How have commodities shaped the world we live in today? The unit explores a range of key commodities including silver, tobacco, cotton, sugar, coffee, spices and oil that were exchanged across large parts of the world and which came to transform the political, economic and social contours of disparate regions. Through an analysis of the transnational flow of goods across the last 600 years, we will explore the expanding field of Global History and consider the advantages and pitfalls involved in moving beyond the standard boundaries of area studies to make use of new methodologies and historical frames. In addition to exploring the objects of globalisation, the unit also uncovers its agents by focusing on how mercantile companies, smugglers, trade diasporas and a host of other groups facilitated the creation and exploitation of global connections. By weaving together the stories of different commodities, this unit aims to present new ways to understand the development and impact of global capitalism.
For student presentations of individual commodities, see http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/global-history/commodities/
The unit explores the history of Japan and East Asia via an examination of the figure of the samurai. The focus is broadly on the period from 1185 to 1867 when Japan was ruled by a succession of warrior regimes but the unit will also explore the evolution of samurai images and representations primarily in film but also in books, anime, manga, and video games. The central concern is with the evolution of the figure of the samurai across this long period and with the constant tensions between the ideals put forward about the way of the warrior and the actual realities of samurai life. We will explore the samurai from varied perspectives by considering questions of status, identity, politics, gender, and economics.
I also teach the introductory sequence in International Studies.
ATS1325 – Contemporary Worlds 1
ATS1326 – Contemporary Worlds 2