Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Comparative Early Modernities

Key Questions

Can we talk about global early modernity?What are the values and limitations of the term ‘early modernity’ for Europe, China, the Ottoman Empire, elsewhere in the Islamic world? Are there other systems of periodisation that are more relevant across these different regions?What political and conceptual baggage does the period category of Early Modernity carry?

Core Readings

Jack Goldstone, The Problem of the “Early Modern” World, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 41, No. 3 (1998), pp.249-284

Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (Cambridge MA, 1993)

R. Starn, ‘The Early Modern Muddle’, Journal of Early Modern History, 6: 3 (2002), 296-307.

Task: Select a region outside Europe and think about how the category of 'early modernity' relates to it

David Porter, Sinicizing Early Modernity: The Imperatives of Historical Cosmopolitanism, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol 43 no. 3, pp. 299-306.

Baki Tezcan, The Second Ottoman Empire

Further Reading

Arif Dirlik, Global Modernity, Modernity in the Age of Global Capitalism (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2007).

Arif Dirlek, ‘Global Modernity? Modernity in an Age of Global Capitalism’, European Journal of Social Theory, 6:3 (2003), pp. 275-292.

S. N., Eisenstadt, ‘Multiple Modernities, Daedalus, 129/1 (2000): pp. 1-29

‘Early Modernities’ special issue of Daedalus 127 no 3 (1998) – available online

Donald Frederick Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe. Volume II. A Century of Wonder, Book 3: The Scholarly Disciplines,Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1977.

Michel Paty, “Comparative History of Modern Science and the Context of Dependency,” Science, Technology, & Society 4.2 (1999).

Kathleen Davis and Nadia Altschul eds, Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World, The Idea of “the Middle Ages” Outside Europe (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2009).


.