—organized by Bronwen Wilson (UCLA) and Angela Vanhaelen (McGill University)
co-sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant
Narratives of colonialism, empire building, and religious mission—of center, periphery, and globalization—have been under revision in recent years in order to nuance our understanding of what were immensely complex and multi-faceted phenomena. The Clark Library’s 2018–19 Core Program will shift the focus from governing regimes and institutions to ways in which creative forms and practices were intertwined in the dynamics of materiality and early modern globalism. Such a proposition directs analysis toward the flow of materials, artifacts, and motifs across borders and bodies of water. It attends to experimentation that activated and responded to this traffic in things; it investigates these interactions as constant, on-going processes, thereby bringing innovation, ornamentation, improvisation, and sensation to the fore.
Such interactions were given impetus by an efflorescence of cosmopolitan spaces in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These are cities, ports, exhibition sites, ships, caravanserais, markets, museums, theaters, and warehouses. They are spaces that are open to becoming something new, provisional instead of fixed in their form; they are not inherently hierarchical nor merely commercial, but inflected by global relations of power; they are spaces in which distance and presence are brought into consideration with each other. They are spaces through which people of diverse ethnicities, faiths, and vocational interests came and went. Allowing for convergences, reorientations, and interconnections, cosmopolitan spaces propelled people and artifacts in unexpected directions, giving rise to new ways of thinking.
In Between Spaces will consider movement, migration, and invention through, between, and within early modern spaces. The papers will explore new uses for, practices in, and configurations of spaces such as inns, ships, caravans, islands, warehouses, deserts, streets, and waterways. Such spaces could be in motion or transitional, both isolated and connected, and open to unpredictable forms of traffic. These spaces have much to teach us about flows and commingling of materials, media, motifs, practices, and people across and between cultures in the early modern world.
Patricia Badir, University of British Columbia
Ting Chang, University of Nottingham
Jane Hwang Degenhardt, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Lyle Massey, University of California, Irvine
Dawn Odell, Lewis & Clark College
Sara Ryu, Washington University in St. Louis
Coll Thrush, University of British Columbia
Henry S. Turner, Rutgers University
Angela Vanhaelen, McGill University