Until quite recently, the field of early modern history largely focused on Europe. The overarching narrative of the early modern world began with the European “discoveries,” proceeded to European expansion overseas, and ended with an exploration of the factors that led to the “triumph of Europe.” When the Journal of Early Modern History was established in 1997, the centrality of Europe in the emergence of early modern forms of capitalism continued to be a widely held assumption. Much has changed in the last twenty years, including the recognition of the significance of consumption in different parts of the early modern world, the spatial turn, the emergence of global history, and the shift from the study of trade to the commodities themselves.
Herman Van der Wee“Structural Changes in European Long-Distance Trade, and Particularly in the Reexport Trade from South to North, 1350-1750,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires14-33; Niels Steensgaard “The Growth and Composition of the Long-Distance Trade of England and the Dutch Republic before 1750” in The Rise of Merchant Empires 102-52; The importance of comparative methodologies is also spelled out in the short editorial that accompanies the first part of the first volume of the jemh. See James D. Tracy “From the Editors” Journal of Early Modern History 1 (January 1997): 1.
Gungwu Wang“Merchants without Empire: The Hokkien Sojourning Communities,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires400-422; Irfan Habib “Merchant Communities in Precolonial India” in The Rise of Merchant Empires 371-99.
See for example Randolph Starn“The Early Modern Muddle,”Journal of Early Modern History6 (2002): 296-307; The colonial roots of European modernity are discussed in Jorge Cañizares Esguerra “Spanish America in Eighteenth-Century European Travel Compilations: A New ‘Art of Reading’ and the Transition To Modernity” Journal of Early Modern History 2 (1998): 329-49; The following review discusses the issue briefly for the Ottoman empire: James E. Baldwin “Tezcan Baki. The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World [Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization] (Cambridge 2010)” Journal of Early Modern History 16 (2012): 451-53.
Eric S. Casino and Myongsup Shin“South China Sea or ‘Asian Mediterranean Sea’: Re-Conceptualizing a Common Regional Maritime Zone,”International Area Studies Review2 (1999): 43-64; Angela Schottenhammer ed. The East Asian Mediterranean: Maritime Crossroads of Culture Commerce and Human Migration East Asian Economic and Socio-Cultural Studies. East Asian Maritime History 6 (Wiesbaden 2008); François Gipouloux The Asian Mediterranean: Port Cities and Trading Networks in China Japan and Southeast Asia 13th-21st Century (Cheltenham 2011).
Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell“The Mediterranean and ‘the New Thalassology’,”The American Historical Review111 (6 January 2006): 722-40; M. P. M. Vink “Indian Ocean Studies and the ‘New Thalassology’” Journal of Global History 2 (2007): 41-62.
Chen Tzoref-Ashkenazi“German Auxiliary Troops in the British and Dutch East India Companies,” in Transnational Soldiers: Foreign Military Enlistment in the Modern Eraed. Nir Arielli and Bruce Collins (New York 2013) 34; See also the much earlier book by Roelof van Gelder Het Oost-Indisch avontuur: Duitsers in dienst van de voc (1600-1800) (Nijmegen 1997).
Maxine Berg“In Pursuit of Luxury: Global History and British Consumer Goods in the Eighteenth Century,”Past & Present182 (2004): 85-142; Maxine Berg ed. Goods from the East 1600-1800: Trading Eurasia Europe’s Asian Centuries (Basingstoke 2015).
Xiaodong Xu“Europe-China-Europe: The Transmission of the Craft of Painted Enamel in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” in Goods from the East 1600-1800: Trading Eurasiaed. Maxine Berg (Basingstoke 2015) 92-106. See also the forthcoming Warwick University Ph.D. by Tang Hui.
Christina Brauner“Connecting Things: Trading Companies and Diplomatic Gift-Giving on the Gold and Slave Coasts in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,”Journal of Early Modern History20 (2016): 408-28.
Matthew P. Romaniello“True Rhubarb? Trading Eurasian Botanical and Medical Knowledge in the Eighteenth Century,”Journal of Global History11 (2016): 3-23; Matthee The Pursuit of Pleasure; Bertie R. Mandelblatt “ ‘Beans from Rochel and Manioc from Prince’s Island’: West Africa French Atlantic Commodity Circuits and the Provisioning of the French Middle Passage” History of European Ideas 34 (2008): 411-423; James McCann Maize and Grace: Africa’s Encounter with a New World Crop 1500-2000 (Cambridge ma 2005); John F. Richards “Early Modern India and World History” Journal of World History 8 (1997): 197-209.