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Global Encounters between China and Europe: Trade Networks, Consumption and Cultural Exchanges in Macau and Marseille (1680-1840). (GECEM)

The project is funded by the European Research Council as a Starting Grant (StG).
GECEM project seeks out new directions and engages primary challenges of Global History for the 21st century, including the role of China in the international community; its relations with western powers, mainly with Europe. The hegemonic position and/or leadership of this Asian giant cannot be fully understood if we do not also consider historical perspectives and the early origins of such relations. This intellectual challenge can be addressed, since the core and main aim of GECEM is to use new historical evidence from China and Europe during the early modern period to shed new light on big questions such as why China did not develop at the same economic levels than northwestern Europe in the first industrialization or why modern capitalism did not emerge in China. These are vital questions, first raised by social science theorists and scholars from the California School.

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

This project examines perceptions and dialogues between China and Europe by analysing strategic geopolitical sites which fostered commerce, consumption and socioeconomic networks between China and Europe through a particular case study: Macau, connecting with South China, and Marseille in Mediterranean Europe.
How did foreign merchant networks and trans-national communities of Macau and Marseille operate during the eighteenth century and contribute to somehow transfer respectively European and Chinese socio-cultural habits and forms in local population? What was the degree and channels of consumption of European goods in China and Chinese goods in Europe? These are the main questions to answer during this research to explore the bilateral Sino-European trade relations and how the trans-national dimension of exotic commodities changed tastes by creating a new type of global consumerism.

The project, hosted by UPO, aims to:

  • Implement a research agenda that allows the construction of a truly polycentric historiography, escaping from Eurocentric and synocentric discourses.
  • Promote a better understanding of the theoretical, empirical and methodological framework applied to comparative studies of the eastern and western world.
  • Review the Great Divergence debate through case studies using new documentary sources from Asia, Europe and the Americas.
  • Develop and implement new technologies for research in history and economics, such as Relational Databases (MySQL), Geographic Information Systems (ArcGis), Social Network Analysis (Gephi), qualitative data analysis and genealogy.

The publication of a monograph, the edition of two books, papers in peer-review journals and the final conference will be the major endeavors and goals achieved.

The major advantage of this project is the creation of synergies with an academic Chinese space, without losing its European core. Such communication will contribute to transfer scientific knowledge and new analytic methodological tools and theories from China to Europe. An important contribution of this project is that we as European scholars working in China will foster transfer of scientific knowledge to Europe by eradicating somehow, from our side, the ‘brain drain' that currently suffer European country members.

Nuevos productos atlánticos. Ciencia, Guerra, Economía y Consumo en la Espanña del Antiguo Régimen. El caso andaluz: 1492-1824

Code PAIDI: HUM-5330

Manuel Pérez García. Coordinador.

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

The project is coordinated by the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (host institution) and has the cooperation of the Global History Network.

Keywords: Global history, transnational history, comparative history, entangled histories, China, Europe, Consumer Behaviour, Trans-national Trade Networks
Duration: July, 1th 2016 to June, 30th 2021
Project cost: € 1,500,000.00