Podcasts and webinars to keep in contact with what’s going on in the scholarly community
Here’s a selection of recent and ongoing initiatives and virtual spaces to keep in (social-distanced) contact with current researches and what’s going on in the scholarly community.
PiMo-Globhis,Visual grammars of globalization, virtual seminar: coordinated by Giovanni Tarantino, this seminar was held the 6th of May (I will post an update should a recording be made available). This seminar showcased a series of fascinating early-modern case studies as regards visual and material cultures and globalization processes, tackled through the theoretical lens of Gerd Baumann ‘grammars of identity/alterity’.
The cultural construction of race and the racialization of the enemy in narratives and illustrations between the end of the Nineteenth and the first years of the Twentieth century
A particularly graphic chapter in the history of Western perceptions of the East is represented by the Yellow Peril trope, proliferating in a wave of narratives and illustrations between the end of the Nineteenth and the first years of the Twentieth century.
This trope fascinates me as I find it an apt example of how the cultural construction of race and of a racialized enemy may work in popular-culture products. The yellow peril idea also interacted especially with future scenarios and proto-sciencefictional imagination. Continue reading “Yellow Perils from a Future Past”
“Savages”, Anglo-French competition, and the circulation of knowledge in the eighteenth-century North Atlantic
At the dawn of the Franco-Indian and the Seven-Years Wars – which would place the North Atlantic at the centre of a new, global balance between European powers – the North American space is fought over by means of historical narrations and forms of geographic-historical knowledge.
Lists of words and expressions in translation from European languages to “savage” idioms – and sometimes viceversa – have been been a key feature of travel accounts since the earliest contacts between European travellers and American societies.
These vocabularies today tell us a lot about how European observers saw, represented, and interacted with their Amerindian interlocutors. Under a typographical organisation which usually suggests an objective registration of equivalences between different languages, these lists more often reflect trade jargons and pidgins, and inclusions and absences might reveal prejudices and curiosities that shaped the European explorers’ – and later colonial administrators’s – perspectives on the “New Indies” (as the telling quote in the title, from Jacques Sagard’s Grand Voyagedu Pays des Hurons, 1632, suggests).
Preparing this paper for 2020 edition of Translating Cultures gave me the chance to focus on the linguistic issues connected with the conceptualisation of Amerindian societies in eighteenth-century European culture.
About Translating Cultures (from the official website): “Started in 2009 by Rolando Minuti and Antonella Romano as a joint seminar for History PhD students in the Dipartimento di studi storici e geografici (University of Florence) and the Department of History and Civilization (European University Institute), the workshop is now developing into an extended, permanent programme and a network of projects and initiatives that converge on the topic of cultural interaction”.
Cite this article as: Giulia Iannuzzi, "“Me veux-tu manger? – Dyoutsenten”: “Savage” phrasebooks for European travellers in the early-modern North Atlantic," in Geographies of Time, 01/03/2020, https://ian.hypotheses.org/962.
This blog is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license
Two beautiful exhibits are bringing to light hidden treasures from Florence historical libraries, and tracing the circulation of geographical knowledge during the early modern era in a global perspective.
The Global Eye: Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese Maps in the Collections of the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici at the Medicea Library – info at this link – includes a number of XVII-century maps and drawings of ports, cities, and coasts from “East and West Indies”, including the coasts of the North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the seas of South East Asia, Japan, the Strait of Malacca.
These hand-painted materials were purchased by prince Cosimo III de’ Medici (1642‐1723) during a visit to the Netherlands, between 1667 and 1668, and in Lisbon 1669. Today the exhibit and the thorough-researched catalogue allow us to get a good sense of how geographical and proto-ethnographical knowledge circulated during the early modern era, exploring Cosimo III’s networks, and the role of various cultural brokers.
Time is the conceptual axis inevitably underpinning traditional forms of Western historical narration, yet its cultural construction is not often explicitly discussed in contemporary historiography research. Recently postcolonial studies gave momentum to the calling into question of categories such as modernity, progress, crisis, revolution.
R. Koselleck’s work still constitutes a landmark, which is presently enjoying new critical fortune (e.g. excellent essays by L. Hunt 2008 and C. Lorenz 2017 discuss his recent theoretical legacy) as part of current post-colonial questioning of traditional Euro- and/or Western-centric periodizations. In this regard, it seems to me that scholarly attentiveness and theoretical refinement have been on the increase, especially since the nineteen-nineties.
In this occasion I had the pleasure to develop some reflections on time as a dimension in which historical discourse is organized to produce meaning, interrogating what theorists such as Paul Ricoeur and Hayden White contributed to our understanding of causal mechanisms construction in historical research and communication.
Acknowledging how historical processes might look from the perspective of different temporal scales, and fictional scenarios provided by alternate history might also be useful tools to help us see and thematize the “temporal lenses” through which we look at the past.
Drawing on the idea that time is a fundamental dimension in and through which cultural and social diversity is constructed, this blog shares ideas and information and charts the progress of an ongoing research on the cultural history of time in early-modern Europe. More specifically, this blog dwells on the birth of new ideas of historical time in European culture during the early modern period, against the backdrop of an increasing global interconnectedness, e.g. locating conceptions of time as part of the processes that characterized European encounters with populations perceived and represented as ‘others’, investigating notions of historical time in their interrelatedness with the spatial dimension of geographical knowledge and representation, and tracing the dawn of a secularized, pliable future.
“We are fond of searching into remote Antiquity, to know the Manners of our earliest Progenitors; and, if I am not mistaken, the Indians are living Images of them.”
I presented this paper – titled “The Indians are a People that never value their time”: Mappature dei “selvaggi” e concettualizzazioni del tempo storiconello spazio nordatlantico del primo Settecento – at the 2019 conference of the Italian Society for the Study of the XVIII century (L’invenzione del passato nel XVIII secolo, 27-29 May 2019).
Aim of this research is to look at and locate conceptions of time as part of the processes that characterized European encounters with populations perceived and represented as ‘others’ during the eighteenth century, in order to lay bare the connections between the development of new ideas of time and the geographical expansion of Western colonial powers.
At the postgraduate conference “Forme e linguaggi della comunicazione storica, dall’antichità all’epoca contemporanea” in 2019 I delivered a paper drawing on Cadwallader Colden’s History of the Five Indian Nations (1727, 1747) to reflect on textual genealogies and translations in the late-modern Nord Atlantic.
In this research I came across quite a few significant loci in which the history of American “savages” became a competing ground between English and French authors, and the Indian eloquence a fascinating topic for Eighteenth-century travellers and writers to argue the status of American societies as instances of humanity in its infancy.
The conference was organized by some colleagues from the PhD course in Historical Studies at the University of Florence. They did an amazing job putting together a programme across disciplinary boundaries.