The Historical and Comparative Study of Cross-Cultural Trade
The introduction lays out the volume’s contours and agenda. It outlines key approaches and concepts that have characterized classic studies of cross-cultural trade by historians such as S. D. Goitein, Fernand Braudel, Jerry H. Bentley, and especially Philip D. Curtin. In taking stock of these contributions and in order to advance the scholarly agenda, the chapter elaborates on a set of five questions for the historical and comparative study of cross-cultural trade. These five questions link the volume’s chapters together and can inform future inquiries on the subject in different times and places: (1) Did religion affect cross-cultural trade? (2) Did trust work across religious groups? (3) What role did legal institutions play in building cross-cultural trade? (4) When and how did violence coexist with cross-cultural trade? (5) Do material artifacts bear the imprint of cross-cultural trade?
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