Crossing Empires: Taking U.S. History into Transimperial Terrain

Weaving U.S. history into the larger fabric of world history, the contributors to Crossing Empires de-exceptionalize the American empire, placing it in a global transimperial context. They draw attention to the breadth of U.S. entanglements with other empires to illuminate the scope and nature of American global power as it reached from the Bering Sea to Australia and East Africa to the Caribbean. With case studies ranging from the 1830s to the late twentieth century, the contributors address topics including diplomacy, governance, anticolonialism, labor, immigration, medicine, religion, and race. Their transimperial approach—whether exemplified in examinations of U.S. steel corporations partnering with British imperialists to build the Ugandan railway or the U.S. reliance on other empires in its governance of the Philippines—transcends histories of interimperial rivalries and conflicts. In so doing, the contributors illuminate the power dynamics of seemingly transnational histories and the imperial origins of contemporary globality.

Crossing Empires makes a compelling case that a transimperial history is necessary if we are to lay bare the power dynamics structuring transnationalism and globalization. The essays present rich empirical case studies that show how transimperial connections buttressed imperial rule and sustained colonial violence and exploitation while they simultaneously integrated the world into tighter global circuits of capital, culture, technology, and power. A welcome addition to the scholarship on U.S. imperialism and comparative empires.” —Kornel Chang, author of Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands

“This excellent, accessible, and carefully curated collection recenters United States history in the most powerful of ways. Superbly deploying the concept of the transimperial in an astonishing array of case studies, this volume offers vital new understandings of imperial formations and will help scholars identify important new directions and questions in the study of global empires.” —Daniel E. Bender, coeditor of Making the Empire Work: Labor and United States Imperialism

Duke University Press, January 2020

Kristin Hoganson is Professor of History at University of Illinois, and author of a number of books, most recently The Heartland: An American History (Penguin Press, 2019).

Jay Sexton is Professor of History at University of Missouri and the Endowed Chair in Constitutional Democracy at the Kinder Institute. He is the author of a number of books, most recently A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History (Basic Books, 2018).