The Global History Podcast is an educational show designed for students, teachers, and anyone interested in the early modern world. We are dedicated to sharing histories both early modern and global, from approximately the 16th to the early 19th centuries. 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 USA 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.
Chase Caldwell Smith will begin a Ph.D. in History at UCLA this fall, having previously earned an MSt in Global and Imperial History from the University of Oxford (2018) and a BA in History from the University of Cambridge (2017). Over the past year and a half, he has taken time out from academia to pursue other interests, including an internship at BFM Media in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he produced an eight-part mini-series for radio on Malaysian history, and internships at Columbia University Press, W. W. Norton & Company, and the New-York Historical Society. His research interests focus on cultural encounters and knowledge production in the early modern Iberian empires, particularly in maritime Southeast Asia.
Jeffery C. J. Chen is a Ph.D. student in modern British history at Stanford University. Outside of academic work, Jeffery is passionate about music, literature, and the visual arts. His public writing can be found in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, and The Diplomat, among other publications.