CFP: Institutional Inequality? Access to Colonial Institutions in Early Modern Port Cities at EUHC in Antwerp (2020)

Maarten Van Dijck's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
September 2, 2020 to September 5, 2020
Location: 
Belgium
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Urban History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Maritime History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies

This session focuses on the effects of social and cultural inequality on institutional inequality in early modern global port cities. What role did wealth, religion, ethnicity or status play in access to colonial institutions? A trans-imperial approach will address the specificity of various local settings with which European colonizers had to cope in embedding their institutions in local settingsSession content: Early modern port cities across the globe had to deal with permanent colonization from the outside. Historians have shown that some of these cities were deliberate attempts to re-create the institutional framework of the metropole on other continents, while other literature has foregrounded that European imperial powers used the existing colonial contexts to construct new utopian societies. However, ultimately all of them were somehow forced to adapt their original set-up to local social circumstances in overseas port cities. This often resulted in highly glocalized colonial institutions, serving clients all across the social, religious and ethnic spectrum.

The aim of this session is to study the effects of social and cultural inequality on institutional inequality in global port cities. What role did wealth, religion, ethnicity or status play in access to colonial institutions? A conscious trans-imperial approach allows us to gauge the specificity of various local settings with which European colonizers had to cope in embedding their institutions in local urban settings. However, institutional inequality did not only exist between and within empires, but institutional rules could also vary within port cities, with different rules for different social groups.

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