The Imagination of Matter in the Atlantic World’s Political Economy
- 42 Downloads
The above quotation from Long’s Significations situates the modern “self” within the network of exchanges that constituted the “Atlantic world economy of mercantilism and capitalism.” The network of exchanges constituting the Atlantic World determined how people involved in them would conceive the relationship between and among themselves and God and between themselves and nature. The break up of the medieval synthesis made it improbable that theologians could provide a comprehensive framework for merchants, monarchs, nation-states, ecclesiastical bodies, and so on to operate since Christendom was fractured between Roman Catholics and Protestants. What would emerge as a modern sensibility—a modern way of imagining matter—ensued from a number of factors rather than a single cause. Although it is convenient to periodize the transition from the medieval to modern period with the Renaissance/ Reformation there is no way to prove this irrefutably. Some would prefer the Age of Reason and others the Industrial Revolution. For our purposes we are locating the transition to modernity in the long sixteenth century because this is when Europeans first began their Voyages of Exploration that connected Africa, the Americas, and Europe for the first time.
KeywordsMaterial Object Sixteenth Century Human Consciousness Slave Trade Sexual Exchange
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff in Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
- 3.Donald Philip Verene, Vico’s Science of Imagination (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981), p. 86.Google Scholar
- 8.Daniel Chirot, Social Change in the Modern Era (New York: Harcourt, 1986), p. 20.Google Scholar
- 11.R. W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (New York: Penguin, 1990), pp. 138–139.Google Scholar
- 13.William Pietz, “The Problem of the Fetish,” RES 9 (Spring 1985): pp. 6–7.Google Scholar
- 15.Arend Theodor Van Leeuen, Critique of Heaven and Earth vol. 2 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974), p. 230.Google Scholar
- 17.A number of forces and tendencies that were percolating in Europe galvanized and were released through the Reformation. Reason became unfettered by dogma and freed to not only engage in an independent reading of the Holy Scriptures but also reality in general. This freeing of reason according to some scholars such as Robert K. Merton, Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England (New York: Fertig, 1970)Google Scholar
- 20.R. C. Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 181–182.Google Scholar