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 A&H 374 - World History Research Seminar: Zeeland and the Early Modern World


Today we are often told that we are fortune to live in the historical era of the knowledge and information society. Indeed, the notion of the knowledge and information society has become central to the shaping of public policies and concerns and for the measurement of the success, productivity and competitiveness of societies. In this World History Research Seminar, we will explore the long-term history or genealogy of the knowledge and information society by engaging in a dialogue between our world and the early modern world, using primary source material.

During the Spring Semester of 2016, the focus of this course will (again) be on the role of global corporations in the shaping of knowledge and information networks and cultures in the 18th century world. Our case study will be the MCC, the Middelburg trading company founded during the South Sea Bubble in 1720, which is infamous for its role in the triangular (slave) trade of the Atlantic world. The archives of this company (1720-1888) have been preserved in exceptional detail in the Provincial Archives of Zeeland. They enable us to study the external information networks and internal information processing of one of one of the global corporations of the early modern world. 

In group and individual work students will learn to use the MCC archives and related archives and collections as sources for the study of an early modern global trading corporation as a clustering of local and global information and knowledge networks. In so doing they will develop a variety of historical skills and gain insight in the history of an important (ideological) feature of modern society. 

Knowledge of Dutch is not a prerequisite. The MCC archives contain documents in other languages including English.

Also check out the film essay made in Spring 2015 by Nestor Romero Clemente and Lewis Dean.


Dr. Arjan van Dixhoorn​




One of the following is required in order to take this course: 

  • ​Any 200-level History and Cultural History​
  • Permission from the instructor

​ ​​​In Spring 2015, UCR students Nestor Romero Clemente and Lewis Dean made a beautiful film as part of his requirements for this course. ​​​​