To register for the Workshop, please contact Barbara Truesdell, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please direct any other questions to Dror Wahrman, email@example.com
Wednesday 19 May, IMU Faculty Club
2:30 pm: Welcome
Didier Coste (Comparative Literature, Bordeaux): A Supplement to Diderot's and d'Alembert's Journey
The initiative of globalization should not be located exclusively in the European 18th century. Mechanically equating Enlightenment with Empire leads to ignore the ecumenical aspects of other (non-Western or pre-modern) ideologies, reject anthropological universals at large and possibly serve extreme forms of cultural relativism. Therefore, we should both compare the “global 18th century” with other globalizing surges, and explore the plurality of the former, its complexities and contradictions, in the light of a number of (discursive) macro-events, such as the autonomization of the aesthetic dimension, the inventions of “literature” and “ethnology”, and the deliberation (vs. revelation or tradition) of foundational texts. All those attempts to provide non-community specific solutions to the problem of the nature and future of the society of men can contribute to deconstruct today's mythmaking of “the global”.
Siep Stuurman (History, Erasmus University, Rotterdam): Rethinking the World: From Herodotus to Anquetil Duperron
This paper, part of a project on the history of equality, discusses border crossings, notions of the "known world", and the thinkability of inter-civilization equality. Herodotus is discussed by way of contrast, to enable me to delineate the specificity of the Enlightenment discourses on the "world", focusing on the late eighteenth-century French orientalist and egalitarian critic of colonial expansion, Abraham-Hyacinthe Anquetil Duperron.
Commentator: Michel Chaouli (Germanic Studies, Indiana)
6:30 pm: Festive reception/dinner at the Elmer residence
Thursday 20 May, IMU Distinguished Alumni Room
David Armitage (History, Harvard): Is There a Prehistory of Globalization?
This paper examines globalization as both a process and a condition and considers the different chronologies for each offered in the secondary literature. It argues that different conceptions of globalization must be disaggregated and takes the example of international law to show the mutually constitutive relationship between globalization and de-globalization in the eighteenth century and beyond.
Dennis Flynn and Arturo Giráldez (Economics, University of the Pacific): The Birth of Globalization in 1571: Economic, Environmental, and Demographic Interactions
Defined in an operational manner, the birth of “globalization” can be traced precisely to the year 1571, when the Spanish entrepôt Manila permanently connected the Americas to Asia for the first time. Silver-centered trade led (unintentionally) to global ecological metamorphoses –– the greatest since the end of the Pleistocene era, according to Alfred Crosby –– that produced demographic revolutions that in turn reverberated back into economic and cultural spheres. Each long-term cycle depended upon its predecessor, and globalization today is best conceptualized in the context of its 16th-century roots.
Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman (History, Indiana): Matters of Scale: The Global Organization of the Eighteenth Century
Our paper seeks to establish the eighteenth century as the period of origin for ‘the global’ not as an ontological fact, but as an epistemological one. It looks at new ways of conceptualizing systems in an eighteenth century with a distant God – what we call ‘self-organizing systems’ – and claims these new ways of thinking to be an important precondition for thinking globally in a meaningful sense.
Commentator: Dorinda Outram (History, Rochester)
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (English, Yale): Republican Sentiment and Global Performance
This paper focuses on Joseph Addison’s 1712 play Cato, and specifically on its representation of the sentimental mobility of republicanism; a mobility related to the far-flung geographies of colonialism and empire. Widely performed in England and colonial America, Cato offered transatlantic audiences a model of republican virtue that hinged upon a critique of the historical precedent of the Roman empire and offered an alternative model of empire associated with liberty.
Lynn Festa (English, Harvard): Global Commerce and Local Sensibilities in Raynal's Histoire des deux Indes
Both commerce manual and revolutionary treatise, the abbé Raynal's 1770 Histoire des deux Indes constitutes one of the great Enlightenment attempts to represent eighteenth-century global commerce in a systematic fashion. In Raynal, two contesting views of global relations jostle uncomfortably on the same tabula: a bird's eye view of commerce as origin and engine of world history and a sentimental vision of the consequences and human costs of colonial depredations. In examining Raynal's oscillation between the Archimedean perspective of the philosophe and the moved and moving eye of the man of feeling, this paper asks how the metropolitan reader was invited to imagine the global as well as what the global was imagined to be.
Commentator: Deidre Lynch (English, Indiana)
1:15 pm: Lunch – Samira’s
Lauren Benton (History, NYU): Global Ocean, Separate Seas: Law, Maritime Practice, and the Origins of the Atlantic World
Maritime historians have tended to represent the eighteenth century as a turning point in both the globalization and regulation of ocean space. Increasingly routine transoceanic voyages seemed to shrink and unite the seas, while rising British naval hegemony subdued the effects on shipping of inter-imperial rivalries. This paper argues for a more complex view, emphasizing the tight connection between globalizing maritime practices and the formation of separate ocean regions. Examining ideas and practices of maritime law in the long eighteenth century, the paper shows that new connections and continuities in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans gave rise to a sharper division between these ocean regions. The eighteenth century did mark a turning point, but one that altered rather than resolved fragmented global geographies.
Eliga H. Gould
(History, University of New Hampshire): Hemisphere to Itself?
Revolutionary America and the Legal Geography of the English-Speaking
Commentator: Sarah Knott (History, Indiana)
Friday 21 May, IMU Distinguished Alumni Room
[Morning free for reading]
Wendy Belcher (English, UCLA): Darkening Encounters: Cultural Transmission to Britain during the Eighteenth Century
Careful reading of the famous first encounter between Britons and Tahitians can aid us in understanding two truths often overlooked when considering the meeting of Europeans with the peoples of the Americas, Africa, the Pacific, and Asia. First, the colonizer does not emerge unscathed from the colonial encounter, but rather must dismantle some part of national identity to enable domination. Second, the colonized are active agents in dismantling the coherence of the colonizer. That is, the English were acted upon, not always acting subjects, and were changed, often deeply and irrevocably, not only by their experiences but also by the deliberate actions of the Pacific Islanders. The purpose of this paper is not to focus on the supremacy of the British empire and its reconstitution of other places and peoples, but to examine what the journals, letters, memoirs, and poems written by the British about their encounter with other peoples suggest about how Pacific Islanders helped produce England and English identity. In particular, the historical record seems suggestive around the destabilization of the English language and tattooing, in which we find a deliberate act of the Polynesians that permanently shapes and darkens the English body.
Lee Sterrenburg (English, Indiana): Savage and Female Aesthetics: South Seas Contexts for the Darwinian Debates over Sexual Selection
Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection in The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex of 1871 continued many aesthetic traditions derived from the South Seas narratives of the eighteenth century. Darwin intentionally used the word “aesthetic” in order to characterize female powers of agency, self-decoration, and sexual selection. An examination of eighteenth-century South Seas voyaging precedents helps why Darwin was able to put females at the center of his theory of sexual selection. The remarkable recent validation of Darwin’s theories on sexual selection since around the 1970s may well imply a newly revived interest in eighteenth-century aesthetic concerns.
Francesca Trivellato (History, Yale): From Global to Local? Sephardic Merchants in Europe during the Eighteenth Century
Sephardic Jews were the most global and the most successful trading diaspora of the early modern period, and exerted particular influence on international commerce between 1650 and 1750. The first part of this paper is a historical examination of the cross-cultural relations developed by the Sephardic merchants of Livorno (the second largest Sephardic settlement in the world after Amsterdam and the second most important Mediterranean port after Marseille at the time) in the exchange of Mediterranean coral and Indian diamonds during the first half of the eighteenth century. I locate in the global and interconnected organization of the Sephardic diaspora the source of its ability to enforce honesty and credibility not only among its members, but also with outsiders. The second part of this paper discusses the fading role of Sephardim in the competing world of international trade during the second half of the eighteenth century. In so doing, it raises questions about the origins of the alleged modernity of Sephardic Jews in the eighteenth century, and its ambiguous legacy.
Commentator: Scott Juengel (English, Michigan State)
Siraj Dean Ahmed (English and Film Studies, Mt Holyoke): The Birth of the Post-Enlightenment Global
This essay argues that the very end of the long eighteenth century marks the origins of a modern vision of globalization as a conflict of historical stages (European 'modernity' and non-European 'pre-modern' culture), which replaces the eighteenth-century's vision of empire as the private expropriation of the global economy's promise. The essay studies, in particular, the first decades of Britain's 'liberal' empire, when industrial capital replaced merchant capital, eliminated its monopoly privileges, and first introduced the 'modernizing' principles we associate with nineteenth and twentieth-century empire. As much as any genre, the nascent historical novel records the shift from the eighteenth-century's peculiarly non-progressive vision of capital's logic to post-Enlightenment narratives of progress from feudalism to capitalism. The essay reads one of the earliest novels categorized as 'historical,' which also happens to touch on British India--Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering (1815)--alongside James Mill's hugely influential The History of British India (1817). On its most subtle and self-reflexive level, the novel insinuates that liberal forms of privatization cloak themselves in a sensitivity to the 'ancient' in order to conceal their expropriation of what had been or could be public and common.
Mary Favret (English, Indiana): War in the Air: Weather and Communication in a Global Age
This paper explores the rampant use of weather as a means of communicating something -- however ineffable -- about global war at the end of the eighteenth-century. Revisiting the use of the georgic mode in poetry, and tracing changes in the science of weather (from a study of climate as a localized, erratic phenomenon to a study of systems of globalized, interactive forces), I take seriously the history behind such clichés of "storms of war." Long before the literal possibility of nuclear winter, our understanding of world war was deeply charged with our understanding of the weather.
Commentator: Janet Sorensen (English, Indiana)
6:30 pm: Banquet dinner
Saturday 22 May, IMU Distinguished Alumni Room
David Bates (Rhetoric, Berkeley): On Revolutions in the Nuclear Age: The 18th Century and the Postwar Global Imagination
Both the texts and the revolutionary events of the eighteenth century have been, and continue to be, rich resources for theories of the modern state. However, in the wake of mass death, global civil war, and the advent of nuclear weapons, intellectuals after the Second World War began to formulate global concepts of the political that went beyond state-centered models. At the same time, the eighteenth century remained a crucial reference point in this new environment, while Enlightenment and revolutionary concepts were radically redeployed by thinkers such as Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt.
William Rasch (Germanic Studies, Indiana): Where to Draw the Line: Natural Law, Human Rights, and the Creation of the Inhuman
The paper traces the continuity of thought from late scholastic justifications for the conquest of the Americas (16th century) to 20th-century justifications for military interventions in the name of democracy and human rights. Thus, what we now call globalization -- the process and the justifications for that process -- is present more as a continuity and not an abrupt change that signals some sort of move into a new historical era.
Commentator: Jonathan Elmer (English, Indiana)
Sum-up Session -- moderators: Konstantin Dierks (History, Indiana) and Jonathan Elmer (English, Indiana)
1:00 pm: Lunch – IMU Federal Room