Anthony J. Barbieri-Low, "Ancient Egypt and Early China: State, Society, and Culture" (U Washington Press, 2021)


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One would think that comparing civilizations as far removed in time and space as Ancient Egypt and Ancient China might not reveal much. Yet Professor Tony Barbieri’s Ancient Egypt and Early China: State, Society, and Culture (University of Washington Press: 2021) gleans much from a deeply-researched comparison of political structures, diplomatic relations, legal systems, ideas of the afterlife, and other aspects.

In other words, despite being separated by thousands of years and thousands of kilometers, the proto-empires of Egypt and China have a surprising amount of things in common.

A lecture detailing Professor Barbieri’s book can be found on YouTube here.

In this interview, Professor Barbieri and I talk about the various similarities and differences between these two ancient civilizations, and what we can learn from engaging in such a comparative study.

Anthony J. Barbieri-Low is professor of history at the University of California Santa Barbara. His book Artisans in Early Imperial China won top prizes from the Association for Asian Studies, American Historical Association, College Art Association, and International Convention of Asia Scholars. He can be followed on Twitter at @ABarbieriLow

You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Ancient Egypt and Early China. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.

Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.

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