CAPASIA: The Asian origins of global capitalism: European factories in the Indian Ocean, 1500-1800

16 March 2023 | 14:30 — 16:00

FBK Aula Piccola

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali

FBK Aula Piccola

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali

In this presentation, Giorgio Riello (Principal Investigator) and Michael O’Sullivan (Senior Research Fellow) introduce CAPASIA, an ERC-funded research project based at the European University Institute in Florence. Beginning with a reflection on the project’s historiographical point of departure, they then examine the institution of the European trading ‘factory’ in the early modern Indian Ocean. The factory, which forms the empirical focal point of CAPASIA, has consistently been regarded as a monochromatic institution, showing little variation across time and space. In response, Riello and O’Sullivan disaggregate the factory into diverse typologies and situate it squarely within Asian port settings. They thereby demonstrate the factories’ utility for the study of early modern global capitalism writ large. In addition to covering CAPASIA’s intellectual content, the presentation will discuss the administrative nuts and bolts of the project: its conference activities, team structure, digital strategy, and long-term publication goals.

Scientific coordination:
Massimo Rospocher (FBK-ISIG)
Sandra Toffolo (FBK-ISIG)


Cycle of seminars: “Tavola ovale di storia moderna


The event will be held in English

The presentation will be in-person in the FBK Aula Piccola while seats last

Registration is required by 15 March 2023 at 12 PM


Image: Biblioteca FBK, D 861569 s-ar 1 B 30


  • Giorgio Riello
    Giorgio Riello is Professor of Early Modern Global History at the European University Institute and the Principal Investigator of the ERC Advanced Project CAPASIA. He is also Professor of Global History and Culture at Warwick University.
  • Michael O'Sullivan
    Michael O’Sullivan is Senior Research Fellow for the CAPASIA project. Before his current position, he held fellowships at Harvard and Yale universities. His book on the histories of Gujarati Muslim commercial castes will be published by Harvard University Press later this year.



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