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Sailing from China: Recentering World Trade in the Seventeenth Century

Sailing from China: Recentering World Trade in the Seventeenth Century

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Lecture by Timothy Brook, University of British Columbia, with Discussant Perry Anderson, UCLA

 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall

Despite the trend to recast early-modern history in global terms, the formation of global trading networks in the 16th and 17th centuries continues largely to be told in terms of European agency and, at best, Asian receptivity. This tendency is an effect of the historical sources used to construct this history. A Chinese source from the early 17th century, a recently re-accessed maritime chart known as the Selden map, allows us to reconstruct maritime trade in East Asia as essentially a Chinese phenomenon. How should this perspective alter our understanding of the political economy of trade in the early-modern world?

Since 2004, Tim Brook has taught Chinese and world history at the University of British Columbia, where he holds the Republic of China Chair at the Institute of Asian Research. His research covers the social and cultural history of imperial China since the fourteenth century, as well as aspects of China’s experience in the twentieth century. Recent books include Vermeer’s Hat and Mr Selden’s Map of China. He is currently a fellow at the Gety Research Institute. 

Perry R. Anderson is a historian and political essayist. A specialist in intellectual history, he is often identified with the post-1956 Western Marxism of the New Left. He is Professor of History and Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a former editor of the New Left Review. Anderson has written several books, the latest being The Indian Ideology (2012), a polemic against the Indian nation-building project.