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Beyond Exotica. The consumption of non-European things through the case of Juan de Borja (1569-1626)

Dates:
  • Mon 26 Nov 2018 11.00 - 13.30
  Add to Calendar 2018-11-26 11:00 2018-11-26 13:30 Europe/Paris Beyond Exotica. The consumption of non-European things through the case of Juan de Borja (1569-1626)

Rhinoceros horns, Asian textiles, Chinese porcelain and Indian furniture populate the inventories from consumers in early modern Madrid. These goods had been reaching Europe in greater quantities since the opening of direct maritime routes with Asia at the end of the fifteenth century. By the end of the following century, many high-ranking individuals had several of these items among their possessions. Until now, historiography has explained this consumption behaviour with an interest and curiosity for exotic goods, which would culminate in the formation of cabinets of curiosity or in the display of a taste for Exotica. In this thesis, I argue that the perception of exoticness for things brought from overseas into Europe is a historical construction which was taking place at the same time many of these items were arriving at the ports of Lisbon or Seville. Therefore, it is necessary to go beyond the exoticness that has been attributed to these goods in order to understand consumption practices in early modern Iberia. For that purpose, this thesis offers a methodology on how to investigate about consumption, which takes into consideration the historical complexity that lies in the moment of interaction between a consumer and a thing. In other words, the main aim of this dissertation is to understand the entanglement of driving forces for consumption and the mechanisms for accessing non-European goods. In order to achieve this, the object of study is circumscribed to noblemen and noblewomen that had property near the court in Madrid at the turn of the seventeenth century. These social and time frames are determined by the decision of developing the research around the former ambassador in Portugal and then royal advisor, Juan de Borja y Castro (1533-1606). When he died, Juan de Borja left an exceptional number of exotic items, which offers an opportunity for enquiry. Besides, given Borja’s extent contacts to Portuguese networks, this case study allows bridging an analysis of consumption patterns at the court of the Hispanic Monarchy with the capacity of access to global trade.

Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Rhinoceros horns, Asian textiles, Chinese porcelain and Indian furniture populate the inventories from consumers in early modern Madrid. These goods had been reaching Europe in greater quantities since the opening of direct maritime routes with Asia at the end of the fifteenth century. By the end of the following century, many high-ranking individuals had several of these items among their possessions. Until now, historiography has explained this consumption behaviour with an interest and curiosity for exotic goods, which would culminate in the formation of cabinets of curiosity or in the display of a taste for Exotica. In this thesis, I argue that the perception of exoticness for things brought from overseas into Europe is a historical construction which was taking place at the same time many of these items were arriving at the ports of Lisbon or Seville. Therefore, it is necessary to go beyond the exoticness that has been attributed to these goods in order to understand consumption practices in early modern Iberia. For that purpose, this thesis offers a methodology on how to investigate about consumption, which takes into consideration the historical complexity that lies in the moment of interaction between a consumer and a thing. In other words, the main aim of this dissertation is to understand the entanglement of driving forces for consumption and the mechanisms for accessing non-European goods. In order to achieve this, the object of study is circumscribed to noblemen and noblewomen that had property near the court in Madrid at the turn of the seventeenth century. These social and time frames are determined by the decision of developing the research around the former ambassador in Portugal and then royal advisor, Juan de Borja y Castro (1533-1606). When he died, Juan de Borja left an exceptional number of exotic items, which offers an opportunity for enquiry. Besides, given Borja’s extent contacts to Portuguese networks, this case study allows bridging an analysis of consumption patterns at the court of the Hispanic Monarchy with the capacity of access to global trade.


Location:
Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Jorge Flores (European University Institute)
Giorgio Riello (EUI - HEC)
Bernardo García García (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

Defendant:
Bruno A Martinho (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Supervisor:
Luca Molà (University of Warwick)

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