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“Capitalism: A Ghost Story”  

Arundhati Roy

Indian writer Arundhati Roy (b. 1961) won the Man Booker Prize for her brilliant novel The God of Small Things (1997), but she is better known today for her speaking and writing on ... More

The Clash of Civilizations  

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Huntington (1927–2008) was an influential political scientist who taught for most of his career at Harvard University. He was the author of numerous books and articles on politics ... More

Commentary on his Journey to the Court of Akbar  

Antonio Monserrate

Akbar the Great was Mughal emperor from 1556 until his death in 1605. One of the main sources we have of Akbar is a commentary written by a Portugese Jesuit, whom Akbar had invited to his ... More

De Administrando Imperio  

Constantine Porphyrogenitus

The Roman Empire in the West dissolved under the twin pressures of external invasion and internal decay, but the richer, more urban eastern half of the empire survived. Transformed by ... More

An Ethiopian View of the Battle of Adowa  

Anonymous

Evidence that imperial expansion in the nineteenth century was not an exclusive European privilege is provided by this painting of the Battle of Adowa in 1896. Under the command of the ... More

Failed Prophecies, Glorious Hopes  

Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty (1931–2007) was an American philosopher who taught at Stanford, Princeton, and the University of Virginia. Rorty became associated with a form of American philosophy known as ... More

Five-Year Plan Poster, Ghana  

Anonymous

While many consider the Cold War to have been a showdown between free market capitalism and state-directed economics, the truth on the ground was often more complex. Here, the American ... More

“Good-Bye Asia”  

Fukuzawa Yukichi

One of the most interesting figures of Meiji Japan was Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835–1901). Trained in western languages, Fukuzawa served as interpreter on missions taken by Meiji leaders to study ... More

An Imam in Paris: Account of a stay in Paris by an Egyptian Cleric  

Rifa'a Al-Tahtawi

The Egyptian scholar Rifa’a al-Tahtawi (1801–1873) sought to harmonize Islamic and Christian cultures by pushing mutual understanding and helping Egypt modernize. Al-Tahtawi spent five ... More

Letter To Lord Amherst On Education  

Ram Mohun Roy

By 1818 the British East India Company’s initially opportunistic establishment of territorial footholds in India’s Bengal and Madras provinces had become a London-sponsored imperial project ... More

Letter to the Rev. H. Venn  

Samuel Crowther

In 1807 most of the countries involved in the centuries-long Atlantic slave trade signed an international agreement to abolish the shipments of Africans to the western hemisphere. The ... More

Letters To George III  

The Qianlong Emperor

In 1793 the Earl of Macartney arrived in Beijing with a retinue of assistants and a baggage train of gifts carefully selected to impress the Qianlong emperor (1735–1795) with the ingenuity, ... More

“Manifesto of the Emigrant Farmers”  

Piet Retief

In 1652, the Dutch East Indies Company established a small settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to serve as a refueling station for its fleet of ships engaged in the Asian ... More

“Message to the Pilgrims”  

Ruhollah Khomeini

Ruhollah Khomeini Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini (1900–1989) was a leader-in-exile of the revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran (1919–1980) in 1979, but his ... More

Mohammed Bouazizi triggers the Arab Spring, Tunisia  

Marc Fisher

On December 17, 2010, 26-year-old Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in a spectacular act of despair that triggered the “Arab Spring,” the initial results of which continue to ... More

“Our Pessimism”  

Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama (b. 1952) is an American political scientist and author best known, perhaps, for his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man. Fukuyama received a doctorate in ... More

Proclamation of the Boxers United in Righteousness  

Boxers United in Righteousness

The nineteenth century saw an accumulation of disasters for China. In two Opium Wars in the 1840s and 1850s, British invasion forced the trade concessions demanded earlier. These conflicts ... More

Speech to Congress, September 20  

George W. Bush

Less than two weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed Congress. In his speech he attempted to walk a fine line between pointing the ... More

Travels  

Marco Polo

By 1260 the Mongol Empire in the west stopped expanding; in the east the conquest of southern Song China in 1278 by Genghis Khan’s grandson Kubilai effectively ended Mongol expansion. Even ... More

The True History of the Conquest of New Spain  

Bernal Díaz del Castillo

The best Spanish source on the Aztec–Spanish encounter was written by Bernal Díaz del Castillo, an old campaigner from Cortés’s army. Born and raised in a poor family in Spain, Díaz began ... More

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