Between the seventh and the fourteenth centuries, eastern Eurasia underwent revolutionary changes in economy, society, ideology, politics and ecological circumstances. The first three of these areas have received considerable scholarly attention, primarily focused on what we now call China. However, we have much less understanding of political structures and the impact of new ecological circumstances, particularly as they apply across the whole of eastern Eurasia. This paper sketches a hypothesis that political structures formed a single system across much of northern Eurasia through the tenth century, and considers how later changes, including those outside ‘China’, were driven – or not – by the ‘opening’ of the south and the development of new political arrangements. The goal is to offer worked examples towards a more holistic approach to eastern Eurasia as a world region.
A reception will follow.