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Material Culture and Global History


Seminar Readings

Kopytoff, Igor,  The cultural biography of things: commoditization as process’ in Appadurai, Arjun. The Social Life of Things: Commodities In Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Online.

Nappi, Carla, ‘Surface tension: objectifying ginseng in Chinese early modernity’ in Paula Findlen, ed., Early modern Things: Objects and their Histories, 1500-1800, pp. 31-52


Seminar Questions

What methods are used in studying global history?

What are the methodological challenges involved in doing global history?

Is a history of the global really possible or desirable?

Is global history Eurocentric? Is a truly cosmopolitan history possible?

Why were historians hesitant to use material culture until the 1980s?

'Material culture emerged when historians fell in love anthropology in the 1980s.' Discuss.


Further Readings

Jeremy Adelman, 'What is Global History Now?' Aeon (2017)

Sebastien Conrad, What is Global History? (Princeton, 2016)

Pamela Kyle Crossley, What is Global History? (Cambridge, 2008).

Paula Findlen, ed., Early Modern Things: Objects and Their Histories, 1500-1800 London (2002)

Grasskamp and Juneja, eds., China, Europe, and the Trancultural Object, 1600-1800. Springer,2015.

Lynn Hunt, Writing History in the Global Era (New York: 2014).

Anne Gerritsen, and Giorgio Riello. The Global Lives of Things: The Material Culture of Connections in the Early Modern World (London, 2016).

Wiesner-Hanks M. ‘What is global history?’ Journal Of Global History [serial online]. November 2016;11(3):481-485.