Building on his long career as a distinguished historian of early modern Europe, John Miles Headley has recently turned his gaze to the influence of Europe in the larger world. In The Europeanization of the World
, Headley makes an insistent case for the uniqueness of European values—particularly human rights and democracy—and argues that these values are Europe’s most precious gifts to the larger world. Without seeking to diminish the remarkable intellectual and cultural achievements of European peoples, this presentation will suggest a more nuanced view of relations between Europe and the larger world. Human rights and democracy mean different things to different peoples in different contexts at different times, and there have in fact been numerous expressions of both in societies beyond Europe. Furthermore, European theorists of human rights and democracy drew influence from societies beyond Europe. To the extent that the Europeanization of the world is a persuasive idea, it is possible only because of a prior globalization of Europe.