Europeans in the World: Sources on Cultural Contact, Volume 2 (from 1650 to the Present)

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9780130912602: Europeans in the World: Sources on Cultural Contact, Volume 2 (from 1650 to the Present)
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This reader focuses on the relations between European civilization and the rest of the world. It chronologically organizes material from antiquity to the present. It presents excerpts from primary source texts, written documents, and visual images, and pays particular attention to providing materials that reflect a diverse set of experiences. Themes such as politics, gender, religion, and ethnicity in non-European parts of the world enable students to place European history in its larger global context.

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Europeans in the World is a primary-source reader that focuses on the relations between European civilization and the rest of the world. It covers chronologically, in two volumes, the period from antiquity to the late twentieth century. Excerpts from written documents and visual images provide multiple perspectives on the ways in which Europeans interacted with people and civilizations from other parts of the world. The texts presented here examine politics, gender, religion, and ethnicity. The readings include not only such standard accounts as Travels of Marco Polo and J. A. Hobson's Imperialism, but also accounts by missionaries such as William of Rubruck (The Mongol Mission) and Matteo Ricci (Journals), unusual European travelers such as Mary Kingsley (Travels in West Africa), and by colonial subjects such as Mohandas K. Gandhi (Hind Swaraj).

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In the last generation, undergraduate history curricula in North American colleges and universities have increasingly become concerned with teaching national, thematic, and continental histories in a global context. There has been a growing recognition that civilizations are not airtight containers, as they have been thought of in the past, but rather that contact between civilizations is an important aspect of historical processes. Journals that focus on the history of European interaction with the rest of the globe, such as the journal of World History and Itinerario: The European Journal of Overseas History, have been developed and become normal reading for historians—no matter what their specific interests. These changes hive affected many of the staple courses in the curriculum, such as Western Civilization; have led to new courses, such as World Civilization; and have also led to more specialized courses on topics such as Travel, Exploration, Imperialism, and Colonialism.

At the same time, more and more college and university teachers attempt to use primary sources in their classes. Theses sources act as a way of teaching the craft of the historian through exposure to the words and phrases of people who lived in the past, as well as allowing the student to see the raw material from which historical accounts are developed, which makes those accounts more meaningful.

Europeans in the World is primary source reader which focuses on the relations between European civilization and the rest of the world and covers chronologically, in two volumes, the period from Antiquity to the late twentieth century. It presents excerpts from primary source texts, both written documents and visual images, which where possible, express multiple voices about the ways in which European civilization interacted with the civilizations of other parts of the world. The texts presented here cover themes such as politics, gender, religion, and ethnicity in non-European parts of the world. The readings not only include such standard accounts as J. A. Hobson's Imperialism, but also accounts by Catholic religious men and women such as Marie de l'Incarnation (Letters) and Matteo Ricci (Journals), unusual European travelers such as Mary Kingsley (Travels in West Africa), and by colonial subjects such as Mohandas K. Gandhi (Hind Swaraj).

Because textbooks typically treat the subject sparingly, each volume begins with a schematic account of European contact with the rest of the world which is aimed at providing a context for the selected documents. The volume introductions also include a suggestion of the themes that may be found in the documents, as well as a guide to the student on how to read them. The documents themselves are divided into topical chapters arranged in roughly chronological order. Each of these chapters begins with a discussion of the specific events and themes that mark the chapter, and there are brief introductions to each document that provides background information about the author and about the document itself. At the end of each chapter are suggestions for further reading, recommended Web sites, and study questions to assist the student in further exploring the topic.

Europeans in the World therefore presents college and university teachers of history with materials that can be used to increase the sense in their students of the importance of contact throughout its history between the West and the rest of the world. It allows and understanding that this contact at times not only imposed Western institutions and values on those parts of the world, but also affected the Development of Western Civilization.

James R. Lehning
Megan Armstrong

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