Doing Global Economic History in the Medieval Period
Building on impressive new research into the concept of a ‘global middle ages’, this chapter offers insights into how economic formations developed around the world. Drawing on new research on both Chinese and Mediterranean economies in the ‘medieval’ period, it compares structures of economy and exchange in very different parts of the world. The point of such comparisons is not simply to find instances of global economic flows but to understand the logic of medieval economic activity and its intersections with power and culture; and, in so doing, to remind historians that economic structures, transnational connections, and the imbrications of economy and politics do not arrive only with modernity, nor is the shape of the ‘modern’ global economy the only pattern known to humankind.
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