Michael Wintroub

Associate Professor Fellow
Image of Michael Wintroub.

In his present book project, “Voyages of Thought: A History of Translation, Commerce and Discovery in Early Modern France and its New Worlds,” Michael Wintroub (Rhetoric) has embarked upon a micro-historical and cross-disciplinary analysis of the texts and contexts informing the remarkable journey of the Dieppois ship captain, merchant, and poet, Jean Parmentier, as he sailed his ship, "The Thought", to Sumatra in 1529.  Professor Wintroub uses this voyage as a case study to investigate the phenomenon of globalism as an historical category.  He argues that in crucial and unexamined ways the modern world—its cultures, its political systems, its science(s) and its languages—were shaped by early modern histories of contact and commerce with the New and Old Worlds bordering the Atlantic. Voyages of Thought aims to explore this global world along two interpenetrating registers: a local—micro—history about particular groups and networks of actors, and a macro history about fundamental transformations in the ways western societies have come to adjudicate questions of knowledge, status and authority.