Felicia Gottmann

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in History



Felicia is a global historian of early modern Europe, France in particular, and her research focusses on the gradual emergence of globalised consumer societies in seventeenth and eighteenth-century Europe. She is particularly interested not only in the practices of production, trade, and consumption, but especially in the relationship of economic thought and global trade both to the Enlightenment and to the nascent nation state.

Having studied Modern History and French at the Universities of Oxford and Toulouse she gained her D.Phil from the former in 2010. Before joining the University of Dundee as a Leverhulme ECR Fellow in September 2014, she spent four years as Research Fellow at Warwick University's Global History and Culture Centre as part of a team investigating Europe's long-distance trade with Asia in the early modern period.

Felicia is a member of the Scottish Centre for Global History: http://globalhistory.org.uk/



Felicia's research interests lie in the development and impact of consumerism, commercialisation, and globalisation in early modern Europe, Enlightenment France in particular.

Her PhD thesis, 'The Eighteenth-Century Luxury Debate: the Case of Voltaire', analysed the intellectual and philosophical ramifications of early modern commercialisation and globalisation, focussing on Enlightenment debates about political economy, especially on Voltaire's defence of a liberal consumer society.

Based on the research she did as Research Fellow on the European-Research-Council-funded project ‘Europe’s Asian Centuries: Trading Eurasia 1600-1830’ at the University of Warwick, her forthcoming book, Global Trade, Smuggling, and the Making of Economic Liberalism: Asian Textiles in France 1680-1760 (Palgrave Macmillan), investigates the impact of global trade on ancien régime French society, economy, politics, and thought. Focussing on France's trade in, and consumption of, Asian and Asian-style textiles, it explores the the impact of global trade on the early modern French state and its practices of policing, its industrial and scientific programmes, on smuggling, consumer cultures, and popular resistance, and on the development of economic liberalism in the eighteenth century.

Felicia's current project entitled 'National, European, or Global? The Prussian East India Company and the formation of early modern European identities', is also interested in commercialisation, globalisation, trade and consumption, but it widens the focus beyond France. It takes eighteenth-century Prussia’s attempt to engage in trade with China in the 1750s as a starting point to ask questions about the formation of European identities (religious, political, racial, regional, national, European, or global) in terms of political economy, mobility, investment, commercial co-operation, taste, fashion, and material culture. To do so, her research will focus on three areas: people, the personnel and commercial networks involved in funding and running the company; objects, the tea, porcelain, and textiles brought by the Company’s ships and how they fitted into contemporary European material culture; and ideas, the political economy framework in Europe during the 1750s, a crucial decade for the development and implementation of Enlightenment economic liberalism in Europe.




Global Trade, Smuggling, and the Making of Economic Liberalism: Asian Textiles in France 1680-1760. (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan - 2016)

Co-editor with Maxine Berg, Hanna Hodacs, and Chris Nierstrasz, Goods from the East. (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan - 2015)

Peer-reviewed journal articles and essays in edited collections:

‘Textile Furies – the French state and the retail and consumption of Asian cottons 1686-1759’, in Goods from the East, ed. by Maxine Berg, Felicia Gottmann, Hanna Hodacs, and Chris Nierstrasz (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan - 2015)

'Intellectual History as Global History: Voltaire's Fragments sur l'Inde and the problem of Enlightened commerce', in New Global Connections: India and Europe in the Long Eighteenth Century ed. by Gabriel Sanchez, Simon Davies, and Daniel Roberts (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2014), 141-155

'French-Asian Connections: The Compagnies des Indes, France's Eastern Trade, and New Directions in Historical Scholarship', The Historical Journal 56 (June 2013), 537-552

'Du Châtelet, Voltaire, and the Transformation of Mandeville's Fable,' History of European Ideas 38 (2012), 218-232

'Materialism and Morality: Diderot and Sade in Light of the Luxury Debate' SVEC (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century): 2008:06, 217-226

Selected Reviews:

The Colonial Machine. French Science and Overseas Expansion in the Old Regime. By J. McClellan III, F. Regourd. Turnhout: Brepols. 2011. Forthcoming in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Voltaire et l’économie politique. By Patrick Neiertz. (SVEC 2012:10). Oxford, Voltaire Foundation. 2012. French Studies 68 (2014), 103-104.

Guillaume-Thomas Raynal: Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes. Édition critique. Tome I. Sous la direction d'Anthony Strugnell.