November 2, 2012
University of Glamorgan historian Chris Evans has won funding worth £330,000 over the next three years in partnership with Professor Göran Rydén of Uppsala University in Sweden. Their project, Places for Making, Places for Taking: Metals in the Global Eighteenth Century, has been awarded a coveted grant by the Swedish funder Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.
“Places for Making, Places for Taking returns to a classic problem of social science”, Professor Rydén explains, “which is how to account for the transition from the early modern to modern.”
Professor Evans added, “We trace the history of metals like iron and steel, copper and brass, which were traded globally in the eighteenth century, to explore the connections between different parts of the world economy at the dawn of the modern age. Metals did not wait for the Industrial Revolution in order to act as agents of global interaction. Many historians assume that long-distance trade before the modern age was restricted to high-value luxuries like spices or silk, but metals were of untold importance as a medium of globalization before globalization.
“We’ll be examining how iron and copper played a critical role in the Atlantic slave trade, how the metallic needs of plantations in the New World acted as a stimulus to change in European manufacturing, and how copper was an vital commodity that interlinked Japan, India and Europe.”