Contact, Conquest and Colonization brings together international historians and literary studies scholars in order to explore the force of practices of comparing in shaping empires and colonial relations at different points in time and around the globe.

Whenever there was cultural contact in the context of European colonization and empire-building, historical records teem with comparisons among those cultures. This edited volume focuses on what historical agents actually do when they compare, rather than on comparison as an analytic method. Its contributors are thus interested in the ‘doing of comparison’, and explore the force of these practices of comparing in shaping empires and (post-)colonial relations between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries.

This book will appeal to students and scholars of global history, as well as those interested in cultural history and the history of colonialism.

chapter |16 pages


On ‘Doing Comparison’ – Practices of Comparing

part I|67 pages

Women, Marriage Practices, and Morals

chapter 1|19 pages

Bridging the Gap

Jesuit Missionaries’ Perspectives on Marriage in the Philippines in the Period of Contact

chapter 2|19 pages

Constructing the Literati

The Jesuits’ Attempt to Understand China’s Confucian Elite by Dint of Comparison

chapter 3|27 pages

‘Our’ Women, ‘Their’ Women

Domestic Space and the Question of Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Colonial India

part II|87 pages

Politics, Polemics, and Propaganda

chapter 4|23 pages

Entre Nos

Comparison and Authority in the Epistolary of Antonio Valeriano

chapter 5|22 pages

Global Benchmarks of Princely Rule in the Early Eighteenth Century?

Transcultural Comparison in the Political Series of the German Publisher Renger (1704–1718)

chapter 6|20 pages

Spain and Its North-African ‘Other’

Ambivalent Practices of Comparing in the Context of Modern Spanish Colonialism Around 1860

part III|69 pages

Literature, Science, and Literary Discourse

chapter 8|23 pages

Same Sky, Different Soil

Geographical Difference in Eighteenth-Century Astronomy and Its Impact on Literature

chapter 9|27 pages

Between Nature and Culture

Comparing, Natural History, and Anthropology in Modern French Travel Narratives Around 1800 (François-René de Chateaubriand)

part IV|96 pages

Race, Civilization, and Religion

chapter 11|23 pages

Colonizing Complexions

How Laws of Bondage Shaped Race in America’s Colonial Borderlands

chapter 12|21 pages

Tocqueville’s Compass

On History, Race, and Comparison in A Fortnight in the Wilds

chapter 13|23 pages

Climates, Colonialism, and the Politics of Comparison

The Construction of U.S.-American Tropicality in Colonial Medicine and Public Health, 1898–1912

chapter 14|20 pages

Between ‘Cannibals’ and ‘Natural Freemasons’

The (Anti)Colonial History of Comparing Freemasonry to African Secret Societies

chapter |7 pages

Concluding Observations

Modes of Comparing and Communities of Practice