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School Head — Alexander Kamenskii

 

Deputy Head — Dmitriy Dobrowolski

 

105066 Moscow, Staraya Basmannaya 21/4, building 3
Phone: +7 (495) 772 95 90 * 2 28 58

«The Threads that Bind: Luxury, Slavery, and the Circulation of Textiles between 18th-Century France and India». A talk by Liza Oliver (Wellesley College, Boston, USA).

Event ended
On 18 April 2018, at 6 PM a regular meeting of the scrientific seminar of Scool of History will be held. A talk entitled «The Threads that Bind: Luxury, Slavery, and the Circulation of Textiles between 18th-Century France and India» will be given by dr Liza Oliver (Assistant Professor of Art History and South Asia Studies at Wellesley College, Boston, USA).

Abstract. The French East India Company (CFIO) established territories along India’s Coromandel Coast beginning in 1674, from where it tapped into thriving Indian textile industries to expand its position in global maritime trading circuits. Until the CFIO’s debilitating defeat during the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), it proved a major competitor against the British East India Company in the bid for India and in the race for global trading hegemony during the eighteenth-century transition from mercantilism to liberalism. This paper examines the significance of Indian textiles within varying contexts of exchange, arguing that they fed the early modern globalization of both economies and tastes. These textiles, popular among aristocrats because of their association with rarity and Asian exoticism at large, were simultaneously traded in bulk with Africa to fund France’s involvement in the Atlantic slave trade. Using treatises on Indian textile production, trade and commission records, and representations of textiles in their settings of use, I examine how processes of exchange within global networks of the long-eighteenth century vested these textiles with contradictory meanings, while also calling attention to the malleable social life of these trade goods in their specific contexts of reception.

The seminar will be held at Staraya Basmannaya 21/4, building 3 (“korpus L”), room L-308.