[Book Review] From Ruins of Empire: The Revolt against the West and the Remaking of Asia

[Book Review] From Ruins of Empire: The Revolt against the West and the Remaking of Asia
荷西殖民時期的橫置福爾摩沙島地圖,透露當時的台灣並非邊緣島嶼,而是掌握時代局勢的海洋核心樞紐。

by Kuan-Wei Wu/Ketagalan Media

Pankaj Mishra’s From Ruins of Empire: The Revolt against the West and the Remaking of Asia, published in 2013 after his harsh debates with the British historian Niall Ferguson, asserts that Asian countries still struggle with their own scenarios on the case of Western colonization. In the late nineteenth century, through economic and political exploitation, marine powerhouses such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom imposed colonization in Asia, while Oriental intellectuals arose in shock and awe that their homes once in perpetual peace were shattered.

The book follows three intellectual figures’ trial and error in the pursuit of Asian modernization: Jamal al-Din al-Afghani in Egypt, Liang Qichao in China, and Rabindranath Tagore in India; and possibly sets a teleological agenda in which Asian countries will eventually have revenge with their own remaking of traditional values after decades of struggling with modernization and westernization in order to regain their geopolitical and cultural dominance from the bygone peripheral debilities.

An interesting part of this book is that Mishra renders intellectuals, rather than politicians, as the protagonists in historical scenarios.

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The full piece is published on Ketagalan Media here: [Book Review] From Ruins of Empire: The Revolt against the West and the Remaking of Asia

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