This book is ambitious but baffling. Akhtar seeks to rewrite the history of the world of the past half-millennium by placing what he calls the “East,” though he mostly means China, at the center of the narrative. Although not an ostensibly unorthodox approach, his contribution to it is to draw from sources in the Muslim world. What is baffling is that he has selected the year 1368 as the peg on which to hang the portrait without offering any analysis, or even description, of what happened in that year and why it might matter. He has chosen 1368 because it was the year in which the father of Emperor Yongle, who sent the much-discussed maritime expeditions of the early 1400s into the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, established his dynasty. These expeditions have inspired a great deal of nonsense derivative of the model of Columbian development (sail the...
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March 01 2023
1368: China and the Making of the Modern World by Ali Humayun Akhtar
1368: China and the Making of the Modern World. By
Stanford University Press,
University of British Columbia
Online ISSN: 1530-9169
Print ISSN: 0022-1953
© 2023 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2023) 53 (4): 679–680.
Timothy Brook; 1368: China and the Making of the Modern World by Ali Humayun Akhtar. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2023; 53 (4): 679–680. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jinh_r_01936
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