Feudalism to Capitalism to Globalization

History 103B.007

Fall 2013
Day & Time: 
M 12-2P
The ‘transition from feudalism to capitalism’ is one of the most widely studied topics in early modern history, usually defined in some way by radical changes in economic networks and social structures at the dawn of the early modern period – the rise of a commercial bourgeoisie, the emergence of an agricultural proletariat, the proliferation of urban manufacture, early sophistication in credit and finance, etc.  But while these changes continued to stimulate unprecedented growth throughout Europe’s first wave of global expansion, studies of the world shaped by this profound transition often stop at the edge of the continent. 
The concept of ‘Globalization’ also functions as a dynamic nexus in contemporary academia, bringing together more fields of humanities and social sciences than perhaps any other single theme.  However, taken by many as the defining characteristic of our modern world, the phenomenon is usually referenced in connection with a broad range of issues that can be classified as “crises of the now”.  As a consequence, the early history of these global developments is often overshadowed by the revolutionary increase in scope and scale during our later period.  
In this seminar we will treat “the origins of capitalism” and “the origins of globalization” as two subjects inextricably linked, but with a relationship to each other that remains ours to define.  After analyzing its origins, we will observe the landscape of early modern capitalism in its role as a staging ground for this nascent phase of globalization, and we will work to identify the key features and elements that came to affect most profoundly the unprecedented expansion of Europe’s social-economic influence.  
Knightcarl Raymond is a PhD candidate in early and late modern European history at U.C. Berkeley, with an emphasis on the social and cultural history of economy.  His dissertation is focused on the fabrication of diamonds in Amsterdam during the 17th and 18th centuries.  More broadly, he is interested in the various ways that local, regional, and international developments have interacted to transform urban industrial production and consumer cultures throughout the modern era.