The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the winners of its 2021 Advanced Grants competition. Professor Giorgio Riello’s project ‘The Asian Origins of Global Capitalism: European Factories in the Indian Ocean, 1500-1800' (CAPASIA) was among the proposals selected for funding. It is the first ERC grant obtained by the EUI under the new funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, the EU's most ambitious programme for R&I ever.
The project, which received seed funding by the EUI Research Council in 2020, will start in October 2022 and last five years. Working with collaborators from across the globe, CAPASIA’s ambition is to recast the narrative of global economic change and capitalism by bringing into striking view the significance of Asian ports in the Indian Ocean.
In particular, the project focuses on the so-called ‘factories’, pre-modern Asian trading ports controlled by the European East India companies. By investigating the genesis, evolution, activities and connections of over 150 small and large factories, CAPASIA will establish a new spatial theory of capitalist development that complements and challenges the current Atlantic plantation-based interpretations of capitalism.
“To receive the ERC Advanced Grant is a great honour,” shares Professor Riello. “I look forward to developing this project that will take several strands of research conducted here at the EUI in new directions. CAPASIA is a unique opportunity for exploring the economic, social and material change of Asia and Europe over an arch of three centuries.”
Giorgio Riello is Head of the Department of History and Chair of Early Modern Global History at the EUI. Before arriving at the EUI, Riello was Professor of Global History and Culture and Director of Warwick in Venice. Prior to that, he was Director of the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study and Chair of the Pasold Research Fund. His research focuses on the history of economic and material culture of trade and consumption in early modern Asia and Europe. He has published extensively on the topic, including a number of articles in international journals, more than a dozen edited books and special issues of journals, and five books.