Pan-Islamism, Pan-Asianism, and the Revolt against the West
The idea of Europe among non-Western elites from the early nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century embodies one of the most arresting paradoxes of modern global history. From the 1880s to the 1930s, non-Western elites contributed to the ‘end of European hegemony in Asia’ with their ‘revolt against the West’, while at the same time their own legitimacy and self-identity were initially shaped, and continued to be strongly influenced by, Eurocentric notions of civilization and modernity. The chapter argues against the idea of a single universal Western civilization, but complicates the argument by showing that this idea was preserved by non-Western elites when they challenged the idea of the ‘civilizing mission’ of the West. In particular, the pan-Islamist ideology of the Ottoman Empire and the pan-Asian ideology of twentieth-century Japan are compared and analysed as efforts to both resist as well as assimilate some aspects of Western civilization.
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