new powers were often established by external military elites who had served the empire. They remained in an uneasy balance with the remaining empire, could eventually replace it, or be drawn into the imperial sphere again. Some relied on dynastic legitimacy, others on ethnic identification, while most of them sought imperial legitimation. Across Eurasia, their dynamic was similar in many respects; why were the outcomes so different?
Contributors are Alexander Beihammer, Maaike van Berkel, Francesco Borri, Andrew Chittick, Michael R. Drompp, Stefan Esders, Ildar Garipzanov, Jürgen Paul, Walter Pohl, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Helmut Reimitz, Jonathan Shepard, Q. Edward Wang, Veronika Wieser, and Ian N. Wood.
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Based upon a sweeping command of Dutch East India Company (VOC) primary sources, Knaap’s manuscript offers a thought-provoking thematic examination and chronological survey of the Dutch Republic’s overseas and colonial expansion in Asia and South Africa, mainly through the VOC and its successors, the Batavian Republic, the Kingdom of Holland and Franco-Dutch Java, over a period of more than two centuries, 1596-1811. It elucidates and deals with several conceptual and theoretical issues that are intrinsically important and germane to a polity’s definition of and how it chooses to execute the process of expansion overseas in the early modern period. One of this work’s major arguments and contributions is its advocacy that the Dutch VOC’s expansion in Asia was an imperial project and must be seen as an act of empire, or, at the very minimum, the attempt to construct one via the innovative utilization of a highly organized and dynamic commercial institution with significant political and diplomatic power and naval and military resources.
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The introduction of writing enables new forms of literature, but these can be invisible in works that survive as manuscripts. Through looking at inscriptions of poetry on garbage and as graffiti, we can glimpse how literature spread along with writing.
This study uses these lesser-studied sources, including inscriptions on pottery, architecture, and especially wooden tablets known as mokkan, to uncover how poetry, and literature more broadly, was used, shared and thrown away in early Japan. Through looking at these disposable and informal sources, we explore the development of early Japanese literature, and even propose parallels to similar developments in other societies across space and time.
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Javanese, a major language of Southeast Asia, possesses a little-known literature, occurring in various phases, Old, Middle and Modern. This publication presents a remarkable example, from the poetical literature of Middle Javanese, in an edited text with English translation and an extensive commentary. The aim is to acquaint a wider audience with this literature, in the hope of drawing attention to its fascinating qualities. Set principally in the Singhasari area of East Java, the narrative follows the journey of the lovers, Pañji Margasmara and Ken Candrasari, offering a glimpse of the beauty of the Javanese landscape in the 15th century. The cultural, historical and archaeological details preserved in the text help to shed light on the closing years of Majapahit, a largely unexplored period in Javanese history, before the age of Islam.
The study of taxation is fundamental for understanding the construction of Tibetan polities, the nature of their power – often with a marked religious component – and their relationships with their subjects, as well as the consequences of taxation for social stratification.
This volume takes the analysis of taxation in Tibetan societies (both under the Ganden Phodrang and beyond it) in new directions, using hitherto unexploited Tibetan-language sources. It pursues the dual objective of advancing our understanding of the organisation of taxation from an institutional perspective and of highlighting the ways in which taxpayers themselves experienced and represented these fiscal systems.
Contributors are Saadet Arslan, John Bray, Kalsang Norbu Gurung, Isabelle Henrion-Dourcy, Berthe Jansen, Diana Lange, Nancy E. Levine, Charles Ramble, Isabelle Riaboff, Peter Schwieger, Alice Travers, and Maria M. Turek.
In 1870, a prominent samurai from Tōhoku sells his castle to become an agrarian colonist in Hokkaidō. Decades later, a man also from northeast Japan stows away on a boat to Canada and establishes a salmon roe business. By 1930, an investigative journalist travels to Brazil and writes a book that wins the first-ever Akutagawa Prize. In the 1940s, residents from the same area proclaim that they should lead Imperial Japan in colonizing all of Asia.

Across decades and oceans, these fractured narratives seem disparate, but show how mobility is central to the history of Japan’s Tōhoku region, a place often stereotyped as a site of rural stasis and traditional immobility, thereby collapsing boundaries between local, national, and global studies of Japan.

This book examines how multiple mobilities converge in Japan’s supposed hinterland. Drawing on research from three continents, this monograph demonstrates that Tohoku’s regional identity is inextricably intertwined with Pacific migrations.