Inventing Exoticism: European Geography and "Globalism" Circa 1700


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies during academic year 2006-2007


This project explores the production of exoticism and globalism c. 1700 and the Dutch role therein. During this critical moment of expansion--postdating the Columbian thrust of 1492-1650, yet predating Europe's great age of empire--the Dutch produced an unprecedented quantity of works depicting distant peoples and places. These materials coincided, paradoxically, not with an expansion but contraction of Dutch colonial efforts. New research accounts for this project of geography, so influential in shaping Enlightenment Europe's image of the globe, and the strategy of "exoticism" adopted in marketing a world the Dutch had but a meager stake in possessing. This study questions the place of power in the production of knowledge and endeavors to understand Europe's mimetic engagement with the world c. 1700.