Lecture | Annual Leiden Terra Incognita Lecture
Dark Matters of History: Uncovering Nomadic Empires
- Pekka Hämäläinen (University of Oxford)
- Friday 6 December 2019
2311 SR Leiden
The first Leiden Terra Incognita Lecture in Colonial and Global History.
Comments by prof. Maarten Prak (UU) and prof. Hilde De Weerdt (LU)
This lecture compares two expansionist nomadic empires, the Mongol Empire in Eurasia and the Comanche Empire in North America. Although drastically different in size, both relied on similar strategies in building their respective power regimes. The talk will make a case for nomadic empires that were structurally different from European colonial and settler empires that relied on direct institutional control and needed predictability to flourish. By contrast, the Mongol and Comanche empires are “kinetic empires” that relied on mobile power politics and thrived by keeping things – violence, markets, attachments, and themselves – fluid and in motion.
The lecture will be published as a booklet to be distributed during the lecture.
Pekka Hämäläinen is the Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University and a Fellow at St. Catherine’s College. He is the author of The Comanche Empire, which received twelve books awards and recognitions, including the Bancroft Prize and the Merle Curti Award. In 2014-19, he served as the Principal Investigator of a five-year research project on nomadic empires in world history, funded by the European Research Council. His new book, Lakota America: The New History of Indigenous Power, has just come out from Yale University Press.
The Leiden Terra Incognita Lecture is an annual lecture organized by the research group Colonial and Global History (COGLO) of the Institute for History at Leiden University, and has the aim to explore the historiographical frontiers of the field of colonial and global history.