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The Global History of Capitalism

Convergence/Divergence: New Approaches to the Global History of Capitalism Conference

The Global History of Capitalism project, housed within the Oxford Centre for Global History, is a focal point for ongoing scholarship on the history of capitalism. The project promotes an explicitly global perspective that contextualises the history of capitalism beyond the West and investigates the deep institutional roots of capitalist systems.
The Global History of Capitalism project hosted the conference ‘Convergence/Divergence: New Approaches to the Global History of Capitalism’ on September 28-29 2019. The conference brought together cultural, economic, and political historians of global capitalism with the aim of starting a new conversation about the relationship between capitalism and global history.
The conference organisers took the broad theme of global divergences and convergences (from the 1500s to the present) as the starting point for discussion. Global historians and historians of capitalism continue to debate whether there was a “Great Divergence” between the West and Asia in the nineteenth-century. Presenters discussed the timing and causality of the Great Divergence, tales of convergence between Europe and Asia, and new frameworks of discussion for global economic history.
The conference received funding from the Global History of Capitalism Project and Brasenose College, Oxford.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Histories of Emergence Ravinder Kaur (Associate Professor of Modern South Asian Studies, Copenhagen) gives a lecture on history and public policy. Ravinder Kaur 29 Sep 2019
2 Did the Little Divergence within Europe and America contribute to the Great Divergence? Leandro Prados de la Escosura (Professor of Economic History, Carlos III University, Madrid) gives a lecture on ‘Did the Little Divergence within Europe and America contribute to the Great Divergence?’ Leandro Prados de la Escosura 28 Sep 2019
3 The World Historical in China’s Twentieth Century: Perspectives on Modernity, Globalization and Globality Rebecca Karl (Professor of History, NYU) gives a lecture on ‘The World Historical in China’s Twentieth Century: Perspectives on Modernity, Globalization and Globality’. Rebecca Karl 28 Sep 2019
4 The Spaces In Between: What is Global about the History of Capitalism? Andrew Edwards (Career Development Fellow for the Global History of Capitalism project, Oxford) gives a lecture on ‘The Spaces in Between: What is Global about the History of Capitalism?’ Andrew Edwards 28 Sep 2019
5 The Limits of Reciprocal Comparisons: Money and Trade Finance in the Early Modern Period Alejandra Irigoin (Associate Professor in the Department of Economic History, LSE) gives a lecture on ‘The Limits of Reciprocal Comparisons: Money and The Early Modern Period’. Alejandra Irigoin 28 Sep 2019
6 Industry in the Global South, 1840s-1940s: Unfinished Business William Clarence-Smith (Emeritus Professor of History, SOAS) gives a lecture on ‘Industry in the Global South, 1840s-1940s: Unfinished Business’. William Clarence-Smith 28 Sep 2019
7 Water and the Economic History of India Tirthankar Roy (Professor in Economic History, Department of Economic History, LSE) gives a lecture on ‘Water and the Economic History of India’. Tirthankar Roy 28 Sep 2019
8 Asia and the Great Divergence Bishnu Gupta (Professor of Economics, Warwick) gives a lecture on ‘Asia and the Great Divergence’. Bishnu Gupta 28 Sep 2019
9 The Great Acceleration in Asia: Beyond 'Coal and North America' Kaoru Sugihara (Specially Appointed Professor at the Research Institute for Humanities and Nature, Kyoto) gives a lecture on ‘The Great Acceleration in Asia: Beyond 'Coal and North America'’. Kaoru Sugihara 28 Sep 2019
10 The Great Intellectual Divergence: Alexander Hamilton and the Global Origins of Environmental Investmentality Eli Cook (Assistant Professor of American History, Haifa) gives a lecture on ‘The Great Intellectual Divergence: Alexander Hamilton and the Global Origins of Environmental Investmentality’. Eli Cook 28 Sep 2019
11 Cosmographical Foundations for the Promotion of Embryo Sciences and Proto- technologies in Pre-industrial Europe and Late Imperial China Patrick O’Brien (Professor of Economic History in the Department of Economic History, LSE) gives a lecture on ‘Cosmographical Foundations for the Promotion of Embryo Sciences and Proto- technologies in Pre-industrial Europe and Late Imperial China’. Patrick O’Brien 29 Sep 2019
12 Silk and Innovation in Pre-modern China and Europe Dagmar Schafer (Director, Max Planck Institute) and Giorgio Riello (Professor of Early Modern Global History, EUI) give a lecture on ‘Silk and Innovation in Pre-modern China and Europe’. Dagmar Schafer, Giorgio Riello 29 Sep 2019
13 China and the West: Many Great Divergences Joel Mokyr (Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern) gives a lecture on ‘China and the West: Many Great Divergences’. Joel Mokyr 29 Sep 2019
14 Household, Wage Labour and Capitalist Transformations in 20th Century Africa Andreas Eckert (Professor of African History, Humboldt-University Berlin) gives a lecture on ‘Household, Wage Labour and Capitalist Transformations in 20th Century Africa’. Andreas Eckert 29 Sep 2019
15 Divisions of Labour: the Household and the Economy Peter Hill (Northumbria) gives a lecture on ‘Divisions of Labour: the Household and the Economy’. Peter Hill 29 Sep 2019
16 Strange Legacies of Divergence:  The Chinese Gold Mining Diaspora 1850-1910 Mae Ngai (Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History, Columbia) gives a lecture on ‘Strange Legacies of Divergence:  The Chinese Gold Mining Diaspora 1850-1910’. Mae Ngai 29 Sep 2019
17 Wrap up reflection part 1 Jeremy Adelman (Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Princeton) gives a lecture on history and public policy. Jeremy Adelman 29 Sep 2019
18 Wrap up and reflection part 2 Patricia Clavin (Professor of International History, Oxford) gives a lecture on history and public policy. Patricia Clavin 29 Sep 2019