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New Pacific World History Book Set Edited by Pacific Professors

Jan 5, 2010

New Pacific World History Book Set Edited by Pacific Professors

The Pacific World: Lands, Peoples and History of the Pacific, 1500-1900, a 17-volume set published by Ashgate/Variorum in July 2009 marks a milestone for Economics Professor Dennis O. Flynn and Modern Languages & Literature Professor Arturo Giráldez, who were asked to serve as general editors of the series a decade ago.

Each volume includes a set of key studies on a specific topic, along with an introduction and index, and is edited by an expert in the given subject. In addition to general editing of the entire set of books, Drs. Flynn and Giráldez co-edited one of the 17 volumes: European Entry into the Pacific. Religious & Classical Studies Professor Tanya Storch edited another volume titled Religions and Missionaries around the Pacific, 1500-1900.

"The series is an excellent way to be introduced to the history of the Pacific basin and archipelagos," said Dr. Giráldez. "Knowledge of the economy, past and present, and the history of California, the U.S., the Americas and the world is dependent on understanding the history of the largest geographical feature of the world and its peoples."

Dr. Giráldez, who teaches courses in the History and Modern Languages & Literature departments as well as in the School of International Studies, has focused on economic history in his research. Dr. Flynn, a specialist in global economic history, has long been interested in the much-neglected Asian side of the silver trade in the 16th century and beyond, and its impact throughout the world.

Their mutual interests led to Drs. Flynn and Giráldez becoming research partners in the early 1990s. They began publishing a series of articles and books that revealed the central role played by China in a silver trade that enveloped all major trade networks of the world.

"By far the most neglected aspect of a global trade in silver—one that spanned several centuries—was the crucial linkage across the Pacific Ocean via the Acapulco-Manila Galleons," said Dr. Flynn. The galleons shipped silver mined in Latin America to the Philippines, where it was accessed by China.

Flynn and Giráldez are known internationally for their controversial claim that the "Birth of Globalization" dates to the 16th century and direct connection of the Americas with Asia, which impacted every facet of life throughout the world.

Their research findings prompted the two professors to organize a series of multidisciplinary "Pacific Centuries" conferences, beginning in 1994 on the Stockton campus in conjunction with the John Muir Center. A second conference took place in Melbourne in 1996, followed by another at Pacific in 1998, which also involved the Conservatory of Music and attracted more than 100 high-profile scholars from 12 countries. A related conference the same year celebrating the history of Filipinos and the Philippines attracted more than 500 participants. In 2002, a Pacific Centuries conference was held in Seoul, South Korea.

These events and related scholarship led Ashgate/Variorum to approach Dr. Flynn and Dr. Giráldez about general editorship of The Pacific World series. The project took a decade to complete, and the final volume was published in July 2009. The 17-volume set, which sells for close to $2,000, provides an important resource for research libraries.

A collection of 11 Flynn-Giráldez essays titled China and the Birth of Globalization in the Sixteenth Century is scheduled for release this month by Ashgate/Variorum.  

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