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February 17 , 2009

Cultures in Motion


In the wide-ranging and innovative essays of Cultures in Motion, a dozen distinguished historians offer new conceptual vocabularies for understanding how cultures have trespassed across geography and social space. From the transformations of the meanings and practices of charity during late antiquity and the transit of medical knowledge between early modern China and Europe, to the fusion of Irish and African dance forms in early nineteenth-century New York, these essays follow a wide array of cultural practices through the lens of motion, translation, itinerancy, and exchange, extending the insights of transnational and translocal history.

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Cultures in Motion challenges the premise of fixed, stable cultural systems by showing that cultural practices have always been moving, crossing borders and locations with often surprising effect. The essays offer striking examples from early to modern times of intrusion, translation, resistance, and adaptation. These are histories where nothing – dance rhythms, alchemical formulas, musical practices, feminist aspirations, sewing machines, streamlined metals, or labor networks – remains stationary.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Celia Applegate, Peter Brown, Harold Cook, April Masten, Mae Ngai, Jocelyn Olcott, Mimi Sheller, Pamela Smith, and Nira Wickramasinghe.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

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