Reddit Reddit reviews Empire of Cotton: A Global History

We found 3 Reddit comments about Empire of Cotton: A Global History. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Economic History
Economics
Business & Money
Books
Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Knopf Publishing Group
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3 Reddit comments about Empire of Cotton: A Global History:

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/india

What? How is SJW which I am not even remotely close to, related to Eurocentrism?

Europe went through a period of Renaissance because after the fall of Western Rome, they went through a period of great flux and turmoil and scientific and artistic endevours went through a severe down phase.

India otoh consistently maintained high levels of artistic and scientific (Mathematics, Astronomy, Metallurgy, Rural Industries etc etc) during the period of the Renaissance.

Rather than read some Katju's blog, I would recommend (VERY STRONGLY) that you read the following,

  • Empire of Cotton,

  • The four ages of Hobsbawm - it is a four book collection,

  • Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia by Thomas F. Glick, Steven Livesey, Faith Wallis - THIS IS A MUST read book for you, it will demolish your preconceived notions about the eternal darkness India lived in that you seem to harbour.

    Let me quote a small section from this book,

    >> Evidence suggests that scientific activity in India was extensive in India in the middle ages and the Indian scientific corpus of the period is estimated at at around 3 million manuscripts, the majority of which remain unexamined by modern historians of science. Areas in which scientific studies were conducted were natural science, medicine, astronomy, architecture and mathematics.

    You then have an entire chapter on Indian scientific knowledge and advancement.

    Here is a link I saw on Reddit just yesterday,

    >>In a small town in southern India in the 1500s, Jyesthadeva penned concepts important to developing a calculus system, and he did so in complete proofs that demonstrated infinite series expansions of trigonometric functions and gave precise approximations for complex calculations. “Calculus and everything derived from it depends to some extent on these concepts of infinitesimals and infinite series,” says Kim Plofker, author of Mathematics in India. By way of comparison, it wasn’t until the 1660s in Europe that a Westerner named James Gregory was able to independently do the same proof.

    Problem is, for you only Newton's work is...scientific advancement, a Jesthadeva producing advanced mathematics a century and half before a similar body of work came out of Europe is "intellectual darkness".

    Interestingly, even this is just a compilation of work done by Madhavacharya in the 1400's.

    Ironically, you and others are still doing this,

    >This was an important “discovery.” Prior to Whish’s translation, Europeans commenting on Indian mathematics denied that the subcontinent had invented its own concepts.

    >Cultural relativism is a gigantic lie, and it's the reality that the modern world as we know it today is shaped tremendously by "Europe"

    Okay and? You are stating the obvious which I have not challenged or even raised.

    >in the era of the Greeks, then the renaissance and then the industrial revolution.

    This is the problem. Human development did not happen in a silo. The Greeks were heavily influenced by Indian thoughts, as were Indians by Greek thoughts. Likewise, medieval and later Europe borrowed heavily from Arab systems which itself borrowed a lot from Chinese and Indian systems and by 1900 we had come full circle.

    >Honestly I really dislike the habit of many Indians online hopping on to SJW arguments when convenient that come out of the far-left in the West, just to reinforce their own "India is the greatest" world view.

    I have no idea what an SJW argument is, but I do know that when somebody ignorantly says "this is why India did not have a renaissance" it is rooted in a very Eurocentric world view.

    Europe needed a renaissance, just as India needs one now, but the India of the 10th to the 16th centuries sure was not some intellectual vacuum.

    >We have to someday admit that the modern culture of the developed world is the way forward.

    Not necessarily, we have evolved our own structures, one that suits India and that is the way forward. For instance our version of Secularism is what suits India better than the European version of Secularism which evolved due to different requirements.

    >Clinging on to the past is utterly pointless, and if this culture is "western", well tough.

    I for one am not clinging to the past, and if you are referring to me, you are attacking a massive strawman.

u/zekthegeke · 2 pointsr/circlebroke

A couple of things:
Re: Machiavelli- This is what historians do, when they are doing a good job of adapting their work to a mass audience. So in that course, you will be led through a (riveting and fun!) deep read of Machiavelli's seminal works, provided with the historical context of his life and world, but all towards thesis-driven analysis of what he was doing, what it meant to him, what it meant in his world, and what we might make of it now. He talks explicitly about the historical method as he applies it, and you are encouraged (but not required, it is a course for everyone!) to read alongside his progress through the works and strengthen your capacity to interpret primary sources, to a basic level.

Re: Cotton: Cotton is a huge topic. Good history books about it look like this, which is to say, the author adopts a critical lens that seems like it's from another field, but is in actuality the historical, historicized application of a way of looking at things. Peer and popular reviews both find it to be a deeply persuasive way of destroying the myth of slavery as some kind of pre-capitalist institution, and rather a foundational institution of American and global capitalism. He also illustrates how cotton didn't become "de-enslaved" as a result of the American civil war, but rather simply encouraged extraordinarily aggressive extraction and colonial-style exploitation by Europeans of diverse existing and new colonial holdings, notably the "Slavery is illegal buuuut" British in India. Now, you may find none of these persuasive or useful, in the end, but it is undeniably a provocative, thesis-driven examination of the topic that works towards important questions, and with a topic like cotton, there are just a ton of good books out there by historians doing other things with it.

To give you an example, one of my specialties is legal history. So when I work on an issue (for instance, corruption), one of my default starting points is to organize the facts in a legal-historical manner, not to be confused with a legal analysis that a law professor would do even though it might integrate such analyses at various points. But it will be in service of a historical thesis ("x argument about the role/change over time/effects of corruption in a place"), and while it might not wind up answering a question you care about personally, you can rest assured it bears little resemblance to the "Stuff happened! Here are some stories about it with a tenuous connection to current evets!" things that clog bookstores.

Another example: Intellectual history sounds like philosophy, but it's not about debating the merits of the ideas per se even if it integrates analyses of the ideas at some level; it's about the historical context, the place of the ideas in a given time, and so on. You would share ideas between a 17th Century European Intellectual History class and its Philosophy equivalent, and would likely have many of the same readings, but what you would do with them and how you would think about them would be quite different, and if you specialized in it as a historian your papers and books would be quite different from a philosophy professor's even if you have common ground. Does that make sense?

tl;dr-I would say what you are looking for is not popular history so much as history geared towards non-specialists, and a great way to get recommendations for that is to look at the askhistorians book list and, of course, ask questions about potential sources towards the questions you are interested in (because there may simply be an article or whatever you'd miss that covers a lot of the ground). It's the same way that you wouldn't want to mistake pop science writing as a sign of what the particular scientific field is up to or what it can offer you or me as a layperson.

u/yoyEnDia · 1 pointr/history

Empire of Cotton was excellent. The basic argument is that the history of cotton is the story of the becoming of modern capitalism, and he defends it very well.