Blumer’s Journey: Swiss Cotton and the Great Divergence Debate

26.02.2019, Seminar, DHI London

Kim Siebenhüner (Jena)

The history of cotton has been the subject of much recent research, but blind spots remain. International debates have barely acknowledged the role of early modern Switzerland as one of the most important European areas producing, marketing, and selling cotton cloth in the eighteenth century. This talk shows how Swiss producers and merchants were integrated into global cotton networks and reflects on how cultural history approaches may be reconciled with the debate, dominated by macro-economics, about the Great Divergence.

Kim Siebenhüner is Professor of Early Modern History at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. She has worked on early modern religious history, material culture, and cross-cultural exchange. She is the author of Die Spur der Juwelen: Materielle Kultur und transkontinentale Verbindungen zwischen Indien und Europa (2018) and co-editor of Cotton in Context: Manufacturing, Marketing and Consumption of early modern Textiles in the German-Speaking World (forthcoming 2019).

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