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Global History and Culture Centre Blog

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The Great Exhibition of 1851 and Popular Imperialism

In this blog post, Joshua Grey explores the Great Exhibition of 1851 as a form of popular imperialism, but also as a space of global connection and interaction. Through this case study, there is a consideration of the structuring of interactions between the imperial metropole and periphery. The flows of information, goods and cultural objects can be used for exploring motivations to justify imperialism and imperial expansion.

Golden Fever in the 1920s–30s and the Soviet Reception of Medieval Alchemy

The reception of alchemy in the early USSR remains a completely unknown field. This is despite the fact that many historians now work extensively on the history of alchemy more broadly. However, there were many mentions of alchemy both in the occult and the science literature in Russian in the 1920s and 1930s. In this blog entry, PhD student Sergei Zotov discusses how transnational connections in the beginning of the twentieth century shaped the reception of alchemy in the USSR.

Newton’s World: A Digital Map for Teaching the History of Early Modern Science

Like many of us, I’ve been preparing my teaching for the coming academic year. I’m planning on giving a lecture on early modern science as part of our Galleons and Caravans: Global Connections, 1500–1800 module. I was thinking about how to present these debates on Newton, particularly to a group of students who may have no previous experience in the history of science, but are certainly interested in global history.

Recalling a brief former stint as a computer scienceLink opens in a new window student, I spent a few days putting together an interactive map that is now available online. I hope it will be a useful resource, not just for my students, but for anyone teaching the history of science, or indeed global history.

You can check it out here: opens in a new window

Cotton, Expertise and the End of Empire in the Aden Protectorate

A cotton growing scheme in the British ruled Aden Protectorate, the Abyan Scheme was built on transfers of knowledge from across Britain’s shrinking empire that were truly global in scope. From the immense cotton fields in Sudan to the agricultural methods taught at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad, there was much more to the cotton grown at Abyan than met the eye. Equally, the Abyan Scheme was also not immune to the existential threat of Arab nationalism in the 1950s, as its cotton crops soon became embroiled in Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s criticisms of British imperialism. As William Harrop argues in this blog post, Abyan stands as an important case study of how global ideas of development, expertise and anti-colonialism interacted and became reshaped on a local scale.

Book review: Saul Guerrero, 'Silver by Fire, Silver by Mercury: A Chemical History of Silver Refining in New Spain and Mexico, 16th to 19th Centuries' (Boston: Brill, 2017)

Saul Guerrero turns the received view on silver refining in the Hispanic New World on its head in his remarkable 2017 book, Silver by Fire, Silver by Mercury: A Chemical History of Silver Refining in New Spain and Mexico, 16th to 19th Centuries. The book, which has its origins in the MA programme in Global History at the University of Warwick which Guerrero completed in 2009, is discussed by Michael Bycroft.