State Formation, Part 1: Premodern States Reconsidered
The emphasis now is on the heterogeneity of premodern polities. Did all premodern empires, for example, share the same traits? How did ancient empires differ from each other and from Medieval, Early Modern ones, or nation-states? Did nationalism, for example, exist in the ancient world? What were the connections between social networks and central political power? That has been a major and contentious issue for some time. How does a comparative historical framework help? This panel brings together experts in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Early Modern European and Chinese history as well as historical sociologists, and a population biologist, to reconsider structure and dynamics of ancient polities, the determinants of state size and durability, and how we can best understand social complexity and social dynamics within pre-modern states.