Roundtable on Early Modern Asia in the Global Renaissance (Renaissance Society of America / Boston, March 20–22, 2024)

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Rhema Hokama
contact email: 

The early modern world was shaped by significant cultural exchanges between Europe and Asia. This roundtable seeks to broaden the scope of Renaissance studies by exploring the immense contributions of East, Southeast, and South Asia to global developments in Europe and beyond. We invite presenters to examine the dynamic interactions between Asian and European societies, emphasizing the multi-directional flow of ideas, goods, and artistic practices.

We encourage interdisciplinary approaches that bring together perspectives from literature, history, religion, politics, international law, and visual culture to uncover the complexities of this period of global exchange. By fostering a dialogue that includes diverse scholarly perspectives, this roundtable aims to create a more inclusive understanding of early modern Asia in this transformative era in global history.

Possible roundtable topics might include:

  • The influence of Asian intellectual traditions on European literature and vice versa
  • The rise of vernacular languages and canonization of classical texts
  • Travel writing, ethnography, and letter writing as media of communication
  • The role of Asian empires in global trade networks and their economic impacts
  • Diplomatic, political, and legal exchanges between Asian and European courts
  • The spread of scientific knowledge and technological innovations between continents
  • The use of cartography as epistemological heuristics and political tools
  • The construction of geographic terms such as “India,” “China,” “Cathay,” “Tartary” and “the Spice Islands”
  • The infrastructural and cultural impact of oceanic or overland voyages
  • Ports in Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Mediterranean as way-stations or middle spaces between the East and West
  • The role of missions in understanding—or suppressing—indigenous cultures
  • Religious dialogue across Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam
  • The construction of alterity, the universal, or racial difference in cultural encounters
  • The role of Asian artifacts in European collections and their impact on artistic production

Please submit the following materials to Rhema Hokama (rhema.hokama@gmail.com) and Andrew Hui (andrew.hui@yale-nus.edu.sg) by July 15, 2024: Name, affiliation, email address, topic title, a topic abstract (75-100 words), CV, and PhD completion date. We aim to notify speakers by July 29, 2024.