To bring together scholars who explain historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences

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Wed 4 April
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 5 April
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Fri 6 April
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Sat 7 April
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Wednesday 4 April 2018 8.30 - 10.30
C-1 - MAT04 : Global Goods in Early Modern Europe
OSCR Lanyon Building
Networks: Material and Consumer Culture , World History Chair: Janine Maegraith
Organizers: Christine Fertig, John JordanDiscussants: -
Andreia Durães : The Diffusion of Global Goods in Lisbon (1755-1833): the Consumption of Tea, Coffee and Chocolate
It has become increasingly clear that economic prosperity during the late seventeenth century led to a change in the consumption behaviour in some European countries (see N. McKendrick, 1982, p. 9-33; L. Weatherill, 1988; D. Roche, 1998; M. Overton et al., 2004). Freeing themselves from the stranglehold of scarcity ... (Show more)
It has become increasingly clear that economic prosperity during the late seventeenth century led to a change in the consumption behaviour in some European countries (see N. McKendrick, 1982, p. 9-33; L. Weatherill, 1988; D. Roche, 1998; M. Overton et al., 2004). Freeing themselves from the stranglehold of scarcity that had long defined their material world, individuals began to consume goods in a previously unthinkable scale. An increased desire to own luxury goods was not confined to high social ranks; lower and middling strata developed a taste for luxury items (see K. Pomeranz, 2001, p. 114; A. E. C. McCants, 2007, p. 461; and J. Fourie & J. Uys, 2011).

Analysing a sample of 376 probate inventories from individuals that died between 1755 and 1833, we will focus on the consumption of commodities linked with long-distance colonial-trade, such as tea, coffee and chocolate. The sample includes inventories from the whole social spectrum and our aim is to study the diffusion of those items, to confront the chronology of the dissemination of its consumption in Portugal, a peripheral country, with others and to understand how conspicuous consumption was a channel to define social groups and act as symbolic messenger of social status and identities. (Show less)

Christine Fertig , Henning Bovenkerk : Sweet Coffee, Pretty Scarves, Exotic Spices: Consumption and Trade of Global Goods in Northwestern Germany
In the history of early globalization, German territories are yet to receive significant scholarly attention. Early modern German states were not global or colonial powers, and there was no state-entrepreneurial institution like the VOC or BEIC. Nonetheless, German regions participated in international and global markets, as providers – for example ... (Show more)
In the history of early globalization, German territories are yet to receive significant scholarly attention. Early modern German states were not global or colonial powers, and there was no state-entrepreneurial institution like the VOC or BEIC. Nonetheless, German regions participated in international and global markets, as providers – for example of protoindustrial linen fabrics – and as consumers, as we can observe in Hamburg’s toll registers. Coffee and sugar, combined to a bitter-sweet, mildly psycho-tropic beverage, became important import commodities with considerable growth rates during 18th century. Other colonial goods like tobacco or spices show slower, but still remarkable growth rates, whereas tea or cacao obviously were of minor importance.

The paper will analyse the occurrence and significance of foreign and exotic commodities in Northwestern Germany, with specific focus on the countryside, in 18th and 19th centuries. We will use probate inventories and housekeeping books to study the emergence of foreign commodities and equipment related to consumption of these. Journals of merchants are a second type of source materials. They are informative sources for the increase of new goods and the scope of their penetration into not only urban, but also rural societies. The paper aims at presenting first results of a larger research project on early modern consumer society in Northwestern Germany. (Show less)

John Jordan : The Consumption of Coffee, Tea, and Tobacco in Early Modern Bern
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Europe imported ever-increasing quantities of previously unknown consumer goods – porcelain, spices, tea and coffee, textiles, especially silk and cotton – the list goes on and on. Historians readily acknowledge these goods were catalysts in sparking transformations to early modern European consumption, trade, ... (Show more)
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Europe imported ever-increasing quantities of previously unknown consumer goods – porcelain, spices, tea and coffee, textiles, especially silk and cotton – the list goes on and on. Historians readily acknowledge these goods were catalysts in sparking transformations to early modern European consumption, trade, and material culture. While these developments have been investigated thoroughly for the British context, Switzerland’s place within this narrative remains to be assessed.

As existing research has demonstrated, inventories are central sources for studying consumption. Typically, most inventories were created at marriage or death, restricting the analysis to only two, albeit distinct and important, phases of life. In Bern, however, a serial run of bankruptcy inventories exists from 1646 to 1797. Bankruptcy inventories permit the historian to examine ownership at many different life phases.

Using the bankruptcy inventories and other legal sources, this talk probes the ownership of exotic and global goods (coffee, tea, and tobacco) in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Bern. It investigates changes in the ownership and distribution of these new goods: when did they first appear? Who owned them? How wide spread was their ownership through society? Are gendered patterns of ownership detectable? What larger social and cultural developments was the ownership of the goods tied to? What impact, if any, did laws and rules, such as sumptuary legislation, have on the ownership of these goods? Through these questions, the paper aims to sketch some broad outlines of a consumer society in Bern. (Show less)

Josef Loeffler : Material Culture and Consumption of Austrian Aristocrats in Religious Exile in the 17th Century
In the 17th century under the pressure of recatholicization, numerous Austrian noble families emigrated outside the area of influence of the Catholic sovereign to Protestant territories in the Holy Roman Empire. In integrating to new living environments, personal, sentimental or family-specific attachments to objects of material culture received a special ... (Show more)
In the 17th century under the pressure of recatholicization, numerous Austrian noble families emigrated outside the area of influence of the Catholic sovereign to Protestant territories in the Holy Roman Empire. In integrating to new living environments, personal, sentimental or family-specific attachments to objects of material culture received a special meaning. Objects are accompanied by human practices and actions that create social networks, human-object-relationships and social spaces. They are given different meanings in different contexts, which can be made visible through the contextualization of the objects.
The aim of this paper is to examine the role that luxury goods and things of everyday use played for aristocratic migrants in positioning themselves in the socio-spatial environment in exile and in relations with their peers or relatives at home. It investigates the meaning and the perception of things in representation of aristocratic life style, in the context of religious-political convictions and at specific life stations, such as baptisms, weddings or funerals. Furthermore, the paper will analyse the importance of things and consumer goods for the maintenance of networks to the region of origin of the aristocrats. The main sources of the research project are inventories, correspondences and family books. (Show less)