Early Modern History in 28 Objects

Welcome to a digital exhibit developed by Louisa Foroughi’s Fall 2018 Honors Early Modern European History course. This semester we learned about the Early Modern world through the lens of its material culture and commodities. We read about malaria and silver; tobacco and sugar; coffee and chocolate; tulipmania and butterflies; the building of Versailles and reconstruction of Lisbon; and the tragic and terrible commodification of human beings represented by the Early Modern slave trade. Here, fourteen talented students present their research into twenty-eight things–commodities, artifacts, paintings, viruses, buildings–that represent major trends in Early Modern history.

For further reading, see our textbooks for the course:
Timothy Brook. Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World. London: Bloomsbury, 2008.
Natalie Zemon Davis. Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997.
Rebecca Earle. The Body of the Conquistador: Food, Race, and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America, 1492–1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Charles Mann. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. New York: Knopf, 2012.