An Emerging Modern World: 1750–1870. Edited by Sebastian Conrad and Jürgen Osterhammel

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An Emerging Modern World



Edited by Sebastian Conrad

Jürgen Osterhammel

General Editor Akira Iriye

Jürgen Osterhammel





For as long as there have been nations, there has been an “international”—a sphere of cross-border relations. But for most of human history, this space was sparsely occupied. States and regions were connected by long-distance commerce and the spasms of war, yet in their development they remained essentially separate. The century after 1750 marked a major shift. Fleeting connection gave way to durable integration. Culture, politics, and society were increasingly, and indelibly, entangled across continents. An Emerging Modern World charts this transformative period, addressing major questions about the roots of the present from a distinctly global perspective.

Why, for instance, did industrialization begin in England and not in China? Was there early capitalist development outside of the West? Was the Enlightenment exclusively a European event? Led by editors Sebastian Conrad and Jürgen Osterhammel, a distinguished group of historians tackles these issues, along with the roles of nomads and enslaved people in fostering global integration, the development of a bourgeoisie outside Euro-America, Hinduism’s transformation from local practices into a universal system, the invention of pan-Islamic identity, and the causes and effects of the revolution in time regimes. The world appeared to be undergoing such a radical renewal that the impression of an epochal watershed was widespread.

This fourth volume in the six-volume series A History of the World engages the political, economic, social, and intellectual ferment of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries outside Europe and North America. In doing so, it bears witness to the birth of the modern world.


Table of Contents


  • Introduction [Sebastian Conrad and Jürgen Osterhammel]
  • Regions and Empires in the Political History of the Long Nineteenth Century [Cemil Aydin]
    • Introduction
    • From the World of Regions to a Globalized Imperial World
    • The Era of Imperial Self-Strengthening
    • Re-regionalization of the Imperial World Order
    • Regional, Ethnic, and Geopolitical Roots and Consequences of an Inter-imperial War
  • Possibilities of Plenty and the Persistence of Poverty: Industrialization and International Trade [R. Bin Wong]
    • Introduction
    • The Legacy of Preindustrial Political Economies
    • Nineteenth-Century Industrialization: Foundations of a European Century in Global History
    • Nineteenth-Century Economic Trajectories in the Americas
    • The Atlantic World’s Late Nineteenth-Century Industrial Capitalism
    • Nineteenth-Century Economies in the World of Western Colonization
    • East Asia: Industry, Trade, and Capitalism
    • The Global Economy of Late Nineteenth-Century Industrial Capitalism
  • A Cultural History of Global Transformation [Sebastian Conrad]
    • Introduction
    • Regions, Integration, and Global Awareness: A Changing World Order
    • The Global History of the Enlightenment
    • “Nothing Is the Way It Should Be”: The Organization of Time
    • Religion in the Global World
  • Hierarchies and Connections: Aspects of a Global Social History [Jürgen Osterhammel]
    • Introduction
    • Discovering the Social
    • The Road to a World Society
    • Hierarchies
    • Mobilities and Networks
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Contributors
  • Index



Sebastian Conrad is Professor of Modern History at the Free University of Berlin.

Jürgen Osterhammel is Professor of Modern History at the University of Konstanz.

Akira Iriye is Charles Warren Professor of American History, Emeritus, at Harvard University.



A History of the World

Tracing the evolution of global society from prehistoric times to the present, this innovative six-volume history of an interconnected world offers an exciting challenge to traditional understandings of familiar events and eras. Eschewing the customary encyclopedic approach of myriad short entries, each volume offers substantive interpretive essays by prominent historians who systematically explore developments and trends within a global historical framework. This integrated history is a joint publication of Harvard University Press and C. H. Beck.

Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.



Empires and Encounters: 1350–1750

Reinhard, Wolfgang

Between 1350 and 1750 the world reached a tipping point of global connectedness. In this volume of the acclaimed History of the World series, noted international scholars examine five critical geographical areas where exploration and empire building led to expanding interaction—early signals on every continent of a shrinking globe.


An Emerging Modern World: 1750–1870

Conrad, Sebastian

Osterhammel, Jürgen

For most of human history, states and regions were connected by long-distance commerce and war, yet they developed essentially separately. The century after 1750 marked a major shift. An Emerging Modern World, fourth in the six-volume series A History of the World, charts this transformative period outside the West.


A World Connecting: 1870–1945

Rosenberg, Emily S.

Between 1870 and 1945, advances in communication and transportation simultaneously expanded and shrank the world. In five interpretive essays, A World Connecting goes beyond nations, empires, and world wars to capture the era’s defining feature: the profound and disruptive shift toward an ever more rapidly integrating world.


Global Interdependence: The World after 1945

Iriye, Akira

Global Interdependence provides a new account of world history from the end of WWII to the present, an era when transnational communities challenged the long domination of the nation-state. Leading scholars elucidate the political, economic, cultural, and environmental forces that have shaped the planet in the past sixty years.