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Gifts, Global Connections and Early Modern Material Culture

In 2011-12 the University of Monash and the University of Warwick have supported a series of joint events involving staff and students working on material and visual culture, with specific reference to the role of gifts and embassies in the early modern period.

These joint Monash-Warwick activities aim to:

  • Trace the circulation of prestige items via gift-giving;
  • Consider the varied functions and meanings of the global gift;
  • Investigate how the meaning of artefacts changed as they moved across cultures;
  • Explore the intersection between global history and material culture by discussing how gifts contributed to the creation of a shared visual language;
  • Examine how gifts functioned as an important mechanism for the transmission of technology and knowledge.

The first round of funding has allowed Adam Clulow (Monash), Anne Gerritsen (Warwick) and Giorgio Riello (Warwick) to organise four events: