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How the East Was Won

Barbarian Conquerors, Universal Conquest and the Making of Modern Asia

Andrew Phillips (University of Queensland)



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Cambridge University Press
14 October 2021
How did upstart outsiders forge vast new empires in early modern Asia, laying the foundations for today's modern mega-states of India and China? In How the East Was Won, Andrew Phillips reveals the crucial parallels uniting the Mughal Empire, the Qing Dynasty and the British Raj. Vastly outnumbered and stigmatised as parvenus, the Mughals and Manchus pioneered similar strategies of cultural statecraft, first to build the multicultural coalitions necessary for conquest, and then to bind the indigenous collaborators needed to subsequently uphold imperial rule. The English East India Company later adapted the same 'define and conquer' and 'define and rule' strategies to carve out the West's biggest colonial empire in Asia. Refuting existing accounts of the 'rise of the West', this book foregrounds the profoundly imitative rather than innovative character of Western colonialism to advance a new explanation of how universal empires arise and endure.
By:   Andrew Phillips (University of Queensland)
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Weight:   480g
ISBN:   9781107546714
ISBN 10:   1107546710
Series:   LSE International Studies
Pages:   300
Publication Date:   14 October 2021
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Introduction; 1. From the rise of the west to how the east was won; 2. The Eurasian transformation; 3. The rise of Asia's terrestrial empires; 4. European infiltration and Asian consolidation in maritime Asia; 5. The great Asian divergence - Mughal decline and Manchu consolidation in the eighteenth century; 6. The East India Company and the rise of British India, 1740-1820; 7. Crises of empire and the reconstitution of international orders in south and East Asia, 1820-1880.

Andrew Phillips is an Associate Professor at the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. His books include War, Religion and Empire: The Transformation of International Orders (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and International Order in Diversity: War, Trade and Rule in the Indian Ocean (co-authored with J. C. Sharman, Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Reviews for How the East Was Won: Barbarian Conquerors, Universal Conquest and the Making of Modern Asia

'Andrew Phillips has done it again - this book will completely change how you think about empires, as well the competition between the East and the West.' Ayse Zarakol, Reader in International Relations, University of Cambridge 'How the East was Won brilliantly shows how peripheral groups overcame more powerful polities to create universal empires. Andrew Phillips demonstrates how these groups created such empires not by assimilating subject peoples but by a strategic process of cultural differentiation. They established diversity regimes that maintained the unique identity of the dominant elite, while simultaneously yoking culturally diverse indigenous elites to the conquest elite. In comparing the British Raj to Manchu and Mughal rule, he challenges the preconception that Western colonial empires differed fundamentally from the Asian empires. Instead of displacing indigenous practices, the British layered on to existing practices. Rather than see the current international order, as propelled by the Rise of the West, we might thus conclude that order has been infused with the hybridization of West and East from its infancy.' Hendrik Spruyt, Norman Dwight Harris Professor of International Relations, Northwestern University, Illinois

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