Request Inspection Copy

If you are an Academic or Teacher and wish to consider this book as a prescribed textbook for your course, you may be eligible for a complimentary inspection copy. Please complete this form, including information about your position, campus and course, before adding to cart.

* Required Fields

To complete your Inspection Copy Request you will need to click the Checkout button in the right margin and complete the checkout formalities. You can include Inspection Copies and purchased items in the same shopping cart, see our Inspection Copy terms for further information.

Any Questions? Please email our text Support Team on


Email this to a friend

* ALL required Fields

Order Inspection Copy

An inspection copy has been added to your shopping cart

Empire of Civilization: The Evolution of an Imperial Idea

by Brett Bowden University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 320 pages
AU$83.00 NZ$86.09
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
& Academics:
The term 'civilization'; comes with considerable baggage, dichotomizing people, cultures, and histories as and ldquo;civilized and rdquo; and mdash;or not. While the idea of civilization has been deployed throughout history to justify all manner of interventions and sociopolitical engineering, few scholars have stopped to consider what the concept actually means. Here, Brett Bowden examines how the idea of civilization has informed our thinking about international relations over the course of ten centuries.

From the Crusades to the colonial era to the global war on terror, this sweeping volume exposes and ldquo;civilization and rdquo; as a stage-managed account of history that legitimizes imperialism, uniformity, and conformity to Western standards, culminating in a liberal-democratic global order. Along the way, Bowden explores the variety of confrontations and conquests and mdash;as well as those peoples and places excluded or swept aside and mdash;undertaken in the name of civilization. Concluding that the and ldquo;West and the rest and rdquo; have more commonalities than differences, this provocative and engaging book ultimately points the way toward an authentic intercivilizational dialogue that emphasizes cooperation over clashes.

Preface and Acknowledgments

A Note on Spelling

1 Introduction: Guizot’s Question: Universal Civilization?

Part One: Civilization, Progress, and History: Universals All?

2 The Ideal of Civilization: Its Origins, Meanings, and Implications

3 Civilization and the Idea of Progress

4 The Notion of Universal Civilization: One End for All?

Part Two: The Art and Science of Empire

5 The Expansion of Europe and the Classical Standard of Civilization

6 The Burden of Civilization and the “Art and Science of Colonization”

Part Three: New Barbarism, Old Civilization, Revived Imperialism

7 New Barbarism and the Test of Modernity

8 The “New Realities” of Imperialism

9 Conclusion: The Future of Intercivilizational Relations




GÇ£This fascinating book traces the concept to the Enlightenment, when it evolved along with Western visions of progress and modernity as many Europeans looked at the rest of the world and saw the task of civilizing 'backward' peoples as 'the white man's burden.' . . . In his most provocative claim, Bowden argues that today's 'new imperialism''military interventions, nation building, and financial intrusions led by the International Monetary Fund'draws on deeply embedded assumptions about Western standards of civilization.n++?
Brett Bowden is senior lecturer in politics at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra.