Duane Corpis

Senior Fellow
Cornell University, US
Project Title: 
Early Modern Overseas Charity and German Protestantism: Global Networks, Local Norms (1500-1850)
Project Abstract: 

My research examines the growing geographic reach of German charitable activities and networks created by German clergymen from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. In this period, a major transformation took place in the cultural meanings, social practices, and institutional structures of charity, as church and civic institutions organized projects global in scope. These global connections shaped local civic norms and values in Protestant towns throughout the Holy Roman Empire, creating a sense of Christian "brotherhood" that was both expansive and exclusionary. My book charts the paradoxical emergence of universalistic claims about Christian empathy for non-Christians, which also produced new, exclusionary cultural logics and religious hierarchies. Thus, my research recognizes other forms of cultural, social, and geopolitical networks beyond those dictated by the global market (specifically those rooted in flows of charity) as sites where new global relationships were imagined.

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