Crossing Empires

Taking U.S. History into Transimperial Terrain

Crossing Empires

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 360 Illustrations: 9 illustrations Published: January 2020

History > U.S. History, World History, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Weaving U.S. history into the larger fabric of world history, the contributors to Crossing Empires de-exceptionalize the American empire, placing it in a global transimperial context. They draw attention to the breadth of U.S. entanglements with other empires to illuminate the scope and nature of American global power as it reached from the Bering Sea to Australia and East Africa to the Caribbean. With case studies ranging from the 1830s to the late twentieth century, the contributors address topics including diplomacy, governance, anticolonialism, labor, immigration, medicine, religion, and race. Their transimperial approach—whether exemplified in examinations of U.S. steel corporations partnering with British imperialists to build the Ugandan railway or the U.S. reliance on other empires in its governance of the Philippines—transcends histories of interimperial rivalries and conflicts. In so doing, the contributors illuminate the power dynamics of seemingly transnational histories and the imperial origins of contemporary globality.

Contributors. Ikuko Asaka, Oliver Charbonneau, Genevieve Clutario, Anne L. Foster, Julian Go, Michel Gobat, Julie Greene, Kristin L. Hoganson, Margaret D. Jacobs, Moon-Ho Jung, Marc-William Palen, Nicole M. Phelps, Jay Sexton, John Soluri, Stephen Tuffnell


Crossing Empires makes a compelling case that a transimperial history is necessary if we are to lay bare the power dynamics structuring transnationalism and globalization. The essays present rich empirical case studies that show how transimperial connections buttressed imperial rule and sustained colonial violence and exploitation while they simultaneously integrated the world into tighter global circuits of capital, culture, technology, and power. A welcome addition to the scholarship on U.S. imperialism and comparative empires.” — Kornel Chang, author of Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands

“This excellent, accessible, and carefully curated collection recenters United States history in the most powerful of ways. Superbly deploying the concept of the transimperial in an astonishing array of case studies, this volume offers vital new understandings of imperial formations and will help scholars identify important new directions and questions in the study of global empires.” — Daniel E. Bender, coeditor of Making the Empire Work: Labor and United States Imperialism

“This collection will be of particular use in graduate seminars, though it is of value to all scholars thinking through the ways that we understand movements across, interactions between, and comparisons of empires.”

— Sarah Steinbock-Pratt, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews

"The editors and authors should be commended for their efforts. This volume should be read by American historians seeking to understand the US and empire." — J. Rogers, Choice


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Price: $28.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Kristin L. Hoganson is Stanley S. Stroup Professor of United States History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and author of The Heartland: An American History.

Jay Sexton is Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy and Professor of History at the University of Missouri and author of A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History.

Table of Contents Back to Top

Preface  vii
Introduction / Kristin Hoganson and Jay Sexton  1
Part I. In Pursuit of Profit
1. Fur Sealing and Unsettled Sovereignties / John Soluri  25
2. Crossing the Rift: American Steel and Colonial Labor in Britain's East Africa Protectorate / Stephen Tuffnell  46
Part II. Transimperial Politics
3. "Our Indian Empire": The Transimperial Origins of U.S. Liberal Imperialism / Michel Gobat  69
4. Empire, Democracy, and Discipline: The Transimperial History of the Secret Ballot / Julian Go  93
5. Medicine to Drug: Opium's Transimperial Journey / Anne L. Foster  112
Part III. Governing Structures
6. One Service, Three Systems, Many Empires: The U.S. Consular Service and the Growth of U.S. Global Power, 1789-1924 / Nicole M. Phelps  135
7. Transimperial Roots of American Anti-Imperialism: The Transatlantic Radicalism of Free Trade, 1846-1920 / Marc-Williams Palen  159
8. The Permeable South: Imperial Interactivities in the Islamic Philippines, 1899-1930s / Oliver Charbonneau  183
Part IV. Living Transimperially
9. African-American Migration and the Climatic Language of Anglophone Settler Colonialism / Ikuko Asaka  205
10. Entangled in Empires: British Antillean Migrations in the World of the Panama Canal / Julie Greene  222
11. World War II and the Promise of Normalcy: Overlapping Empires and Everyday Lives in the Philippines / Genevieve Clutario  241
Part V. Resistance Across Empires
12. Fighting John Bull and Uncle Sam: South Asian Revolutionaries Confront the Modern State / Moon-Ho Jung  261
13. Indigenous Child Removal and Transimperial Indigenous Women's Activism across Settler Colonial Nations in the Late Twentieth Century / Margaret D. Jacobs  281
Bibliography  303
Contributors  335
Index  339

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0694-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0603-9