Elena Frangakis-Syrett Presents: The Role of Genoa and Izmir in the Early Modern Global Economy

MAR 05, 2020 | 4:30 PM TO 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




March 05, 2020: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM





Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)


In the seminar presentation we will analyze the interrelation of two sectors, international trade and state finance in the creation of a global economy in the early modern era and the role of the Mediterranean in it. We will do so through the case studies of two globalizing cities, Genoa and Izmir, of different scale and magnitude during two different time periods, --1500s and 1700s respectively-- on the basis that what is global need not be identical. Furthermore, there is much to be gained in offering insights in different forms of globalizing cities at different historical periods. Genoa, being European and primarily Christian and Izmir being Ottoman and primarily Muslim will allow us to explore whether eastern Mediterranean was as capable of agency, innovation and active participation in the world economy as western Mediterranean. Such an approach questions the notion of decline for the Middle East still current in the historiography.

More specifically, we will explore the role that banking operations across different economies played in the financing, long-term viability and growth of each sector. Within this context, we will look at the role of Genoa in handling international banking operations related to state finance and the impact the city had in the creation of the equities markets of the time. Further, we will examine the role that Genoa played in the organization, financing and functioning of long-distance international trade at a time when a truly global commercial market was emerging. Equally we will look at international trade and currency markets as these functioned in Izmir in the 1700s, a period of on-going economic growth for the Mediterranean at the tail end of the pre-industrial early modern economy. Further we will examine the business networks that emanated from the city and their role in the organization of these sectors, in order to explore the process of regional globalization as led by Izmir in the eastern Mediterranean at the time and its relationship to the global economy.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in England she holds a dual appointment as Professor of History at Queens College and at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York.  She is also a member of the Faculty of the M.A. Program in Middle Eastern Studies at the Graduate Center. She has a PhD in Economic History from King’s College, London University and a BA in Modern History from University College, London University; she undertook graduate studies at the Sorbonne, Paris as French Government Scholar.  In addition, she has been Visiting Research Fellow at the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, Newnham College, Cambridge University, UK; Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Business History Unit of the London School of Economics, UK; Senior Residential Fellow at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Koç University, İstanbul, Turkey and Visiting Professor and Resident Scholar at the Izmir University of Economics, İzmir, Turkey.