Takeda narrates early French-Persian trade relations

Iran and a French Empire of Trade TakedaIn her new book "Iran and a French Empire of Trade, 1700-1808: The Other Persian Letters" (Oxford University Press), Syracuse history professor Junko Takeda explores the political, commercial, and cultural links between eighteenth century France and Persia. Her global microhistory reveals how trans-imperial trade impacted the lives of various entrepreneurs and mercenaries living on the edge of empire, while demonstrating how French engagement with the Asian continent shaped Enlightenment political thought and policy making across the Age of Revolutions.

Takeda begins by arguing how European arms and commodity trading exacerbated tensions among Turkey, India, Russia, and Persia, and worsened the effects of climate change and resource insecurities in these regions. She explores this dynamic by focusing on a colorful cast of characters who existed on the margins of the French state, and developed projects for Franco-Persian trade that ran contrary to the monarchy’s traditional partnership with the Ottoman Empire. Their activities, she claims, played an important role in transforming French ideas about Asia, empire and revolutions. While historians of France who have studied eighteenth-century political ruptures have traditionally ignored Asian politics, Takeda’s work offers a more global perspective that helps us reconsider the Age of Revolutions.

Historian Junko Takeda is an associate professor and Daicoff Faculty Scholar at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Her research interests include early modern French statecraft, global trade and the history of disease and medicine. At Maxwell, she teaches a variety of lower and upper division courses, including graduate coursework in early modern Europe, the French Revolution and globalization. She is currently working on two monographs, a global microhistory of Avedik, an Armenian patriarch imprisoned in France under the reign of Louis XIV, and another project on the Franco-Japanese silk trade. In 2014, Takeda was named a Ronald O’Hanley Faculty Scholar, a title she held for three years.

For more information about her forthcoming book, please visit the publisher’s website.