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News from the Global History and Culture Centre

Classical Connections Seminar Series 2018-19

In 2018-2019 the Classics and Ancient History department will host the Classical Connections Seminar Series, dedicated to explore connections between Greek and Latin antiquity and different geographical and temporal contexts, both ancient and modern. The series especially welcomes lectures that help rethink the role of Greek and Latin Classics in our culture, education and academic practices by comparison and interaction with other disciplines. Thanks to the generous funding of the IATL, the HRC and the IAS, a number of lectures in 2018-2019 will be dedicated to the role of Africa in the making of the Western Classics, especially to the reception of Greek and Latin literature in authors of African descent and to the complicity of classical scholarship in the production and reproduction of colonial and postcolonial configurations of race.

For a listing of the events, see

Thu 27 September 2018, 16:25

NEH award for World History Commons

The NEH will be funding the establishment of 'World History Commons', an Open Educational Resource (OER) that will provide high quality, peer-reviewed resources for teaching and research in world and global history. World History Commons will introduce new humanities scholarship and pedagogy while preserving and enhancing widely-used resources from World History Matters and the Global History Reader, a collaboration between scholars at Monash University and from our own GHCC.

Sun 02 September 2018, 16:22 | Tags: Award

History: why it matters

Lynn Hunt, one of the leading thinkers in the disipline of history, has recently published a small book about the importance of studying history 'in a time when politicians lie brazenly about historical facts'. It is gratifying to see that she noted the Warwick Department of History's interest in global concerns: ‘at the University of Warwick, almost two-thirds of the academic staff indicated some interest in global questions…’. Lynn Hunt, History: Why it Matters (Oxford: Polity Press, 2018), p. 81.

Wed 22 August 2018, 18:47 | Tags: Publication

Publication: Global Gifts: The Material Culture of Diplomacy in Early Modern Eurasia

Book description

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.


‘Combining the thriving field of material culture with the intriguing paths of new diplomatic history, this book explores in novel ways the gift-exchange processes between individuals, courts and empires in the early modern era. Global Gifts is an unusually cohesive collective endeavor that truly enriches our understanding of the diverse nexus between Europe and Asia in the period.'

Jorge Flores - European University Institute, Florence

‘This rich collection demonstrates the power of ‘things' to shape cross-cultural relations in formal diplomacy. Gifts of art and material culture were fulcrums around which negotiations were staged in early modern Eurasia. Pushing interpretive boundaries, these trans-cultural histories illuminate the thorny mechanics of gifting, the meanings of gifts and the diplomatic aims these served.'

Beverly Lemire - University of Alberta

‘Asking what made a good gift in the early modern past, Global Gifts explores the intersection of diplomatic history and material culture studies. Textured and deeply researched, this volume traces the itineraries of exotica across a tangle of cultural and geographic boundaries. Whether one is Thailand or Portugal, India, or Italy, this book will prompt new thinking about issues that were crucial in the past yet have resonance in our own time – labor and luxury, politics and trade, generosity and thwarted desire.'

Dana Leibsohn - Smith College, Massachusetts

Mon 07 May 2018, 12:13 | Tags: Publication

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.

Research interest:

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

Sat 28 April 2018, 12:49

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