Linking destinies: Trade, towns and kin in Asian history

Artikelnummer: 9789067183208 Categorie:

Trade flows, cities and kinship relations can all be seen as elements of complex networks. In this collection of essays, all of which deal with Asia, we argue that there are good reasons to envisage them as various dimensions of the same networks. Nevertheless, it is fairly rare to find trade, cities and kinship relations as intimately linked as we have portrayed them in this volume, because they are usually classified within different sub-disciplines of history, whose practitioners are all too often not inclined to talk to people outside their own field. The Australian born historian Heather Sutherland, who recently retired from the VU university in Amsterdam, is an exception in this respect because most of her work gravitates towards an approach which aims to integrate this trinity of topics. This collection of essays, written by a number of her students and close colleagues, has taken its cue from her approach. It is not the case that all the contributions deal with all three topics but they as a collective demonstrate how flows of trade, cities – both as urban centres and nodes in wider networks – and kinship relations hang together, and how the study of one topic opens new vistas on the other two, revealing causal links that otherwise would have remained hidden. Thus, the essays in this collective volume support the idea that trade, towns and kin – although often dealt with quite separately – can be viewed as various aspects of the same networks, connecting people, places and commodities.

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