A concise new history of a century of struggles to define Asian identity and express alternatives to European forms of universalism.
The balance of global power changed profoundly over the course of the twentieth century, above all with the economic and political rise of Asia. Asia after Europe is a bold new interpretation of the period, focusing on the conflicting and overlapping ways in which Asians have conceived their bonds and their roles in the world. Tracking the circulation of ideas and people across colonial and national borders, Sugata Bose explores developments in Asian thought, art, and politics that defied Euro-American models and defined Asianness as a locus of solidarity for all humanity.
Impressive in scale, yet driven by the stories of fascinating and influential individuals, Asia after Europe examines early intimations of Asian solidarity and universalism preceding Japan’s victory over Russia in 1905; the revolutionary collaborations of the First World War and its aftermath, when Asian universalism took shape alongside Wilsonian internationalism and Bolshevism; the impact of the Great Depression and Second World War on the idea of Asia; and the persistence of forms of Asian universalism in the postwar period, despite the consolidation of postcolonial nation-states on a European model.
Diverse Asian universalisms were forged and fractured through phases of poverty and prosperity, among elites and common people, throughout the span of the twentieth century. Noting the endurance of nationalist rivalries, often tied to religious exclusion and violence, Bose concludes with reflections on the continuing potential of political thought beyond European definitions of reason, nation, and identity.
Bose is at the top of his game—a brilliant, urgent, and passionate book.
A trenchant, capacious, and moving feast of historical interpretation. Drawing on the full breadth of insights from a distinguished career studying Asia’s interconnected past, Sugata Bose illuminates ways to a more plural and inclusive Asian future.
In this enthralling intellectual history of a continent, Bose breaks out of European referents to focus on the mobility of Asian people, ideas, and imaginaries. A pathbreaking foray into the making of modern Asia.
This is a deeply felt and carefully argued book. Sugata Bose captures the hopes and misjudgments of generations of Asian thinkers. He makes us wonder if the US-led international system based on sovereign nation-states and the new nationalisms that this system produced might have lured Asia too far for its alternative forms of universalism to succeed. Highly recommended.
A brilliant history of continental connections which offers vital lessons for Asia’s shared future.
- 288 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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