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Few aspects of the history of modern empires are of such significance as their economics and politics. These factors are inextricably linked in many analyses, have generated extensive historiographical debate and are currently the subject of some of the freshest and liveliest scholarship. The articles and chapters which are brought together in this volume relate not only to the European colonial empires, but also to the Napoleonic, Russian and Japanese empires. The collection is strongly comparative in approach with the articles arranged into thematic sections on: the place of politics and economics in the rise and fall of modern empires; the causal relationship between modern empires and colonial, global, and metropolitan economic transformations; and the 'technologies of rule' which provided the frameworks through which colonial economies were managed, and rights defined. The collection reflects new approaches, as well as the continuing importance of issues addressed in an older historiography, and the thematic arrangement produces useful juxtapositions of older and newer literatures. The substantial introduction explores the themes and identifies key historiographical trends in relation to each.