Timothy Brook - Author

About the Author

Timothy Brook was Shaw Professor of Chinese at Oxford when he first saw the Selden Map, and is now professor of history at the University of British Columbia. The author of eight books on Chinese history, his most widely read book is Vermeer's Hat [9781846681127].

Featured books by Timothy Brook

Mr Selden's Map of China The Spice Trade, a Lost Chart & the South China Sea

Mr Selden's Map of China The Spice Trade, a Lost Chart & the South China Sea

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/02/2015

In 1659, a vast and unusual map of China arrived in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It was bequeathed by John Selden, a London business lawyer, political activist, former convict, MP and the city's first Orientalist scholar. Largely ignored, it remained in the bowels of the library, until called up by an inquisitive reader. When Timothy Brook saw it in 2009, he realised that the Selden Map was 'a puzzle that had to be solved': an exceptional artefact, so unsettlingly modern-looking it could almost be a forgery. But it was genuine, and what it has to tell us is astonishing. It shows China, not cut off from the world, but a participant in the embryonic networks of global trade that fuelled the rise of Europe - and which now power China's ascent. And it raises as many question as it answers: how did John Selden acquire it? Where did it come from? Who re-imagined the world in this way? And most importantly - what can it tell us about the world at that time? Brook, like a cartographic detective, has provided answers - including a surprising last-minute revelation of authorship. From the Gobi Desert to the Philippines, from Java to Tibet and into China itself, Brook uses the map (actually a schematic representation of China's relation to astrological heaven) to tease out the varied elements that defined this crucial period in China's history.

Other books by Timothy Brook

Sacred Mandates Asian International Relations Since Chinggis Khan

Sacred Mandates Asian International Relations Since Chinggis Khan

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/06/2018

Contemporary discussions of international relations in Asia tend to be tethered in the present, unmoored from the historical contexts that give them meaning. Sacred Mandates, edited by Timothy Brook, Michael van Walt van Praag, and Miek Boltjes, redresses this oversight by examining the complex history of inter-polity relations in Inner and East Asia from the thirteenth century to the twentieth, in order to help us understand and develop policies to address challenges in the region today. This book argues that understanding the diversity of past legal orders helps explain the forms of contemporary conflict, as well as the conflicting historical narratives that animate tensions. Rather than proceed sequentially by way of dynasties, the editors identify three worlds --Chingssid Mongol, Tibetan Buddhist, and Confucian Sinic--that represent different forms of civilization authority and legal order. This novel framework enables us to escape the modern tendency to view the international system solely as the interaction of independent states, and instead detect the effects of the complicated history at play between and within regions. Contributors from a wide range of disciplines cover a host of topics: the development of international law, sovereignty, state formation, ruler legitimacy, and imperial expansion, as well as the role of spiritual authority on state behavior, the impact of modernization, and the challenges for peace processes. The culmination of five years of collaborative research, Sacred Mandates will be the definitive historical guide to international and intrastate relations in Asia, of interest to policymakers and scholars alike, for years to come.

Mr Selden's Map of China The Spice Trade, a Lost Chart & the South China Sea

Mr Selden's Map of China The Spice Trade, a Lost Chart & the South China Sea

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/02/2015

In 1659, a vast and unusual map of China arrived in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It was bequeathed by John Selden, a London business lawyer, political activist, former convict, MP and the city's first Orientalist scholar. Largely ignored, it remained in the bowels of the library, until called up by an inquisitive reader. When Timothy Brook saw it in 2009, he realised that the Selden Map was 'a puzzle that had to be solved': an exceptional artefact, so unsettlingly modern-looking it could almost be a forgery. But it was genuine, and what it has to tell us is astonishing. It shows China, not cut off from the world, but a participant in the embryonic networks of global trade that fuelled the rise of Europe - and which now power China's ascent. And it raises as many question as it answers: how did John Selden acquire it? Where did it come from? Who re-imagined the world in this way? And most importantly - what can it tell us about the world at that time? Brook, like a cartographic detective, has provided answers - including a surprising last-minute revelation of authorship. From the Gobi Desert to the Philippines, from Java to Tibet and into China itself, Brook uses the map (actually a schematic representation of China's relation to astrological heaven) to tease out the varied elements that defined this crucial period in China's history.

The Troubled Empire China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties

The Troubled Empire China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2013

The Mongol takeover in the 1270s changed the course of Chinese history. The Confucian empire - a millennium and a half in the making - was suddenly thrust under foreign occupation. What China had been before its reunification as the Yuan dynasty in 1279 was no longer what it would be in the future. Four centuries later, another wave of steppe invaders would replace the Ming dynasty with yet another foreign occupation. The Troubled Empire explores what happened to China between these two dramatic invasions. If anything defined the complex dynamics of this period, it was changes in the weather. Asia, like Europe, experienced a Little Ice Age , and as temperatures fell in the thirteenth century, Kublai Khan moved south into China. His Yuan dynasty collapsed in less than a century, but Mongol values lived on in Ming institutions. A second blast of cold in the 1630s, combined with drought, was more than the dynasty could stand, and the Ming fell to Manchu invaders. Against this background - the first coherent ecological history of China in this period - Timothy Brook explores the growth of autocracy, social complexity, and commercialization, paying special attention to China's incorporation into the larger South China Sea economy. These changes not only shaped what China would become but contributed to the formation of the early modern world.

Vermeer's Hat The seventeenth century and the dawn of the global world

Vermeer's Hat The seventeenth century and the dawn of the global world

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/07/2009

In one painting, a Dutch military officer leans toward a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. In a third, fruit spills from a porcelain bowl onto a Turkish carpet. The officer's dashing hat is made of beaver fur, which European explorers got from Native Americans in exchange for weapons. Beaver pelts, in turn, financed the voyages of sailors seeking new routes to China. There - with silver mined in Peru - Europeans would purchase, by the thousands, the porcelain so often shown in Dutch paintings of this time. Vermeer's haunting images hint at the stories behind these exquisitely rendered moments. As Timothy Brook shows us in Vermeer's Hat, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually open doors onto a rapidly expanding world.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Author: Timothy Brook, Jerome Bourgon, Gregory Blue Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2008

In a public square in Beijing in 1904, multiple murderer Wang Weiqin was executed before a crowd of onlookers. He was among the last to suffer the extreme punishment known as lingchi. Called by Western observers death by a thousand cuts or death by slicing, this penalty was reserved for the very worst crimes in imperial China.A unique interdisciplinary history, Death by a Thousand Cuts is the first book to explore the history, iconography, and legal contexts of Chinese tortures and executions from the tenth century until lingchi's abolition in 1905. The authors then turn their attention to an in-depth investigation of oriental tortures in the Western imagination. While early modern Europeans often depicted Chinese institutions as rational, nineteenth- and twentieth-century readers consumed pictures of lingchi executions as titillating curiosities and evidence of moral inferiority. By examining these works in light of European conventions associated with despotic government, Christian martyrdom, and ecstatic suffering, the authors unpack the stereotype of innate Chinese cruelty and explore the mixture of fascination and revulsion that has long characterized the West's encounter with other civilizations.Compelling and thought-provoking, Death by a Thousand Cuts questions the logic by which states justify tormenting individuals and the varied ways by which human beings have exploited the symbolism of bodily degradation for political aims.

The Chinese State in Ming Society

The Chinese State in Ming Society

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/11/2004

The Ming dynasty (1368-1644), a period of commercial expansion and cultural innovation, fashioned the relationship between state and society in Chinese history. This unique collection of reworked and heavily illustrated essays, by one of the leading scholars of Chinese history, re-examines this relationship. It argues that, contrary to previous scholarship, it was radical responses within society that led to a 'constitution', not periods of fluctuation within the dynasty itself. Brook's outstanding scholarship demonstrates that it was changes in commercial relations and social networks that were actually responsible for the development of a stable society. This imaginative reconsidering of existing scholarship on the history of China will be fascinating reading for scholars and students interested in China's development.

The Chinese State in Ming Society

The Chinese State in Ming Society

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/11/2004

The Ming dynasty (1368-1644), a period of commercial expansion and cultural innovation, fashioned the relationship between state and society in Chinese history. This unique collection of reworked and heavily illustrated essays, by one of the leading scholars of Chinese history, re-examines this relationship. It argues that, contrary to previous scholarship, it was radical responses within society that led to a 'constitution', not periods of fluctuation within the dynasty itself. Brook's outstanding scholarship demonstrates that it was changes in commercial relations and social networks that were actually responsible for the development of a stable society. This imaginative reconsidering of existing scholarship on the history of China will be fascinating reading for scholars and students interested in China's development.

China and Historical Capitalism Genealogies of Sinological Knowledge

China and Historical Capitalism Genealogies of Sinological Knowledge

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/09/2002

This book addresses the historical relationship that has arisen between the concept of capitalism and the idea of China. Formulated by European intellectuals in order to identify the social formation in which they found themselves, capitalism was portrayed as unique to Europe and as an organic outgrowth of Western civilization. In this way, China was rejected as a model of civilization, and seen merely as despotic, feudal or stagnant. This Eurocentric judgement has hung over all subsequent thinking about China, even influencing Chinese perceptions of their own history. The aim of this collaborative project is to examine how the experience of capitalism as a European social formation and as a world-system has shaped knowledge of China. In addition the volume aims to establish new foundations on which a theory of Chinese society might be built, in order to perceive and understand Chinese development in less Eurocentric terms.

Nation Work Asian Elites and National Identities

Nation Work Asian Elites and National Identities

Author: Timothy Brook, Andre Schmid Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/11/2000

As increasing attention is drawn to globalization, questions arise about the fate of the nation, a political and social unit that for centuries has seemed the common-sense way to organize the world. In Nation Work, Timothy Brook and Andr Schmid draw together eight essays that use historical examples from Asian countries--China, India, Korea, and Japan--to enrich our understandings of the origin and growth of nations. Asia provides fertile ground for this inquiry, the volume argues, because in Asia the history of the modern nation has been inseparable from global influences in the form of Western imperialism. Yet, while the impetus for building a modern national identity may have come from the need to fashion a favorable place in a world system dominated by Western nations, those engaged in nationalist enterprises found their particular voices more often in relation to tensions within Asia than in relation to more generic tensions between Asia and the West. With topics ranging from public health measures in nineteenth-century Japan through textual scholarship of Tamil intellectuals, the willful division of Korea's history from China's, the development of China's cotton industry, and the meaning of postnational-ism for Chinese artists, the essays reveal the fascinating array of sites at which nation work can take place. This will be essential reading for historians and social scientists interested in Asia. Timothy Brook is Professor of History, Stanford University. Andr Schmid is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto.

Opium Regimes China, Britain, and Japan, 1839-1952

Opium Regimes China, Britain, and Japan, 1839-1952

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/08/2000

Opium is more than just a drug extracted from poppies. Over the past two centuries it has been a palliative medicine, an addictive substance, a powerful mechanism for concentrating and transferring wealth and power between nations, and the anchor for a now vanished sociocultural world in and around China. Opium Regimes integrates the pioneering research of sixteen scholars to show that the opium trade was not purely a British operation but involved Chinese merchants, Chinese state agents, and Japanese imperialists as well. The book presents a coherent historical arc that moves from British imperialism in the nineteenth century, to Chinese capital formation and state making at the turn of the century, to Japanese imperialism through the 1930s and 1940s, and finally to the apparent resolution of China's opium problem in the early 1950s. Together these essays show that the complex interweaving of commodity trading, addiction, and state intervention in opium's history refigured the historical face of East Asia more profoundly than any other commodity.

Nation Work Asian Elites and National Identities

Nation Work Asian Elites and National Identities

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/01/2000

Documents on the Rape of Nanking

Documents on the Rape of Nanking

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/1999

The Japanese Army's invasion of China in 1937 was the first step toward a hemispheric war that would last until the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. What ended in one atrocity began with another: the savage military takeover of China's capital city, which quickly became known as the Rape of Nanking. The Japanese Army's conduct from December 1937 to February 1938 constitutes one of the most barbarous events not just of the war but of the century. The violence was documented at the time and then redocumented during the war crimes trial in Tokyo after the war. This book brings together materials from both moments to provide the first comprehensive dossier of primary sources on the Rape. Part 1, The Records, includes two sources written as the Rape was underway. The first is a long set of documents produced by the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, a group of foreigners who strove to protect the Chinese residents. The second is a series of letters that American surgeon Dr. Robert Wilson wrote for his family during the same period. These letters are published here for the first time. The evidence compiled by the International Committee and its members would be decisive for the indictments against Japanese leaders at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo. Part 2, The Judgments, reprints portions of the tribunal's 1948 judgment dealing with the Rape of Nanking, its judicial consequences, and sections of the dissenting judgment of Justice Radhabinod Pal. These contemporary records and judgments create an intimate firsthand account of the Rape of Nanking. Together they are intended to stimulate deeper reflection than previously possible on how and why we assess and assign the burden of war guilt. Timothy Brook is Professor of Chinese History and Associate Director of the Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies, University of Toronto, and is coeditor of Nation Work: Asian Elites and National Identities and Culture and Economy: The Shaping of Capitalism in Eastern Asia , both published by the University of Michigan Press.

The Confusions of Pleasure Commerce and Culture in Ming China

The Confusions of Pleasure Commerce and Culture in Ming China

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/08/1999

The Ming dynasty was the last great Chinese dynasty before the Manchu conquest in 1644. During that time, China, not Europe, was the center of the world: the European voyages of exploration were searching not just for new lands but also for new trade routes to the Far East. In this book, Timothy Brook eloquently narrates the changing landscape of life over the three centuries of the Ming (1368-1644), when China was transformed from a closely administered agrarian realm into a place of commercial profits and intense competition for status. The Confusions of Pleasure marks a significant departure from the conventional ways in which Chinese history has been written. Rather than recounting the Ming dynasty in a series of political events and philosophical achievements, it narrates this longue duree in terms of the habits and strains of everyday life. Peppered with stories of real people and their negotiations of a rapidly changing world, this book provides a new way of seeing the Ming dynasty that not only contributes to the scholarly understanding of the period but also provides an entertaining and accessible introduction to Chinese history for anyone.

China and Historical Capitalism Genealogies of Sinological Knowledge

China and Historical Capitalism Genealogies of Sinological Knowledge

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/1999

This book addresses the historical relationship that has arisen between the concept of capitalism and the idea of China. Formulated by European intellectuals in order to identify the social formation in which they found themselves, capitalism was portrayed as unique to Europe and as an organic outgrowth of Western civilization. In this way, China was rejected as a model of civilization, and seen merely as despotic, feudal or stagnant. This Eurocentric judgement has hung over all subsequent thinking about China, even influencing Chinese perceptions of their own history. The aim of this collaborative project is to examine how the experience of capitalism as a European social formation and as a world-system has shaped knowledge of China. In addition the volume aims to establish new foundations on which a theory of Chinese society might be built, in order to perceive and understand Chinese development in less Eurocentric terms.

Culture and Economy The Shaping of Capitalism in Eastern Asia

Culture and Economy The Shaping of Capitalism in Eastern Asia

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/1999

In recent years, most of the economies of Eastern Asia have been absorbed into global capitalism. Capitalism has transformed these economies, but the process has not been one-way. The cultures of Eastern Asia have in turn shaped how capitalism organizes labor, capital, and markets in ways that could not have been anticipated even ten years ago. On the basis of rich empirical analyses of East and Southeast Asia, and with theoretical insights from different approaches in the social sciences, Culture and Economy addresses these issues in both macroscopic and microscopic terms. Specific topics discussed range from the use and reinvention of Confucian and Islamic legacies in South Korea and Malaysia to promote a particular vision of the economy, to the role of family- and network-structured firms and the reliance on trust-based personal networks in Southeast Asia, to the cultures of labor and management in Chinese village enterprises and Vietnamese ceramics firms, as well as in South Korean export processing zones and the current Chinese labor market. These careful case studies suggest that it is inevitable that Eastern Asia will shape, even remake, capitalism into a system of production and consumption beyond its original definition. Timothy Brook is Professor of History, Stanford University. Hy V. Luong is Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto.

Civil Society in China

Civil Society in China

Author: Timothy Brook, B. Michael Frolic Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/07/1997

The concept of civil society was borrowed from 18th-century Europe to provide a framework for understanding the transition to post-authoritarian regimes in Latin America and post-communist regimes elsewhere. This book asks whether this concept is useful for analyzing China.

Civil Society in China

Civil Society in China

Author: Timothy Brook, B. Michael Frolic Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/07/1997

The concept of civil society was borrowed from 18th-century Europe to provide a framework for understanding the transition to post-authoritarian regimes in Latin America and post-communist regimes elsewhere. This book asks whether this concept is useful for analyzing China.

Praying for Power Buddhism and the Formation of Gentry Society in Late-Ming China

Praying for Power Buddhism and the Formation of Gentry Society in Late-Ming China

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/1994

In 17th and 18th century China, Buddhists and Confucians alike flooded local Buddhist monasteries with donations As gentry numbers grew faster than the imperial bureaucracy, traditional Confucian careers were closed to many; but visible philanthropy could publicize elite status outside the state realm. Actively sought by fund-raising abbots, such patronage affected institutional Buddhism. After exploring the relation of Buddhism to Ming Neo-Confucianism, the growth of tourism to Buddhist sites, and the mechanisms and motives for charitable donations, Timothy Brook studies three widely separated and economically dissimilar counties. He draws on rich data in monastic gazetteers to examine the patterns and social consequences of patronage.

The Asiatic Mode of Production in China

The Asiatic Mode of Production in China

Author: Timothy Brook Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/01/1989

Brook (history, U. of Toronto) surveys the history of the concept of the AMP (a concept formulated by Karl Marx in the 1850s) in China in relation to debates elsewhere, and examines the particular issues raised in recent Chinese discussions. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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