Cultures in Contact

World Migrations in the Second Millennium

Cultures in Contact

Comparative and International Working-Class History

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Book Pages: 808 Illustrations: 71 maps, 4 figures Published: October 2002

Author: Dirk Hoerder

General Interest > Reference, Geography, History > World History

A landmark work on human migration around the globe, Cultures in Contact provides a history of the world told through the movements of its people. It is a broad, pioneering interpretation of the scope, patterns, and consequences of human migrations over the past ten centuries. In this magnum opus thirty years in the making, Dirk Hoerder reconceptualizes the history of migration and immigration, establishing that societal transformation cannot be understood without taking into account the impact of migrations and, indeed, that mobility is more characteristic of human behavior than is stasis.

Signaling a major paradigm shift, Cultures in Contact creates an English-language map of human movement that is not Atlantic Ocean-based. Hoerder describes the origins, causes, and extent of migrations around the globe and analyzes the cultural interactions they have triggered. He pays particular attention to the consequences of immigration within the receiving countries. His work sweeps from the eleventh century forward through the end of the twentieth, when migration patterns shifted to include transpacific migration, return migrations from former colonies, refugee migrations, and distinct regional labor migrations in the developing world. Hoerder demonstrates that as we enter the third millennium, regional and intercontinental migration patterns no longer resemble those of previous centuries. They have been transformed by new communications systems and other forces of globalization and transnationalism.


Cultures in Contact serves as a major new reference work for anyone interested in any aspect of migration…. The short chapters also invite the reader to browse in the history of migration and follow certain migrant groups or developments in specific regions.” — German-Canadian Studies Newsletter

“A formidable piece of work. It is of particular importance because Hoerder shows in great detail that it is necessary to move from a focus on the Atlantic migration system in order to give due weight to migration flows in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific world. . . . Hoerder’s cast is a fascinating one, with particular attention to peoples, such as Armenians and Jews, that have had high rates of migration, but also with due attention to others that are generally neglected, such as Central Asian peoples.” — National Interest

"Cultures in Contact provides a broad historical and geographical framework in which to situate [migration] studies and show the possibilities and rewards of this global approach." — Marcelo J. Borges, International Review of Social History

"Cultures in Contact reflects immense learning deployed over vast swaths of the globe. It breaks out of the Atlantic-centered perspective that has blinkered most European and Euro-American studies of migration, and for the period since 1500 it strives to bring Asian, African, and Pacific migrations into a larger world-system history of migration. . . . Hoerder's study of migration systems . . . does an outstanding job of synthesizing a vast library of scholarship on human migrations while also contributing to the growing body of global historical analysis. Cultures in Contact offers not only a survey of world migrations over the past millennium but also a synopsis of global history viewed from the perspective of migratory processes." — Jerry H. Bentley, Labor

"[A] truly significant book which derives its authority from cross-cultural primary research, as well as secondary reading, on a scale that few previous authors have attempted. . . . [H]e has designed the book to ensure that readers interested in but one aspect of his story will be able to follow it intelligently, and his advancing argument is clarified by a sequence of original maps that will also serve as a vital teaching aid to all students of historical migration." — Nicholas Canny, History Today

"[A] valuable work of reference and tool for teaching, a way of locating Australia's migration history in a comparative spatial and temporal framework." — Australian Historical Studies

"[H]eroic, exhaustive, and purposeful. . . ." — Ian K. Steele, Canadian Journal of History

"[S]tunning. . . . [A] fine book, a well illustrated tour de force. . . ." — John Connell, Journal of Pacific History

"Dirk Hoerder's Cultures in Contact is a human-centered and humane approach to world systems analysis that shows much sensitivity to gendered experiences and relations." — Franca Iacovetta, International Review of Social History

"The book represents an impressive, almost unbelievable, accomplishment. . . . Furthermore, the book is user-friendly. . . . Hoerder's book will become a classic and remain for years a valuable reference for anyone working on any aspect of the history of human migration since 1000 AD." — Raymond L. Cohn, EH.NET

"This book is a milestone in the history of migration. Never before has anyone attempted to cover such a wide range, both in terms of time and space." — Leo Lucassen, International Review of Social History

"This book will change the way you think about human mobility. . . . Cultures in Contact is a very large book, even encyclopedic. . . . Pick a place, a time, a people of meaning to you-then plunge in. You will be amazed at what you learn about how you came to be where you are." — Rick Eden, Key Reporter

"This encyclopaedic work is surely the definitive history of migration. . . . Cultures in Contact is an extraordinary effort. His analysis of vast amounts of data is truly spectacular, as is his conscious refusal to be deterministic. Hoerder’s book is an achievement that will set the agenda for migration studies for generations to come. It has defined the field and provided us with a source-book which the next generation of scholars can build on."
— Pramod K. Nayar, Canadian Ethnic Studies

"This extraordinary book, written on Braudelian scale, is the most complex and comprehensive history of human migration yet. . . .[A] masterwork. . . . This volume should stand for a long time as the authoritative synthesis of the vast array of human migrations, bitter or sweet, that have happened over the last ten centuries." — Walter Nugent, Pacific Historical Review

"This is a book of enormous scope, ambition, and achievement. . . . Hoerder's work is a major synthesis and intervention in the field, and he is to be congratulated for his notable accomplishment." — Robin Cohen, Journal of American Ethnic History

"This is a one-of-a-kind book-a magnum opus, thirty years in the making. . . . Cultures in Contact does for migration studies what Fernand Braudel and William McNeill, among others, have done for history: establishing the longue durée and deprovincializing Western historiography. It is a remarkable accomplishment worthy of a scholarly award. Besides the sheer scope of his research in time and space, Hoerder brings to the study of migration an approach of exemplary breadth and sensibility. . . . This study holds profound implications for our thinking about modernity and capitalism, culture and nationhood." — Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies

"Through a remarkable collection of closely described cases, he elucidates both the structural similarities and the cultural distinctiveness of migrations in Medieval Europe, the Ottoman Empire, trading posts, fur empires, forced migration, proletarian and contract-labor migration, and the current "un-mixing" of peoples into nation-states. Hoerder's more than 50 maps . . . convey original and thought-provoking demonstrations of interactions among migration systems." — Patrick Manning, Population and Development Review

"Cultures in Contact is a landmark work, a broad and pioneering interpretation of the scope, patterns and consequences of human migrations around the globe over the past ten centuries. . . . Hoerder's work links world historical events to global and regional migration flows, within and across cultural borders without losing sight of the individual men and women who moved, changed, suffered, prospered and intermingled with their fellow human beings."
— Annemarie Steidl, European History Quarterly

"[A] massive and definitive study on migration in the second millennium. . . . Highly recommended. All academic libraries. . . ." — P. G. Wallace, Choice

"[A] pleasure to read. . . . Dirk Hoerder has achieved the enormous feat of moving each field forward by globalizing of human movements. . . . He has given the story of migration a new starting place and a challenging new context." — Leslie Page Moch, Journal of Social History

"This book is destined to be often consulted. . . . The research behind the book is massive. . . . The most interesting passages deal with cultural consequences of migration-for food, music, dance, and so forth-but the most useful aspect of the book, I suspect, will prove the wealth of data on migration itself." — J.R. McNeil, International History Review

“The people of the world have always been migratory. Exhaustive, encyclopedic, and challenging, Hoerder’s book links world historic events to global and regional migration flows, within and across cultural borders. And he does it without losing sight of the men and women who moved, changed, suffered, prospered and intermingled. A must-read for all historians of the world and its interconnected cultures.” — Donna R. Gabaccia, author of Immigration and American Diversity: A Social and Cultural History

“We have long known that the world’s peoples have been in constant movement for a very long time. Now we have an encyclopedic overview of who has moved where and why for the last thousand years, based on impressively wide reading. This overview will shake up a lot of preconceptions.” — Immanuel Wallerstein, author of The End of the World as We Know It: Social Science for the Twenty-First Century

”This book is breathtaking in its scope and detail. Hoerder has done world history a great service, speaking to multiculturalism while providing the nuts and bolts of migration history over time and space.” — Nancy Green, author of Ready-To-Wear and Ready-To-Work: A Century of Industry and Immigrants in Paris and New York


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Dirk Hoerder is Professor of History at the Universität Bremen in Germany. He has written and edited numerous books. He is coeditor of European Migrants: Global and Local Perspectives; The Settling of North America: The Atlas of the Great Migrations into North America from the Ice Age to the Present; People in Transit: German Migrations in Comparative Perspective, 1820–1930; Roots of the Transplanted; and Distant Magnets: Expectations and Realities in the Immigrant Experience, 1840–1930.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Maps and Figures xiii

Acknowledgments and Dedication xvii

Contexts: An Introductory Note to Readers xix

1. Worlds in Motion, Cultures in Contact 1

Part I The Judeo-Christian-Islamic Mediterranean and Eurasian Worlds to the 1500s 23

2. Antecedents: Migration and Population Changes in the Mediterranean-Asian Worlds 27

3. Continuities: Mobility and Migration from the Eleventh to the Sixteenth Century 59

4. The End of Intercivilization Contact and the Economics of Religious Expulsions 92

5. Ottoman Society, Europe, and the Beginnings of Colonial Contact 108

Part II Other Worlds and European Colonialism to the Eighteenth Century 135

6. Africa and the Slave Migration Systems 139

7. Trade-Posts and Colonies in the World of the Indian Ocean 163

8. Latin America: Population Collapse and Resettlement 187

9. Fur Empires and Colonies of Agricultural Settlement 211

10. Forced Labor Migration in and to the Americas 234

11. Migration and Conversion: Worldviews, Material Culture, Racial Hierarchies 257

Part III Intercontinental Migration Systems to the Nineteenth Century 275

12. Europe: Internal Migrations from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century 277

13. The Russo-Siberian Migration System 306

14. The Proletarian Mass Migrations in the Atlantic Economies 331

15. The Asian Contract Labor System (1830s to 1920s) and Transpacific Migration 366

16. Imperial Interest Groups and Subaltern Cultural Assertion 405

Part IV Twentieth-Century Changes 443

17. Forced Labor and Refugees in the Northern Hemisphere to the 1950s 445

18. Between the Old and the New, 1920s to 1950s 489

19. New Migration Systems since the 1960s 508

20. Intercultural Strategies and Closed Doors in the 1990s 564

Notes 583

Selected Bibliography 717

Sources for Maps and Figures 747

Index 755
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Winner, Allan Sharlin Memorial Award for the Best Book in Social Science History

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4901-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2834-6
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