this book began with a horrific image of public executions in Beijing.The
elements to be found in that image signaled the two sides of imperial peda-
gogy: the punitive and the constructive, the deterritorialization and reterri-
torialization of China. Although China-centered historians have addressed
referred to as English lessons or their global implications, preferring instead
to interpret imperialism as an unfortunate eﬀect of a quasi-natural Euro-
american expansion and to declare colonialism irrelevant to the China case.
tended to treat the West as a known quantity requiring little if any further
interrogation. Here I have attempted to build on and reach beyond the geo-
graphical and theoretical characteristics of China-centered approaches and
address the following questions: What was colonial about Euroamerican ac-
tivities in nineteenth-century China? What forms of political and material
development in Europe and North America aﬀected other parts of theworld?
How can these transnational processes be clarified by a study of their eﬀects
There is certainly no question that by the usual standards through which