Migration in World History, 2nd Ed

By Lamb, Connie | Comparative Civilizations Review, Spring 2017 | Go to article overview

Migration in World History, 2nd Ed


Lamb, Connie, Comparative Civilizations Review


Patrick Manning, Migration in World History, 2nd ed.. Routledge, 2013.

Reviewed by Connie Lamb

This book is part of the series, Themes in World History, which proposes to provide exciting, new and wide-ranging surveys of the important themes of world history. Each theme is examined over a broad period of time allowing analysis of continuities and change. Manning's book certainly fits this pattern, in its broad time coverage, analysis of local movements, and historical methods for discussing migration. Manning defines human migration simply as the "movement from one place to another and from one social context to another" (191).

Patrick Manning is a well-known world historian and is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a specialist on Africa and has written many books and articles on world history and African topics. Besides being a teacher and author, Manning is the president of the World History Network, Inc. a nonprofit corporation fostering research and graduate study in world history. His education includes a BS in chemistry with a minor in history from the California Institute of Technology and a Masters in history and economics as well as a PhD in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was trained as a specialist in the economic history of Africa and went on to explore demographic, social, and cultural patterns in Africa and the African diaspora. Manning has published numerous articles and several books and teaches classes on world history and interdisciplinary methodology, the use of which is evident in his world migration book. He has been active in the American Historical Association and is currently serving as the President of that society.

This book on migration seems to build on his past work about Africa and global history, especially two of his books, World History: Global and Local Interactions (2005) and Migration History in World History (2010). Migration in World History is organized chronologically but by topic within time periods. There are many books on migration, but Manning's has a unique approach, covering the entire history of the world with a broad scope of places and topics. Most other authors discuss current migrations globally or focus on particular places or peoples.

Chapter one, as the introduction, talks about modeling patterns of human migration, giving various methods of research and Manning's own way of studying local and global human migration. Chapter two covers the emergence of human beings and their earliest migrations to 40,000 BP. The next seven chapters discuss large time periods and issues that characterize them: peopling northern and American regions, agriculture, commerce, modes of movement, spanning the oceans, labor for industry and empire, and urbanization to 2000.

Many disciplines may be used to study migration including sociology, anthropology, economics, linguistics, history, archaeology, demographics, genetics, chemistry and political science. Manning sets out his theory or model of migration by defining a human community as the speakers of a given language, so he bases his work mainly on linguistics. He then identifies four categories of human migration: home-community migration, colonization, whole-community migration, and cross-community migration. Manning focuses mainly on the last one: cross-community migration (7).

Cross-community migrants are generally rather small in number and the author categorizes them as settlers, sojourners, itinerants and invaders. Settlers are those who move to join an existing community with the intent to remain there; sojourners are those moving to a new community with the intent to return to their home community; itinerants move from community to community but have no single home to which they expect to return; invaders are those who arrive as a group in a community with the objective of seizing control rather than joining. …

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