This anthology explores the role that art and material goods played in diplomatic relations and political exchanges between Asia, Africa, and Europe in the early modern world. The authors challenge the idea that there was a European primacy in the practice of gift giving through a wide panoramic review of imperial encounters between Europeans (including the Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English) and Asian empires (including Ottoman, Persian, Mughal, Sri Lankan, Chinese, and Japanese cases). They examine how those exchanges influenced the global production and circulation of art and material culture, and explore the types of gifts exchanged, the chosen materials, and the manner of their presentation. Global Gifts establishes new parameters for the study of the material and aesthetic culture of Eurasian relations before 1800, exploring the meaning of artistic objects in global diplomacy and the existence of economic and aesthetic values mutually intelligible across cultural boundaries.
Jorge Flores - European University Institute, Florence
Beverly Lemire - University of Alberta
Dana Leibsohn - Smith College, Massachusetts
Visiting PhD Student from Fudan
We are delighted to welcome Sooyoung An, who is visiting us from Fudan (Shanghai). She will be with us for the next 8 weeks. Here is a brief description, provided by Sooyoung herself:
I am currently a PhD student at Fudan University, Shanghai, supervised by Shaoxin Dong. I came to Warwick to spend a visiting period, and Anne Gerritsen is my adviser while my stay here. My research concerns cultural, intellectual and commercial aspects of the circulation of herbal medicine within, and between, East Asia and Europe. My PhD thesis, by taking a comparative perspective as well as attending to the transmission of knowledge, focuses specifically on the history of Ginseng – in a “connect” world of the long 18th century. It intends to illuminate how the regional and global transmission of knowledge, transfer of material and commerce of the item contributed to shape the trajectories of knowledge in each region: developing a distinctive system of “Bencao” knowledge in East Asia while, in Europe and America, drug knowledge evolved mostly in such formats of expansive intellectual pursuits as natural history, materia medica or Sinology.
Ginseng; Bencao knowledge; Materia Medica; herbal medicine; history of natural history in 18th century Europe; therapeutic commodities; East Asia regional network; early modern history; Chinese consumption culture
Robert Fletcher's latest publication: 'Decolonization and the Arid World', in The Oxford Handbook of the Ends of Empire, edited by Martin Thomas and Andrew Thompson.
Public Lecture: Professor Bishnupriya Gupta
In 1947 India was one of the poorest countries in the world. Did colonial rule lower living standards? Evidence on wages and estimates of per capita GDP from 1600 show that living standards declined absolutely and relatively before colonization and continued to stagnate under British rule. The decline coincided with increased integration with international markets and expansion of the transport network. The high point of prosperity before modern economic growth was in 1600 during the reign of Emperor Akbar and before the rising trade in textiles. Indian growth reversal began in independent India with the policies of regulation of trade and industry. The changing fortunes of the Indian economy had depended on the fortunes of agriculture and public investment in agricultural infrastructure and technology.
The lecture is open to all staff, students and the general public.