How Europe Used Time to Rule the World

Imperial Times. How Europe Used Time to Rule the World (XVIII-XIX Centuries) – introducing History of Historiography 77 (2020)

Aim of the introduction to the monographic issue Imperial Times. How Europe Used Time to Rule the World (XVIII-XIX Centuries) is to throw into relief current debates demonstrating the need for greater academic research into imperial times.

The question that underlies the contributions to the special issue is how to synchronise the study of history in a postcolonial age; how to navigate history while accounting for the traditional uses of concepts like the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Modernity.

This introduction critically distances the logic underpinning periodisations by challenging the uncritical use of a given interval of time as the basis of a neutral partitioning, and takes stock of how postcolonial studies and global historians have drawn attention, in recent years, to the contingent and political origins of these timeframes.

It contends that, for all the talk about a “temporal” and an “imperial turn”, time and empire still appear, at times, to be largely undertheorized in relation to each other. It highlights new conceptualisations brought to the study of temporality in relation to empire by the history of emotions, and of material cultures, put forward by the study of gendered subjectivities, and stimulated by the attention to long-term shifts favoured by novel methodology of environmental history. It takes stock of Reinhart Koselleck’s influence on these historiographical turns, and of recent re-evaluations of his work on time and concepts.

A special emphasis on the eighteenth century seeks to contribute new perspectives on overlooked imperial dynamics that influenced the politics of time during that period.  Industrialisation; modern timekeeping; the growth of the novel; the combination of the antiquarian’s methods and philosophical history, all were once said to have changed the experience of time in eighteenth-century Europe.

Drawing on the hypothesis that conceptions of the future are crucial to our understanding of ideas and practices of time, tradition, history, and change, this introduction also discusses our conception of the history of utopian times, and the specific ties the future has to the history of imperial conceptions and projects.

The concluding section is devoted to present the methodological purpose behind the special issue: to set out four case studies to trace new pathways for the study of the imperial legacies in the making of a global history of time.

I am very grateful to the other contributors of Imperial Times for the productive discussions we had while working together on this project.

Full bibliographical data:

Matilde Cazzola, Edward Jones Corredera, Giulia Iannuzzi, and Guido G. Beduschi, Introduction. Imperial Times. Towards a History of Imperial Uses of Time
pp. 11-23, DOI: 10.19272/202011501001

STORIA DELLA STORIOGRAFIA
Histoire de l’Historiographie · History of Historiography · Geschichte der Geschichtsschreibung

Fabrizio Serra editore, Pisa – Roma
*
77, 2020/1

Full text is available on the publisher’s website and via the Torrossa platform

Contact me at giannuzzi <at> units.it if you wish to receive a pre-print version for research and teaching purposes.

Cite this article as: Giulia Iannuzzi, "How Europe Used Time to Rule the World," in Geographies of Time, 05/05/2021, https://ian.hypotheses.org/1771.

This blog is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license

Grammars of Globalisation

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’.

Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimes … (London: Printed by William Stansby …, 1625), vol. 1, title page, detail. Copy at Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library-Yale University, Digital Collections, non known restriction for scholarly use.

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Global Eyes

Ambon, Maluku Islands, detail from one of the city views on exhibit in Florence as part of ‘The Global Eye‘ (line-and-wash drawing on canvas-backed paper, attributed to Johannes Vingboons, Amsterdam 1665-68)

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.

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