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Global Dispersals and Connections: Knowledge (Maxine Berg)

For discussion

  1. To what extent is 'material culture' a Eurocentric concept?
  2. In what ways is 'material culture' different from consumption?
  3. What does global consumption mean? And what does global material culture mean?
  4. To what extent is hybridity a useful concept in this context? (For this, see the article by Dean and Leibsohn)
Use the article by Maxine Berg to consider the following two questions:
  1. What is the relationship between production and material culture?
  2. How do we relate material culture to 'divergence'?


Craig Clunas, ‘Modernity Global and Local: Consumption and the Rise of the West’, American Historical Review, 104/5 (1999), pp. 1497-1511.

Donald Quataert (ed.), Consumption Studies and the History of the Ottoman Empire, 1550-1922: An Introduction (Albany, 2000), introduction (photocopy)

Maxine Berg, ‘In Pursuit of Luxury: Global History and British Consumer Goods in the Eighteenth Century’, Past and Present, 182 (2004), pp. 85-142.

C. Dean and D. Leibsohn, 'Hybridity and its Discontents: Considering Visual Culture in Colonial Spanish America', Colonial Latin American Review, (2003), pp. 5-35.

Further Readings

Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Riello, ‘Global Material Cultures: Things in History’ (Unpublished paper, June 2008).

Craig Clunas, ‘Material Culture beyond the East West Binary’ (Unpublished paper, May 2007).

John Styles, ‘Product Innovation in Early Modern London’, Past and Present, 168 (2000), pp. 124-169.

Craig Clunas, Empire of great brightness: visual and material cultures of Ming China, 1368-1644 (London, 2007), pp. 84-111: ch. 3 ‘The Word on the Streets: Cultures of Texts’.

Tim Brook, Vermeer’s Hat (2008).

Jeremy Prestholt, ‘The Global Repercussions of Consumerism: East African Consumers and Industrialization’,  American Historical Review, 109/3 (2004), pp. 755-782.