Call for Publications: Violence in the Early Modern World

Erica Charters's picture

We are requesting potential contributors with expertise in East Asian history for an edited volume on violence in the early modern world. 

Following a successful conference (June 2017, Oxford), Peter Wilson (Oxford), Marie Houllemare (Institute Universitaire de France), and Erica Charters (Oxford) are editing a volume on the global history of organized violence during the early modern period.  While we have a range of experts from different geographic areas, we are short on contributors in East Asian history.  Please contact us at erica.charters [at] with a brief proposal and CV.  This will be part of OUP's Global History Series.

The history of violence and its restraint has been crucial to definitions of ‘Western civilization’ and the modern world, often by contrasting them with barbaric predecessors and the cultures that they claim to have tamed.  Yet, evidence for the restraint of violence varies according to one’s viewpoint: the sharp decline of homicide in seventeenth-century Europe, for example, diverges from the simultaneous rise in violence of Atlantic colonial societies. As histories of violence and restraint are usually written from national and nationalist perspectives, this volume brings global approaches to the study of violence in order to probe historical assumptions about the limits of violence and its decline during the early modern period.  It thereby also questions narratives of the inexorable rise of the nation-state alongside historical periodization of the ‘early modern’ and ‘modern.’  At the same time, as most historical approaches to violence have tended to focus on inter-personal violence and its patterns in civil society, the volume integrates warfare and other crucial forms of large-scale violence into the existing scholarship on violence.   By examining large-scale, organized violence alongside broader social and cultural patterns, the volume analyses the boundaries between ‘war’ and ‘violence’, as well as how they relate to ideas of morality, social order, law, and political legitimacy in the early modern world.