The Birth of Territory reviewed in The Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies by Whanyung Kim

There is a a review essay on The Birth of Territory in The Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies by Whanyung Kim. This a journal of the Northeast Asian History Network, but the review is in English and is open access (Vol 1, No 2, Summer/Fall, 2014, pp. 135-140).

The review is generally very positive, but rightly points out the limits of the book temporally – it ends with the late seventeenth century – and geographically, with its focus on the West. But rather than just highlight or criticise this, the author begins to sketch how the story might be extended to the present, or the comparative work that might be necessary to tell the story for elsewhere.

The Birth of Territory can serve as the basis of a research agenda: a global and comparative history of territory. The book in fact provides a methodological model for writing The Birth of Territory in China and The Birth of Territory in India. The “genealogical account” could be applied to make a narrative about the evolution of territory in China from its rise in ancient China to its perfection in the form of “the-all-under-Heaven” concept before the impact of the West. Similarly, a historical review of the evolution of territory in India will yield interesting insights. For instance, the historical meaning of the ancient term janapada—a compound word composed of janas “people” or “subject” and pada “foot”—could be analyzed. Janapada is particularly intriguing as a concept because it has had a double meaning of “realm, territory” and “subject population.”

There is much more in the piece itself.

Many thanks to Iain Watson for alerting me to this essay.

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One Response to The Birth of Territory reviewed in The Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies by Whanyung Kim

  1. Pingback: Top posts on Progressive Geographies this week and a link to Derek Gregory’s piece on Paris | Progressive Geographies

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