Rethinking World History: Essays on Europe, Islam, and World History

Publication Year



Edited, with an introduction and conclusion by Edmund Burke, III, Ph.D. 1970.

Is the history of the modern world the history of Europe writ large? Or is it possible to situate the history of modernity as a world historical process apart from its origins in Western Europe? In Part One of this posthumous collection of essays, Marshall G.S. Hodgson, a former professor of history at the University of Chicago, challenges adherents of both Eurocentrism and multiculturalism to rethink the place of Europe in world history. He argues that the line that connects Ancient Greeks to the Renaissance to modern times is an optical illusion, and that a global and Asia-centered history can better locate the European experience in the shared histories of humanity. In Part Two of the work Hodgson shifts the focus and in a parallel move seeks to locate the history of Islamic civilization in a world historical framework. Finally, in Part Three he argues that in the end there is but one history--global history--and that all partial or privileged accounts must necessarily be resituated in a world historical context. The book also includes an introduction by the editor, Edmund Burke III, contextualizing Hodgson's work in world history and Islamic history.

Table of Contents

Editor's preface
Introduction: Marshall G. S. Hodgson and world history Edmund Burke, III
Part I. Europe in a global context:
1. The interrelations of societies in history
2. In the center of the map: nations see themselves as the hub of history
3. World history and world outlook
4. The great Western Transmutation
5. Historical method in civilizational studies
6. On doing world history
Part II. Islam in a global context:
7. The role of Islam in world history
8. Cultural patterning in Islamdom and the Occident
9. The unity of later Islamic history
10. Modernity and the Islamic heritage
Part III. The discipline of world history:
11. The objectivity of large-scale historical inquiry: its peculiar limits and requirements
12. Conditions of historical comparison among ages and regions: the limitations of their validity
13. Interregional studies as integrating the historical disciplines: the practical implications of an interregional orientation for scholars and for the public
Conclusion: Islamic history as world history: Marshall G. S. Hodgson and The Venture of Islam, Edmund Burke, III.

Reviews and endorsements

"The pieces collected here show perceptive and rigorously developed insights into the problems of writing world history." Edwin J. Van Kley, Journal of Asian Studies

"Although several decades have elapsed since they were written, these writings offer immense contemporary value for both general historians and scholars of Islam. Besides providing a compendium of the principal thought of an eminent historian and Islamicist, Rethinking World History broadens the range of scholarly vision, presents a stimulating alternative to the frequent insularism of academic specialization and makes an important contribution to the overall understanding of human history." Brian Johnson, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin

"...useful for anyone interested in the discipline of world history." J.A. Progler, Crescent

"As today's world historians struggle with conceptual designs for courses and textbooks, they should pay attention to the lessons Hodgson taught....One delights in his piercing insights, his acerbic wit, and the amazing range of his thought...." Rose E. Dunn, Journal of World History

Series Title
Studies in comparative world history
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge; New York
Cloth: 0521432537; paper: 9780521438445; ebook: 9780511626104