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Imagined Geographies

The Maritime Silk Roads in World History, 100–1800

A pioneering work in the study of history and geography of the pre-1800 world.

Imagined Geographies is a pioneering work in the study of the history and geography of the pre-1800 world. In this book, Geoffrey C. Gunn argues that different regions astride the maritime silk roads were not merely interconnected waterways, but also “imagined geographies.” Here he examines five such geographic imaginaries, specifically Indian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and European including an imagined Great South Land. Drawing upon an array of marine and other archaeological examples, he offers compelling evidence of the intertwining of political, cultural, and economic regions across the sea silk roads from ancient times until the seventeenth century. By taking a broader civilizational approach, Gunn goes beyond simple national history and places the maritime realm within a greater spatial perspective to offer a decentered world regional history. This book will interest history lovers from all around the world who want to know more about how their forebears viewed their respective regions and how their region fits into world history with local uniqueness.

304 pages | 15 color plates, 2 halftones | 6 x 9

Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography

History: Ancient and Classical History

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"This is an important contribution to an understanding of world history and historiography and the many complex and ever-changing sociological, cultural, political, and economic relations across the Indian and Pacific Oceans... Recommended."


Table of Contents


Part I: Writings
Chapter 1: Writing a Decentered World Regional History

Part II: Imaginaries
Chapter 2: An Indian Imaginary
Chapter 3: Arab Geographic Imaginaries
Chapter 4: Geographic Imaginaries from the Chinese Tradition
Chapter 5: Japanese Geographic Imaginaries: The Tokugawa Invention of a Japan-Centered International Order
Chapter 6: Geographic Imaginaries of an Austral Land

Part III: Evidence
Chapter 7: Connecting Up the Dots on Global Port Cities
Chapter 8: The Evidence from Marine Archaeology

Part IV: Examples/Alternative Realms
Chapter 9: The Ryukyu Trade Networks Revisited
Chapter 10: Configuring Macau on the World Map

I. Alternative Realms
II. The Rise and Fall of the Thirteenth-Century World System
III. Autonomist or Borderless Histories?

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