Introduction
Violence and the early modern world
in A global history of early modern violence

This co-authored introduction analyses how violence was described, defined, and measured across the early modern world, eschewing Western categories and narratives and applying a global approach in their stead. By focusing on large-scale violence, it highlights the fundamental relationship between violence and growing interconnectedness across the early modern world. It endorses the broader view that violence includes both physical actions and coercive threats of physical action, and that it should be understood as a transgression that is socially defined. Early modernity is defined as the period between the mid fifteenth and early nineteenth centuries, while recognizing that any attempt to delineate epochs faces the difficulty of imposing a single framework on something as complex as the history of the world. Global history is used as a methodology to analyse large-scale violence more precisely by providing detailed case studies of violence in a range of local contexts, and to articulate the significance of violence in narratives of state and empire-building, as well as in narratives of decline and fall. Finally, the volume’s thematic structure is outlined, and comparisons and contrasts are drawn between the thirteen case studies.

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