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”.
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.