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Empire and the Social Sciences : Global Histories of Knowledge
Bloomsbury Academic

Empire and the Social Sciences : Global Histories of Knowledge

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Empire and the Social Sciences

This thought-provoking and original collection looks at how intellectuals and their disciplines have been shaped, halted and advanced by the rise and fall of empires. It illuminates how ideas did not just reflect but also moulded global order and disorder by informing public policies and discourse. Ranging from early modern European empires to debates about recent American hegemony, Empire and the Social Sciences shows that world history cannot be separated from the empires that made it, and reveals the many ways in which social scientists constructed empires as we know them.

Taking a truly global approach from China and Japan to modern America, the contributors collectively tackle a long durée of the modern world from the Enlightenment to the present day. Linking together specific moments of world history it also puts global history at the centre of a debate about globalization of the social sciences. It thus crosses and integrates several disciplines and offers graduate students, scholars and faculty an approach that intersects fields, crosses regions and maps a history of global social sciences.


“This superb compilation of essays situates the history of the social sciences from the 18th century onward in the contexts of various imperial formations. It provides us with rich accounts of how the social sciences were shaped by diverse forms of imperial order while at the same time they also contributed to shaping them. Authored by an international group of leading scholars, all essays manage to combine global historical questions with due attention to local contexts. The book crosses many academic disciplines, and it fills an important gap in the currently available literature on the global history of knowledge in general and the social sciences in particular.” —Dominic Sachsenmaier, Professor of Global History, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany

“The foundational moment of the modern social sciences in the 19th century coincided with a time of empire. Imperial logics, mostly implicitly, seeped into the terms and categories that social scientists use. It is high time to de-imperialize the social sciences. This book makes important strides towards a critique of what we could call, for want of a better term, 'methodological imperialism.'” —Sebastian Conrad, Professor of Global History, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

ISBN:  9781350102514