“It’s the first work of global history that has what we might now qualify as a social scientific theory, instead of just representing history as providential—although Ibn Khaldun is a fatalist: he does believe that everything is in the hands of God. But he sees God as working in history through what we might call social mechanisms, in particular through the antipathy, the struggle, the dialectic, if you like, between settled and pastoral peoples.
He has an idea of a development of society through pastoral to settled conditions. He sees people who are at different stages in that process of development, and connects that to the struggles that forge historical change. The sort of changes he is interested in are primarily changes of dynasty, of power structure at a very high level. But he does have an overall vision, a pattern, what we might now call a ‘master narrative’ of how those changes happened. So he’s a very exciting new voice in global history in the 14th century.” Read more...
The best books on Global History