Victor Lieberman's Strange Parallels is the culmination of an extended effort to compare many major polities of the Eurasian continent in the early modern age. Lieberman finds common cycles of administrative integration and disintegration that were increasingly synchronized over time. Although he does not give a single-factor explanation for this synchronization, his model provides a common vocabulary for political, economic, and cultural analysis that can inspire all comparative world historians. China, however, is missing from this analysis, even though its dynastic cycles share much with the other polities. China's ambivalent position in Eurasia deserves comparative study because of divergent interpretations of Chinese dynastic relations with frontier warriors, the strong influence of Chinese trade and power on its neighbors' polities, and China's long-lasting cultural and bureaucratic tradition.


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pp. 263-279
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