Introduction: Making Worlds: Art, Materiality, and Early Modern Globalization

In: Journal of Early Modern History
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  • 1 University of California at Los Angeles
  • | 2 McGill University

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Willem Janszoon Blaeu’s engraved wall map of America is used to introduce some of the potential for imaginative forms that resulted from the confrontation between early modern global forces and the mobility of materials and artisanal practices. Cartographic lines, pictorial forms, and texts comingle on the printed page, sometimes working together towards a totalizing document of lands and peoples, but also giving rise, through calligraphic inventions and ornamentation, to detours and unpredictable movements. These tensions, and concomitant social and political implications, are considered in relation to terms, notably globalization and mondialisation, and evolving historiographic questions and arguments. Through the concept of cosmopolitan spaces, we highlight the volume’s focus on connectivity. Together, the Introduction and the essays make a case for the global as an approach as much as an archive, an approach that is attentive to the migrations and heuristic value of visual and material evidence.

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