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A Commentary on “Imperial Turn” ——Also A Study on the Relationship Between Imperial History and World History
August 19, 2022  


WANG Jiafeng (Zhejiang Normal University)


Since the end of the last century, the so-called “imperial turn” has sprung up in the western academic circle, that is, paying attention to the Empire in reality and history, writing the “new Empire history” and driving the all-round revival of the Empire history. This “turn” comes into being because with the process of globalization, the influence of the United States is becoming greater and greater, while the sovereignty of traditional nation-state is weakening, and the world is facing a series of important new problems; also because of the influence of post-modernism, post-colonialism, new cultural history and other thoughts, people begin to explain the economic and social life of the Empire from a new perspective. The concept of “Empire” is relatively broad, often equivalent to what is usually called great powers. The Empires in history have left many experiences and lessons in domestic governance and foreign affairs, some of which are still worth learning. Since this wave of “imperial turn” is closely related to the behavior of the United States which is increasing imperial, the current imperial history fever can be said to be closely related to the future fate of nation-state and the trend of world evolution, which deserves our attention. Imperial history is not the same as world history. Clarifying its relationship with world history will help us to deeply understand the evolution of human civilization.

Published on Economicand Social History Review, Issue 2, 2022.


Institute of European Civilazation