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Award Sets Researcher on Road to Luxury

Originally Published 29 April 2003

University of Warwick Historian Professor Maxine Berg has been awarded a prestigious $39,000 Guggenheim Fellowship. Guggenheim Fellowships help provide Fellows with blocks of free time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible.

Professor Berg will use her time on a research project entitled “Manufacturing ‘the Orient’: Global Origins of British Consumer Goods in the Eighteenth Century”

She will study the impact of global trade in luxuries from Asia in the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on the rise of British consumer goods. She believes that trade in manufactured export ware from Asia provoked a programme of product innovation in Europe in attempts to ‘imitate’ goods made in the advanced consumer societies of China and India. This process of ‘making the East in the West’ was to generate a whole range of different consumer products, British new consumer goods. The end result of this creative adaptation of global luxury was an industrial revolution based in British consumer goods. The Fellowship funding will allow her to undertake research in India and China on; East India Company practices, the fine chintzes and muslins of Ahmedabad and Pondicherry and the porcelain of Jingdezhen. Europeans were fascinated by these products and retold fables of their mysterious production processes in treatises, encyclopedias and travel accounts throughout the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

For further information contact:

Professor Maxine Berg, Department of History,
University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 523377,
Email: maxine.berg@warwick.ac.uk

Note for Editors: The Guggenheim Foundation was founded in 1925 by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim, in memory of John Simon Guggenheim, a son, who died April 26, 1922. Since 1925, the foundation has granted more than $200 million to more than 15,000 individuals