HomeRethinking tobacco history: Commodities, empire and agency in global perspective, 1780–1960

HomeRethinking tobacco history: Commodities, empire and agency in global perspective, 1780–1960

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Published on Thursday, September 03, 2020 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

Tobacco was one of the most important globally traded commodities from the 17th century through to the present day, and yet it has received relatively little attention in the historiography of modern empires in comparison to other commodities, such as sugar or cotton. As a result, recent approaches to rewriting the history of European imperialism from a more global perspective have hardly been problematized with regard to the peculiarities of tobacco history. Nowadays, studies no longer understand empire as a rigid relationship between metropole and colonies, but take the dynamics of actors within an empire as seriously as the networks and global processes that crossed imperial borders, or indeed lay beyond them. The conference starts from this assumption.

Announcement

To be held at the University of Cologne, December 1–4, 2021.

Argument

Tobacco was one of the most important globally traded commodities from the 17th century through to the present day, and yet it has received relatively little attention in the historiography of modern empires in comparison to other commodities, such as sugar or cotton. As a result, recent approaches to rewriting the history of European imperialism from a more global perspective have hardly been problematized with regard to the peculiarities of tobacco history. Nowadays, studies no longer understand empire as a rigid relationship between metropole and colonies, but take the dynamics of actors within an empire as seriously as the networks and global processes that crossed imperial borders, or indeed lay beyond them. The conference starts from this assumption. We ask to what extent the history of tobacco allows new insights into the tension between the imperial integration of a metropole and its colonies, and the global entanglement of places and peoples within and beyond empires. Changing regimes of consumption, knowledge, myth-making, trade, and work, are central fields of recent commodity studies, and deserve particular attention. To this end, we aim to apply insights from economic and cultural history, but also from political, social, psychological, and environmental history. While Western overseas empires have tended to attract most attention, we welcome contributions on all countries and all empires.

English will be main language of the conference. Contributions in French and Spanish are also welcome. Interpreter services will not be available. We seek to have a good representation of women, scholars based in the Global South, postdocs, and doctoral candidates. We will inform applicants by early December 2020 of their papers being accepted. We are seeking funding to cover accommodation and travel, and confirmed applicants will be informed as soon as possible, and no later than mid-May 2021. A selection of conference papers will be considered for publication.

Application process

Paper abstract of 500 words max. and Curriculum Vitae (one PDF, please) should be sent to rethinkingtobaccohistory@gmx.net

by November 15, 2020.

The organizers

  • Prof. Jean Stubbs (School of Advanced Study, University of London)
  • Prof. William Clarence-Smith (SOAS University of London)
  • Dr. Alexander van Wickeren (University of Cologne)

Places

  • Universiity of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Köln
    Cologne, Federal Republic of Germany

Date(s)

  • Sunday, November 15, 2020

Keywords

  • Tobacco, Global History, Imperial History, Commodity Chains, Consumption, Knowledge

Contact(s)

  • van Wickeren Alexander
    courriel : rethinkingtobaccohistory [at] gmx [dot] net

Information source

  • van Wickeren Alexander
    courriel : rethinkingtobaccohistory [at] gmx [dot] net

To cite this announcement

« Rethinking tobacco history: Commodities, empire and agency in global perspective, 1780–1960 », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, September 03, 2020, https://calenda.org/798548

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