1st Edition

Commercial Cosmopolitanism? Cross-Cultural Objects, Spaces, and Institutions in the Early Modern World

Edited By Felicia Gottmann Copyright 2021
    278 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    278 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book showcases the wide variety of commercial cosmopolitan practices that arose from the global economic entanglements of the early modern period.

    Cosmopolitanism is not only a philosophical ideal: for many centuries it has also been an everyday practice across the globe. The early modern era saw hitherto unprecedented levels of economic interconnectedness. States, societies, and individuals reacted with a mixture of commercial idealism and commercial anxiety, seeking at once to exploit new opportunities for growth whilst limiting its disruptive effects. In highlighting the range of commercial cosmopolitan practices that grew out of early modern globalisation, the book demonstrates that it provided robust alternatives to the universalising western imperial model of the later period. Deploying a number of interdisciplinary methodologies, the kind of ‘methodological cosmopolitanism’ that Ulrich Beck has called for, chapters provide agency-centred evaluations of the risks and opportunities inherent in the ambiguous role of the cosmopolitan, who, often playing on and mobilising a number of identities, operated in between and outside of different established legal, social, and cultural systems.

    The book will be important reading for students and scholars working at the intersection of economic, global, and cultural history.

    Introduction: Commercial Cosmopolitanism? Transcultural Actors, Objects, Spaces, and Practices in the Early Modern World

    Felicia Gottmann

    Part 1: Cosmopolitan Spaces, Objects, and Actors 

    1. Controlling the Golden Geese: Canton, Nagasaki and the Limits of Hybridity

    Lisa Hellman

    2. Trouble in the Contact Zone: Jeremias van Vliet in seventeenth-century Ayutthaya

    Sven Trakulhun

    3. Chinese Commercial Cosmopolitanism in the Eighteenth-Century Mekong River Delta: The Case of Mạc Thiên Tứ

    Xing Hang

    4. Money Talks: Confessions of a Disgraced Cosmopolitan Coin of the 1640s

    Kris Lane

    5. ‘This Whole Business Should Be Kept Very Secret’: The English Tobacco Workhouses in Moscow

    Matthew P. Romaniello

    6. Goods from the Sea Countries: Material Cosmopolitanism in Atlantic West Africa

    Bronwen Everill

    7. From the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic: The Nineteenth-Century Commercial Ventures of Oman-Zanzibar

    Jeremy Prestholdt

    Part 2: Institutions, Practices, and Agents

    8. Hats, Furs and Native Traders in a Global Trade

    Ann M. Carlos

    9. The Social Networks of Cosmopolitan Fraudsters: The Prussian Bengal Company as a Transnational Corporation

    Felicia Gottmann

    10. Quasi-cosmopolitanism: French Directors in Ouidah and Pondicherry (1674-1746)

    Elisabeth Heijmans

    11. Commercial Cosmopolitanism? The Case of the Firm De Bruijn & Cloots (Lisbon) in the 18th century

    Cátia Antunes, Susana Münch Miranda, and João Paulo Salvado

    12. 'The Limits of Cosmopolitanism: Ottoman Algiers in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

    Michael Talbot

    13. Making Ireland Poor: Poverty, Trade and Sectarianism in the Eighteenth Century Atlantic

    James Livesey


    Felicia Gottmann is Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University, Newcastle. She is the author of Global Trade, Smuggling, and the Making of Economic Liberalism: Asian Textiles in France 1680-1760 (2016) and, with Maxine Berg et al. editor of Goods from the East, 1600-1800: trading Eurasia (2015). She held Fellowships at the Universities of Harvard, Warwick, Dundee, and Oxford, and is PI of the UKRI-funded Future Leaders Fellowship Project ‘Migration, Adaptation, Innovation 1500–1800’.