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21 October - Feeding capitalism and facing its consequences? Peripheral rural communities of Northern Europe, 1350-1850

School of History, UCC

Dr Eugene Costello, Department of Archaeology, UCC

Thursday 21 October 2021, 16.00 (4 PM)
The paper will be delivered via MS Teams. Please, contact Dr Jérôme aan de Wiel, School of History, UCC, to obtain a link:

Paper This paper presents initial results from my new project on the role of so-called 'peripheral' regions in the commercialisation of food production and trade in early modern Europe. With their extensive tracts of pasture, regions like the west of Ireland and northern Scandinavia offer a window into the role of meat and dairy production in feeding the growth of a capitalist world system. For example, there are tantalising references to them provisioning colonies in the New World and supplying Europe's largest mining district in Sweden. But mainstream narratives have tended to overlook these 'peripheries'. My project aims to change this with a new periphery-centred approach, drawing from documentary, archaeological and palaeo-ecological evidence.

I will discuss the adaptability of pastoral farmers and their links with the wider world, and highlight some of the long-term consequences of commercialisation for them, both socially and economically. Dr Eugene Costello is an environmental historian and an archaeologist with a focus on rural communities and agriculture in northern Europe. He completed his PhD in 2016 at NUI Galway thanks to IRC and Hardiman scholarships. He has since served as National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at Notre Dame's Keough-Naughton Institute, and as Postdoctoral Fellow in environmental humanities at Stockholm University. Currently he is based at UCC, where he holds the NUI Postdoctoral Fellowship in Humanities, and teaches in heritage and late medieval/early modern history. He will soon take up a Marie Curie Fellowship at Uppsala University, and will also lead a major Swedish Research Council project involving UCC. His award-winning monograph, Transhumance and the Making of Ireland's Uplands, 1550-1900, was published in 2020 by Boydell.

College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences

Coláiste na nEalaíon, an Léinn Cheiltigh agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta

College Office, Room G31 ,Ground Floor, Block B, O'Rahilly Building, UCC