Conferences News

Negotiating Trade: Commercial Institutions and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Medieval and Early Modern World

The Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CEMERS) at Binghampton University will host an international conference called “Negotiating Trade: Commercial Institutions and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Medieval and Early Modern World.”

The conference, on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25, will feature 40 speakers, a plenary panel and two keynotes: On Friday, Paul Freedman (Yale University) will discuss “International Luxury Products: Scarcity, Value and Uniqueness.” On Friday and Saturday, Leonard Blussé (University of Leiden) will discuss “Making Ends Meet: The Emporia of Monsoon Asia and the Newcomers from Europe.”

The conference is part of a year-long “Trade Institute” focusing on evolving global markets and the challenges of international commerce, transport, banking and credit prior to the 19th century. The Trade Institute, organized by the CEMERS, also includes a lecture series, workshops and symposia focusing on popular items taken for granted today (spices and stimulants of non-European origin including sugar, coffee, tea and chocolate), which were transformed from humble comestibles at the edges of the “civilized” medieval world to luxury commodities in trans-regional emporia and, finally, to “staples” (cheap sources of energy and pervasive “snack” foods) in our current global culture and economy.

This programming is linked to a core curriculum of undergraduate and graduate courses offered through 12 departments and programs in Harpur College and the School of Management.

For more information on the conference and Trade Institute, contact Karen Barzman, CEMERS director, at, or visit

Click here to download the conference program

Source: Binghampton University

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