The Global Company

Internationales Wissenschaftsforum der Universität Heidelberg, Hauptstraße 242, 69117 Heidelberg
Department of History and the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ Heidelberg University; Institute for European Global Studies, University of Basel; Laureate Research Program in International History, University of Sydney; Monash University and The Migration, Identity and Translation Network (MITN)
03.12.2015 - 05.12.2015
Susanne Hohler

The Global Company Conference explores the role of the world’s first multi-nationals, the English East India Company and the Dutch East India Company, in Global History. The companies were near contemporaries that were formed within just two years of each other: the English Company in 1600 and its Dutch counterpart in 1602. From the beginning, they were also bitter rivals. Gifted by their home states with sovereign powers, the companies fought across multiple arenas, on Asian seas for maritime dominance, in courts spread across the region for diplomatic advantage and on land as both organizations claimed territorials footholds that would morph over time into powerful empires. Together the companies played a key role in the first European push into Asia and were vital political, economic and social actors in the first age of globalization. The Global Company Conference aims to bring together scholars working on these two organizations and place them in dialogue with each other. The goal is to break down traditional academic barriers and to show that these two organizations can only be understood, as they were in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in relation to each other.


Thursday, 3 December

Opening Remarks, Prof. Dr. Roland Wenzlhuemer, University of Heidelberg
6:15pm -7:30pm
Keynote Address by Professor Tonio Andrade
The Dutch East India Company in Global History

Friday 4 December

Session 1: 9 - 10:20 (Networks of information and knowledge)
Chair: Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch

The First English Ship from Japan: Return of the Clove, 1614
Professor Timon Screech

‘A system of recordation so complete’- Information gathering by the English East India Company
Dr. Margaret Makepeace

Session 2: 11 – 1pm (The companies at war)
Chair: Dr. Moritz von Brescius

Fighting for the Company: Japanese Mercenaries in the Service of the VOC
Dr. Adam Clulow

The East India Company and the foundation of Persian Naval Power in the Gulf under Nader Shah.
Peter Good

Makassar, the Companies and the rest: intelligence, diplomacy, technological exchange and war at a 17th century cosmopolitan trading port
Tristan Mostert

Session 3: 2 – 3:20pm (Rivalry and cooperation)
Chair: Dr. Tamson Pietsch

Going English? The VOC’s Engagement with EIC Political Economy in the First Anglo- Dutch War
Andrew Ruoss

Rivalry for trade in tea and textiles: the English and Dutch East India companies (1700-1800)
Dr. Chris Nierstrasz

Session 4: 4 - 5:20pm (The companies at home and abroad)
Chair: Andrew Deakin

Inventing the Amboyna Massacre
Professor Alison Games

Contesting the East Indies: Company, Empire, and the Personal Rule of Charles I
Professor Rupali Mishra

Keynote, 6 - 7:15pm
Keynote Address by Professor Philip Stern
Of Corporate Spaces: The Heterotopic Legal Geographies of the English East India

Saturday 5 December

Session 5: 9 - 11 (Negotiating in Asia)
Chair: Professor Dr. Peer Vries

Empire by Treaty? The role of written agreements with indigenous rulers and peoples in European overseas expansion, 1500-1800
Dr. Martine van Ittersum

Contacting Japan: East India Company Letters to the Shogun in 1627, 1649, 1667 and 1673
Professor Fuyuko Matsukata

The Merchant-Diplomat in Comparative Perspective: The Case of Dircq van Adrichem's Embassy to Aurangzeb's Court
Dr. Guido van Meersbergen

Session 6: 11:40 - 1pm (Networks and Empires)
Chair: Professor Dr. Roland Wenzlhuemer

Network formation and evolution within competing empires of trade
Professor Matthew Sargent

Deus ex Machina. The campaigns of vice-admiral Suffren during the fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1781-1784)
Professor Leonard Blusse

Session 7: 2 - 4pm (Trade and commercial competition)
Chair: Dr. Susann Liebich

Surat and Bombay: The Companies, Ivory and Power in Western India
Professor Martha Chaiklin

The English East India Company's Trade and the Indian Organisation of Textile Production, c.1650-1800
Professor Giorgio Riello

Interdependence, Competition, and Contestation:The English and the Dutch East India Companies and Indian Merchants in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Professor Ghulam A. Nadri

Concluding Discussion, 4:30-5:30pm (Current and future trends in company history)
Led by Professor Tonio Andrade and Professor Philip Stern
5:30pm Closing Remarks by Professor Glenda Sluga, University of Sydney


Susanne Hohler

Historisches Seminar, Grabengasse 3-5, 69117 Heidelberg

The Global Company, 03.12.2015 – 05.12.2015 Heidelberg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 22.11.2015, <>.
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