Research seminar with Julia McClure
Global history has often focused upon the tangible traces of global connections, the flows of capital and commodities, and the transcultural dialogues inscribed in material culture. Poverty, often defined as an absence of money, resources, and luxury goods, has long been in global history’s blind spot. And yet, poverty has been central to the making of the unequal nature of our global connections since the expansion of European empires in the early modern period. Global poverty has not only been a consequential economic condition, but a causal social and political project. This paper will offer a synthetic overview of the way in which poverty as a political project was invented in Europe and became central to state and empire formation.
Personal Biography: I am an early-modern global historian of the Spanish Empire, specialising in the history of poverty and charity. My work explores the historical construction of poverty as a global project in the early modern period. I examine the ways in which poverty is constructed socially, culturally, legally, and economically, for different projects of state and empire formation. My current book project, Empire of Poverty: The Moral Economy of the Spanish Empire, explores how concepts and institutions of poverty were central to the legitimation, governance, and business of empire.
Before working at the University of Glasgow, I was a lecturer at the Global History and Culture Centre at the University of Warwick and held postdoctoral fellowships at the European University Institute in Florence and the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard. I founded the poverty research network which is an inter-disciplinary and international collaboration which aims to deepen our understanding of the historically constructed nature of poverty as a way of offering new insights into how poverty is caused and addressed today