How the world has change over the past five hundred years. It has become increasingly integrated, as people, ideas, and goods move all over the planet. Take the case of Asia, where much of the world’s innovation occurred up to the 1500s and large continental empires controlled most of the territory in India and China. From the 16th to the 20th century, Mughal India, Ming and Qing China, and Tokugawa Japan beginning in the 17th century increasingly faced a growing challenge from Western maritime powers, including Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, and the United States. By the late 19th century, these empires had divided up much of Asia and Africa into colonial domains and spheres of influence. They imposed unequal treaties on China and Japan, establishing treaty ports such as Shanghai and Kobe. In this course, students will learn about the history of Western imperialism in Asia both chronologically and spatially as the Fall 2018 voyage retraces the 15th century travels of Portuguese explorers as they navigated their way down the west coast of Africa and from the east coast all the way to India, setting the stage for the global competition for empire that would emerge over the next five centuries. This course will maximize the potential of each of the ports we will visit to tell the story of how the modern world of globalization in which we now live was created.
Field WorkCountry: India
Date: October 25, 2018
This daylong field class will provide students with an opportunity to make connections between what they have read about Portuguese exploration and colonization, and the actual realities of Cochin, India, an important center of the Asian spice trade and the site where the Portuguese ships first landed as they navigated their way from Africa to India. We will consider the historical memory of the Portuguese commercial empire, the melding of diverse cultural influences in Cochin, and the history of Cochin before, during, and after contacts with the European world. Learning objectives:
- Distinguish colonial influences in Cochin.
- Observe and discuss the interplay of cultures at work in a center of the early modern spice trade.
- Learn about the history of Cochin in the context of the development of the Portuguese commercial empire.