The Global History Podcast is an educational show designed for students, teachers, scholars, and anyone interested in the history of early-modern (c. 1500 – c. 1800) contact between the West and ‘the Rest.’ The podcast will explore various themes in global history, focusing on the networks of people, trade, ideas, and commodities that connected distant continents in the age of sail. The stories we want to tell here speak to the meeting of worlds – a Baroque opera sung in a Mesoamerican dialect, a Christian figurine sculpted to look like a Chinese goddess, a geographical treatise informed by both European humanism and Malay legends – the cross-cultural encounters that shaped early modernity.
Throughout our podcast, we will explore some of the key questions driving global history research in the early modern world. What were the spaces and who were the agents of encounter during this period? What sources can we use to illuminate these encounters, and what interpretive difficulties do they raise? What are the challenges and opportunities of writing global histories of the early modern period?
These questions are not only academic for us – both of us are products of transnational connections and cultural mixture. Chase was born in the United States to an American father of European descent and a Malaysian mother of Chinese descent, and he considers himself an ethnic and cultural mix of his two heritages. Jeffery was born in Taiwan but has lived around East Asia, Canada, Britain, and the United States for most of his life. As a result, his identity is split between a Chinese cultural heritage and a Canadian civic identity. Our stories are not unusual: in fact, they are increasingly the norm in this great age of globalization. The stories we tell on this podcast have personal resonance for us, and we hope they will for you too.
Jeffery C. J. Chen is a Ph.D. student in history at Stanford University. He completed his first graduate degree, an MSt in British and European history, at the University of Oxford. His academic work, broadly speaking, focuses on the commercial and cultural networks bridging Europe and China in the eighteenth century. Jeffery holds a broad range of passionate interests, from music and opera, to literature and the visual arts. He lives in Stanford, California.
Chase Caldwell Smith is taking time out from academia to pursue other interests. He is currently working as a History Print & Digital Media Editorial Intern at W. W. Norton & Company in New York City and volunteering remotely for Project Cordillera. He has also worked as a Curatorial Intern at the New-York Historical Society. Last year, he received an MSt in Global and Imperial History from the University of Oxford, and previously a BA in History from the University of Cambridge. His research interests focus on processes of cultural encounter in the early modern Iberian empires, both in Asia and the Americas. He works at the intersection of histories of ethnic and racial identity, visual culture, knowledge production, and religious conversion. He lives in Wilton, Connecticut.
IMAGE CREDIT: Manuel Godinho de Erédia, A SAIDA DO TRONCO (The Cutting off of the Trunk). Watercolour on paper. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon, COD 414, Historia de serviços com martirio de Luis Mont[eir]o Cout[inh]o ordenada por Manoel Godinho de Eredia Math[ematico] (Goa, 1615), fol.16v-17r. Image downloaded from here.