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Global Encounters between China and Europe: Trade Networks, Consumption and Cultural Exchanges in Macau and Marseille (1680-1840)

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - GECEM (Global Encounters between China and Europe: Trade Networks, Consumption and Cultural Exchanges in Macau and Marseille (1680-1840))

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2021-12-31

GECEM project seeks out new directions and engages primary challenges of global history for the 21st century, including the role of China in the international community, and its relations with western powers, mainly with Europe. The hegemonic position of this Asian giant cannot be fully understood if we do not also consider historical perspectives and the early origins of such relations. This intellectual challenge can be addressed, since the core and main aim of GECEM is to use new historical evidence from China and Europe during the early modern period to shed new light on big questions such as why China did not develop at the same economic levels than northwestern Europe in the first industrialization or why modern capitalism did not emerge in China. These are vital questions, first raised by social science theorists and scholars from the California School.

Consumer behavior, trade networks that allowed the circulation of new goods, technology and people, and the cultural transfers inherent to these features, are the main indicators to analyse the economic development for Qing China and early modern Europe. This project has concluded that there was a very dynamic unofficial trade and merchant networks that the Qing state as well as European states could not regulate. Therefore, the period of analysis for this project from 1680 to 1840 shows the high levels of consumption of global goods in China such as potato, tobacco, red wine, among others, as well as the consumption of Chinese silk, tea and porcelain in Europe. The final results and Open Access publications of GECEM Project have proved this hypothesis. This research, therefore, goes in line with the new revisionist studies of the great divergence and the implementation of the “new” global history through new methodologies of digital humanities (i.e. designing of new databases and software).

GECEM Project Database has been finalized and published as Open Access This database is authored by the P.I. Manuel Perez-Garcia and Manuel Diaz-Ordoñez (GECEM research fellow). The Intellectual Property Right (IPR) and trademark has been obtained for the GECEM Project Database. This database includes approximately 40,000 historical registers and data on global trade in China’s and Europe’s markets. The joint article published by the P.I. and GECEM researchers titled “Big Data and “New” Global History: Global Goods and Trade Networks in Early Modern China and Europe” at the Itinerario. Journal of Imperial and Global Interactions presents the final results of GECEM Project Database in its process of designing, implementation and data mining.
GECEM Project have been efficiently implemented by GECEM staff, the obvious breakthrough of GECEM project has been to consolidate a new line of research, creating a new academic ‘school’, filling the historiographical gap in global (economic) history introducing new case studies and comparisons between European and East Asian regions.

The GECEM project team is characterized by diversity and interdisciplinary as it is composed by scholars from China, Europe and the Americas, with expertise in different areas of social sciences and humanities. An overview of the results is provided here, mentioning the milestones of the GECEM project:

- Kick-off meetings of GECEM project to organizing the work and plan at the beginning of the project
- Launching GECEM Project website
- Organization of GECEM workshops, lecture series and panels at international conferences.
- New book series at Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History in which Manuel Perez-Garcia P.I. of GECEM Project is the editor-in-chief.
- Publications of monographs, edited books, chapter books, editing special issues and publishing articles at SSCI & AHCI indexed journals, as well as the periodical publication of GECEM Newsletter for the dissemination of results.
- Finalization and Open Access publication of GECEM Project Database
-GECEM archive missions: collecting historical data at the archives of Beijing, Shanghai, and Canton in China, Macau, Seville (Spain), Marseille (France), and University of Cambridge (UK).
- Development of the thesis of GECEM PhD researchers, the research of GECEM postdoc, research fellows and the project manager.

The summary of deliverables as final results of the project consisted of Open Access publications. The total number of these publications is listed below:

GECEM website GECEM Database GECEM logo and Global History Network (GHN) logo.

Number of articles in peer review journals: 24
Number of working papers: 3
Number of GECEM Newsletters: 6
Forthcoming publications (2 monographs and 2 articles in peer reviewed journals): 4
Monographs/Books: 5
Book Chapters: 10
Total: 52
The GECEM project examines the strategic geopolitical sites that fostered commerce, consumption and socioeconomic networks between China and Europe via a particular case study: Macau, along with South China, and Marseille in Mediterranean Europe from 1680 to 1840. Such concrete comparison helps to narrow the gap that some researchers have created when widely analyzing the differences between Asia and Europe in the absence of specific geographical and chronological delineation. Specialists in the field of global (economic) history, as well as those dealing with the great divergence debate have frequently been compelled to rely on vague comparisons between China and Europe, without substantial empirical evidence, to analyze economic growth during the early modern period. However, less effort has been made to measure micro data such as levels of consumption of different social groups.

Through the national diversity of the GECEM research staff (who originate from China, Europe and the Americas), and who range in experience from new PhD researchers to advanced research fellows, and senior researchers, the accomplishment of this project underlines the concept of interdisciplinarity and marks the creation of a new school of global historians. It is relevant to mention the work undertaken by the GECEM staff in data collection at historical archives in China and Europe such as The First Historical Archives of China in Beijing, The Provincial Historical Archives of Canton, The Historical Archives of Macao, The Provincial Historical Archive of Seville, and The General Archive of the Indies in Seville, among the most relevant. The novel methodology to cross-referencing these sources has been successfully implemented through GECEM Project Database ( published as Open Access. This is ground-breaking database for the area of social sciences and humanities. This database represents the state-of-the-art in digital humanities and Big Data Mining applied to global (economic) history through the comparison of Qing China and early modern European economies.

GECEM academic network and the Global History Network (GHN) in China founded and led since 2012 by Manuel Perez-Garcia have played an essential role in the project’s achievements.
1st GECEM workshop at University of Chicago-Beijing Center
ERC EURAXESS China Shanghai 2018
One Asia Talks Conference University British Columbia october 2018
GECEM EURASIA TRAJECO international congress 2018
GECEM team UPO rector vicerector and OTRI director at the international week of science UPO
GECEM PI and President of ERC presenting ERC Programs and GECEM project in Beijing 2016
presenting GECEM project with Shanghai Jiao Tong University EU Delegation and Euraxess China
Global History with Chinese Characteristics monograph by Manuel Perez-Garcia 2021
2nd GECEM workshop at UPO
GECEM Project Database
agreement between GECEM and Palgrave for New Series in Global History at 1st GECEM workshop
GECEM team at the Imperial Archives in the Forbidden City Beijing China
GECEM staff working at TBC archives China
GECEM team digitalizing historical documenst at TBC Beijing
1st GECEM book cover Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History