War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe

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9780511614545: War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe

There is a common belief that the system of sovereign territorial states and the roots of liberal democracy are unique to European civilization and alien to non-Western cultures. The view has generated popular cynicism about democracy promotion in general and China's prospect for democratization in particular. This book demonstrates that China in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (656-221 BC) consisted of a system of sovereign territorial states similar to Europe in the early modern period. It examines why China and Europe shared similar processes but experienced opposite outcomes.

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About the Author:

Victoria Hui is a visiting Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. She holds an Assistant Professor in Political Science position at the University of Illinois. She received a PhD from Columbia University and has received fellowships from the Olin Institute at Harvard University, the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics.


"Victoria Hui is perhaps the only person in the international relations field capable of writing such a sophisticated comparative history of the Chinese and European state systems. This book is pioneering in its efforts to bring Asia ina to the study of macro-historical change in world politics. She demonstrates expert command of Chinese and European sources, international relations theory, and social science research design. The result is a provocative argument about the importance of strategic amorality, ruthlessness, and resource mobilization in state building, and about why ancient Chinese states outperformed European states in these areas." Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University

"Victoria Hui has successfully executed a stunningly bold macro-historical comparison, while bringing to light the workings of a fascinating international system. Scholarship on state making and system transformation in ancient China and modern Europe and, indeed, in other international systems, past, present, and future must contend with her arguments and evidence."
William Wohlforth, Dartmouth College

"Dr. Hui offers us a challenging reinterpretation of modern European history by a bold and original comparison with the period of state formation in China. In doing so, she challenges some dominant theories both in the theory of state formation and in international relations theory. The boldness of the method will provoke controversy, but nothing could be more valuable, for both historians and political scientists, than to understand European history in comparative perspective. This unusual work will be of great interest, not only to students and scholars of European and Chinese history, but also to those concerned with understanding contemporary global politics."
Michael Freeman, University of Essex

"It is rare to encounter an analysis as attentive to detail and method, yet broad in the scope of its implications as that by Victoria Tin-Bor Hui. Her book embarks on a macro-historical study of world politics and provides a sophisticated comparative history of the Chinese and European state systems... It is the kind of book that is bound to trigger debate and it invites (if not beckons) its readers to pursue further the ideas discussed on its pages."
Emilian Kavalski, University of Alberta, Political Studies Review

"Victoria Hui's stimulating book represents an important contribution to the fields of political science, sociology and history that can be read with profit by Europeanists and Sinologists alike." - Thomas Ertman

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