Mary Laven has established herself as a competent historian, writing on a variety of aspects centred on the Venetian Renaissance. The present book is the first contribution to take her out of Europe, at least in geographical terms.
Bangladesh today is the only nation-state in the Indian subcontinent with levels of ethnic homogeneity similar to Western or Central Europe.
In 1775, Samuel Johnson had already identified the central paradox of United States history. He notoriously challenged British readers to explain why ‘we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes’. Generations of historians have tried to answer that question. How could a movement espousing belief in liberty include so many slaveholders?
In his 2013 book, The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters, Anthony Pagden devoted a chapter to the European ‘discovery’ of ‘man in nature’, partly through their study of the individual men whom French and British explorers brought back from their voyages to the South Pacific.
In The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam, Edmund Burke does the important work of historicizing colonial-era research on Morocco and Moroccans.
How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.