A World History of Political Thought
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A World History of Political Thought

J. Babb

A World History of Political Thought is an outstanding and innovative work with profound significance for the study of the history of political thought, providing a wide-ranging, detailed and global overview of political thought from 600 BC to the 21st century. Treating both western and non-western systems of political thought as equal and placing them as they should be; side by side.
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Chapter 8: Renaissance and revival (1300–1540)

J. Babb


Renaissance or “rebirth” is an apt description of the political thought around the world at this time and not just in Western Europe. The new form of Literati thought, termed “neo-Confucianism” became the basis for political reform throughout in East Asia, most notably Jeong Dojeon in Joseon Korea but also Kitabatake Chikafusa in Japan, though the latter with much less success. It is also when one of the most important Islamic thinkers, Ibn Khaldun, wrote his work on the dynamics of the rise and fall of civilization. Established Muslim states were challenged by newcomers but Islam itself was expanding in north Africa and throughout south Asia and considered a progressive force for good. Of course, the term “renaissance” is normally used for the movement in the West that began with humanism and ended with the amoral realpolitik of Machiavelli, though one should also point out that humanist influence was important from the time of Christine de Pizan, the first woman political thinker for whom we have an authored text, to the work of Erasmus, who extended humanism beyond Italy to the rest of Europe.

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