Objectifying China, Imagining America: Chinese Commodities in Early America

Paperback | January 15, 2012

byCaroline Frank

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With the ever-expanding presence of China in the global economy, Americans more and more look east for goods and trade. But as Caroline Frank reveals, this is not a new development. China loomed as large in the minds—and account books—of eighteenth-century Americans as it does today. Long before they had achieved independence from Britain and were able to sail to Asia themselves, American mariners, merchants, and consumers were aware of the East Indies and preparing for voyages there. Focusing on the trade and consumption of porcelain, tea, and chinoiserie, Frank shows that colonial Americans saw themselves as part of a world much larger than just Britain and Europe

Frank not only recovers the widespread presence of Chinese commodities in early America and the impact of East Indies trade on the nature of American commerce, but also explores the role of the this trade in American state formation. She argues that to understand how Chinese commodities fueled the opening acts of the Revolution, we must consider the power dynamics of the American quest for china—and China—during the colonial period. Filled with fresh and surprising insights, this ambitious study adds new dimensions to the ongoing story of America’s relationship with China.

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With the ever-expanding presence of China in the global economy, Americans more and more look east for goods and trade. But as Caroline Frank reveals, this is not a new development. China loomed as large in the minds—and account books—of eighteenth-century Americans as it does today. Long before they had achieved independence from Brit...

Caroline Frank is an independent scholar, visiting lecturer in the Department of History at Brown University, and historian for the Greene Farm Archaeology Project.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:January 15, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226260283

ISBN - 13:9780226260280

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Beyond the Atlantic in Anglo-America

1 The First American China Trade
 American Mariners in the Indian Ocean, 1690–1700

2 Imagining China at Home
 Architectural Japanning in Early Newport

3 Islands of Illicit Refinement
 Bohia and Chaney for the Northern Plantations

4 The Oriental Aesthetic in Old Yankee Households
 China in Northern Colonial Homes

5 Manly Tea Parties
 The Idea of China in Boston’s Rebellion

Epilogue: An East Indies Trade for North America
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

 “A fascinating and eye-opening account of Chinese imports into early America that offers a worthwhile contribution to the new history of globalization. . . . Objectifying China, Imagining America will convince its readers that China must be a part of early American history.”