New and Forthcoming Publications (25 November 2022)

Charles Reed's picture

H-Empire regularly shares recent publications relevant to the network's scope, content, and purpose ("the origin, development, working and decline of empires, rather broadly defined across academic disciplines and professional interests, chronological time periods, and geographical regions"). Members are encouraged to share their new and forthcoming publications (but are also welcome to share the work of others).
Submission Link


Jennifer Keating, On Arid Ground: Political Ecologies of Empire in Russian Central Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022).

On Arid Ground focuses on the relationships between empire and environment in Central Asia, using environmental history to examine the practice of Russian imperialism in Turkestan at the end of empire, from the 1860s until 1916. It reveals for the first time a comprehensive assessment of the environmental imprint of Russian colonisation, and shows how local ecologies fitted into broader repertoires of imperial rule, accommodation, and resistance. Ranging widely above and below the surface in Turkestan, from the deserts of Transcaspia to the highlands and lowlands of rural Fergana and Semirech'e, Keating explores infrastructure development, migrant settlement, land reclamation and dispossession, the commodification of nature, and environmental violence to reveal the ways in which ecological change was central to the building and breaking of empire. Attentive to connections, synchronicities and scale, On Arid Ground makes the case for looking beyond cotton and water in Central Asian context, for the powerful material role played by animals and plants, sand, silt, and salt in human histories, and for the less visible relationships between far-flung people and things within and beyond Turkestan's borders. Laying bare the political roots and repercussions of environmental change, the volume brings fresh perspectives both to the history of Central Asia and to that of the wider Russian empire across Eurasia.

Stephen Jackson, The Patchwork of World History in Texas High Schools: Unpacking Eurocentrism, Imperialism, and Nationalism in the Curriculum, 1920-2021 (Routledge, 2022).

This book traces the historical development of the World History course as it has been taught in high school classrooms in Texas, a populous and nationally influential state, over the last hundred years. Arguing that the course is a result of a patchwork of competing groups and ideas that have intersected over the past century, with each new framework patched over but never completely erased or replaced, the author crucially examines themes of imperialism, Eurocentrism, and nationalism in both textbooks and the curriculum more broadly. The book ultimately argues that a more global, accurate, and balanced curriculum is possible, despite the tension between the ideas of professional world historians, who often de-center the nation-state in their quest for a truly global approach to the subject, and the historical core rationale of state-sponsored education in the United States: to produce loyal citizens.

Ruchika Sharma, Concubinage, Race and Law in Early Colonial Bengal Bequeathing Intimacy, Servicing the Empire (Routledge, 2023).

This book analyzes the domestic relations which British men came to establish with native Indian women in early colonial Bengal. It provides a fresh look into the history of imperial expansion and colonial encounters by studying the large number of wills left by the British men who came in an official or economic capacity to India. It closely engages with these wills, considering them as unique personal records. These documents, where the men penned down details of their native mistresses, give a glimpse of what their lives, interpersonal relationships, household objects, and everyday affairs were like. The volume highlights how commonplace such non-marital cohabitation was and constructs the social history of these connections. It looks at issues of theft, violence, rape, bequeathment, and property rights which the women had to contend with, and also studies some of the early experiences of the mixed-race children who were a product of these relationships.