Instruments of early modern Iberian empires: towards a critical history of globalisation

My paper will present the first outputs of a new project which tackles the crucial but unexamined tension between measuring and orientation tools used by Europe’s Old Regime societies – which bear a strong local and regional stamp – and the universal expansionist ambitions of their empires. Situated at the crossroad of history of science and technology and intellectual and social approaches, for the occasion of the HSMT seminar, I will select some significant case studies, from a wide range of sources (navigational instruments, travelogues, maps, clocks, calendars and nautical and cosmographical treatises) related to the Iberian world and its early modern territorial expansion in a comparative approach with other empires.