Early Globalities: The Interconnected World, 500-1500


ACLS Fellowship Program


English, Middle Eastern Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies


Globalization is the name for a twenty-first-century phenomenon where new technologies, new modes of transnational labor and industry, and political-economic interdependencies have linked the world into an intricately intermeshed whole. Yet globalism itself is a centuries-old phenomenon. World systems theorists emphasize the economic, rather than the cultural and social, and while they have formulated models of an economically interlinked world in the modern era, the globalism of earlier periods is still insufficiently understood. “Early Globalities” studies early sociocultural globalisms. It begins by telling the story of far-flung human voyaging and early industrialization in China through a ninth-century Arab dhow and its cargo; then traces the story of the Buddha from India to the West, where the Buddha transmogrifies into two Christian saints; and concludes with an examination of two global slave races, the Mamluks of Egypt and the Romani.