In this blog post GHCC member Dr James Poskett presents his new book, Materials of the Mind: Phrenology, Race, and the Global History of Science, 1815–1920, published by the University of Chicago Press. His book tells a story of skulls from the Arctic, photographs from India, books from South Africa, and letters from the Pacific. By following these objects across the world, Poskett shows how the circulation of material culture underpinned the emergence of a new materialist philosophy of the mind. As well as a history of phrenology, the book also offers a broader reflection on what it means to write a global history of science.
Mapping and the Global Imaginary, 1500-1900: Subsistence Agriculture and Estate Plans in the Early Modern Caribbean
On 14-15 February 2019, the Warwick-Stanford conference on 'Mapping the Global Imaginary, 1500-1900' was held at The David Rumsey Map Center. In this guest blog, Professor Kären Wigen (Stanford) explains how the items on display during the conference frame our discussions of early modern cartography, after which Dr Bertie Mandelblatt (John Carter Brown Library) illustrates her research on subsistence agriculture and the American plantation economy by focusing on an eighteenth-century estate plan produced in the French colony of Saint Domingue: the Plan géometrique de l'habitation de Mr. Guilleaume François Vallée by the royal surveyor, Mancel.
The AHRC Network: A New Global Microhistory Pathway (Warwick, Oxford, EUI and V&A) held the second of three late evening public discussions in ‘The Globe’ at the V&A on Friday 8 March 2019. Organised by professor Maxine Berg and focused on the theme 'Diplomacy and Gifts', this event brought together curators and (art) historians on a spectacular tour of the museum's South Asian, Islamic Middle East, and Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. The evening was concluded by way of a roundtable discussion in the 'Globe' space in the Europe 1600-1815 gallery, a recording of which can be found here.
The AHRC Network: A New Global Microhistory Pathway (Warwick, Oxford, EUI and V&A) held the first of three late evening public discussions in ‘The Globe’ at the V&A on Friday 19 October 2018. Organised by professor Maxine Berg, this event brought together a new generation of historians and curators to participate in a public discussion of the microhistories and material cultures that objects, from treasure chests to tea sets, in the Europe Gallery open. A recording of the discussion can now be found here.
The ‘transnational’ is an old theme in British imperial history, though continually reinventing itself in new interventions and guises. The two-day workshop Between and Beyond: Transnational Networks and the British Empire engaged with a number of important conceptual and historiographical questions in the field of British imperial history. What role does the British empire play in the facilitation of networks within, without and beyond its boundaries? Do we need to think of the networks of the British Empire following Tony Ballantyne’s metaphor of a “web”? Is the web of networks in the British Empire made of only main arteries or of “multiple filaments”? And what does ‘transnational’ bring to the field of imperial studies, particularly when posited with the ever-expanding category of the ‘global’? By Somak Biswas and Dr Guillemette Crouzet.