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Schmidt, Benjamin

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Benjamin Schmidt, born in Washington, DC, USA, in 1963. Ph.D. from Harvard University. Professor of History at University of Washington, Seattle.

Fellow (1 February 2013 – 30 June 2013)

The Dutch Atlantic and "Globalism" ca. 1680-1800

My research pertains to conceptions of "globalism" as they developed in early modern Europe: how Europeans conceived and represented the wider world and their place within it. The Dutch played a pivotal role in producing texts, images, and ideas related to the non-European, or "exotic" world; and their ateliers veritably monopolized the image-making industry as far as the Atlantic world was concerned. They did this, moreover, for an expansion-minded and expressly European audience. My project, undertaken in collaboration with the "Dutch Atlantic Connections" Theme Group, explores how the early modern Dutch functioned as remarkably proficient middlemen: not only in a commercial capacity, moving goods to and from Atlantic colonies (as the theme group will show), but also in a cultural capacity, as brokers of texts, images, and objects that contributed fundamentally to Europe's idea of the Atlantic and, more broadly, to precocious conceptions of an emerging "globalism".

Selected Publications

Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World, 1570-1670 (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Making Knowledge in Early Modern Europe: Practices, Objects, and Texts, 1400-1800 (University of Chicago Press, 2008) (with P. Smith).

"The Dutch Atlantic: From Provincialism to Globalism," in Atlantic History: A Critical Appraisal, ed. J. P. Greene and P. D. Morgan (Oxford University Press, 2009), 163-190.

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