What on Earth is This? Defining, Labeling and Classifying Early Modern Commodities

4 ma
4 december 2023

Date: Monday 4 December
Time: 13:00 – 16:15
Location: Room F0.01 at the Humanities Labs, University of Amsterdam (Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48 Amsterdam).
Parallel sessions will be organised for online participants.
Registration: Eventbrite
Tools: Bring your own laptop!

Are you a historian or a student of history at university with a keen interest in trade, material culture, commodity histories or just good old historical research? If yes, we at the GLOBALISE Project (KNAW Humanities Cluster), in collaboration with the CREATE Lab (UvA), invite you to participate in a workshop to contribute to and enrich our thesaurus of commodities traded in the early modern Indian Ocean world.

As part of our effort to contextualise the contents of millions of pages from the VOC archives, we are creating a glossary and taxonomy of hundreds of commodities that were traded by the Dutch East India Company and local communities. We plan to publish the first online version of the dataset shortly. Owing to the size of the Dutch East India Company archives, this makes this corpus the potentially single largest source available to uncovering the history of the region. For this reason, we believe that our commodities dataset will be of indispensable use for researching these archives and writing new histories of trade and consumption in the Indian Ocean in the period.

An example of a cargo list with textiles from Ceylon in the VOC archive, with several packs of bethilles, moeris, vlaggedoek, salempoeris, neusdoeken and periemoenemolam. Nationaal Archief, CC0.

We would like to invite you to participate in a half-day datasprint where we will research the definition of commodities, scour the VOC archives and other sources to find alternative labels for these goods, and even categorise commodities in groups that would be interesting and valuable for your own research. This will be the perfect opportunity to sink your teeth into the archives of the Dutch East India Company, learn more about commodities that crossed the early modern seas, deploy your skills of historical research, interact with like-minded students and scholars, and contribute to the creation of a vital, shared resource.

Click here for more information.

© KNHG 2024 Website: Code Clear