New Book | The Global Lives of Things

Posted in books by Editor on March 2, 2016

Published in December by Routledge:

Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Riello, eds., The Global Lives of Things: The Material Culture of Connections in the Early Modern World (New York: Routledge, 2015), 266 pages, paperback ISBN: 978-1138776753, $50 / hardback ISBN: 978-1138776661, $160.

9781138776753The Global Lives of Things considers the ways in which ‘things’, ranging from commodities to works of art and precious materials, participated in the shaping of global connections in the period 1400–1800. By focusing on the material exchange between Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia, this volume traces the movements of objects through human networks of commerce, colonialism and consumption. It argues that material objects mediated between the forces of global economic exchange and the constantly changing identities of individuals, as they were drawn into global circuits. It proposes a reconceptualization of early modern global history in the light of its material culture by asking the question: what can we learn about the early modern world by studying its objects?

This exciting new collection draws together the latest scholarship in the study of material culture and offers students a critique and explanation of the notion of commodity and a reinterpretation of the meaning of exchange. It engages with the concepts of ‘proto-globalization’, ‘the first global age’ and ‘commodities/consumption’. Divided into three parts, the volume considers in Part One, Objects of Global Knowledge, in Part Two, Objects of Global Connections, and finally, in Part Three, Objects of Global Consumption. The collection concludes with afterwords from three of the leading historians in the field, Maxine Berg, Suraiya Faroqhi and Paula Findlen, who offer their critical view of the methodologies and themes considered in the book and place its arguments within the wider field of scholarship. Extensively illustrated, and with chapters examining case studies from Northern Europe to China and Australia, this book will be essential reading for students of global history.

Anne Gerritsen is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Warwick. Her previous publications include Ji’an Literati and the Local in Song-Yuan-Ming China (2007).

Giorgio Riello is Professor in the Department of History at the University of Warwick. In addition to several edited collections, he is the author of A Foot in the Past (2006) and Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (2013).

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Introduction The Global Lives of Things: Material Culture in the First Global Age, Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Riello

Part I: Objects of Global Knowledge
1  Itineraries of Matter and Knowledge in the Early Modern World, Pamela Smith
2  Towards a Global History of Shagreen, Christine Guth
3  The Coral Network: The Trade of Red Coral to the Qing Imperial Court in the Eighteenth Century, Pippa Lacey

Part II: Objects of Global Connections
4  Beyond the Kunstkammer: Brazilian Featherwork and the Northern European Court Festivals, Mariana Françozo
5  The Empire in the Duke’s Palace: Global Material Culture in Sixteenth-century Portugal, Nuno Senos
6  Dishes, Coins and Pipes: The Epistemological and Emotional Power of VOC Material Culture in Australia, Susan Broomhall
7  Encounters around the Material Object: French and Indian Consumers in Eighteenth-Century Pondicherry, Kévin Le Doudic

Part III: Objects of Global Consumption
8  Customs and Consumption: Russia’s Global Tobacco Habits in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Matthew P. Romaniello
9  Sugar Revisited: Sweetness and the Environment in the Early Modern World, Urmi Engineer
10 Coffee, Mind and Body: Global Material Culture and the Eighteenth-Century Hamburg Import Trade, Christine Fertig and Ulrich Pfister

Paula Findlen
Suraiya Faroqhi
Maxine Berg

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