The encounter between travellers, merchants and explorers and the exchange of the ‘exotic’ acted as a diverse catalyst for cultural practices, innovation, technological change and economic generation. This session will explore the circulation, assimilation and appropriation of exotic and foreign goods as they are transported, translated, collected and exchanged between diverse cultures from the 16th century to the present day.
Thinking about ‘exotic’ goods invites us to pay attention to the role and function of the ‘exotic’ in different scales – across national boundaries, countries and cities; and in different spaces – in the public and the private domain – as well as the relationships between the places of consumption and the places of origin. This session aims to explore the influence of the encounter with all kinds of ‘exotic’ goods, from ritual objects, to artworks, from objects for the domestic interior, to technological, scientific and military objects; both newly made objects as well the old and the rare. By taking a broad time frame we hope to better understand the mutations of the exchange, collection, trade, display and production and consumption of ‘exotic’ goods and how these encounters influenced broader transnational and transcultural economic change.
The session aims to explore these exchanges both in terms of the perspective of the Western encounter with the ‘Other’ (the West’s appropriation, adaption and translation of the ‘exotic’), and from the perspective of the ‘Other’s’ encounter with the West (how the encounter impacted upon and stimulated economic activities in Asia, Africa and the Americas). The nature and status of ‘exotic’ goods are multiple and complex, as is the nature and status of the ‘exotic’ as it changed through time and space. In our increasingly complex world of exchange, tourism, and migration, the encounter with ‘exotic’ goods may be decreasing, but as a catalyst for the imagination the ‘exotic’ still has a profound impact upon economic activity and practices.
We invite papers to explore these themes and relationships from a wide range of perspectives:
-On the marketplace actors – the travellers, explorers, merchants, scientists, artists, curiosity dealers, collectors, soldiers.
-On the biographies of the ‘exotic’ objects themselves – ritual objects, domestic and luxury goods such as porcelain and lacquer, new technologies such as clocks and maps.
-On the spaces of exchange – market-places, auctions, shops.
-On the spaces of exhibition and display – institutions such as museums, public exhibitions and galleries, to the display in the domestic interior.
Please send abstracts of no more than 400 words abstracts to the session organisers:
Dr Manuel Charpy (CNRS France/University of Lille IRHIS) email@example.com and Dr Mark Westgarth (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds) firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing Date for Abstracts: 15th February 2012
Date and Location of Conference:
XVIth World Economic History Congress
9th-13th July 2012
University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa
-Dr Manuel Charpy
IRHIS / CNRS
Université de Lille 3
BP 60 149 - Rue du Barreau
59653 Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex
-Dr Mark Westgarth
Lecturer Museum Studies
Programme Director BA Art History with Museum Studies
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
University of Leeds
LS2 9JT Email: email@example.com
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