George Bryan Souza is an American born, Anglo-American trained, historian of global maritime economic history (cross-cultural contacts, European relations with Asia, America and Africa) and early modern European history and its expansion (focusing on themes and comparisons in intellectual, environmental and cultural history from about 1600 to 1800 that is visiting the Orient-Asien Institute under an invitation by Professor Hans Ulrich Vogel and as a Mercator Guest Professor from April 2009 to April 2010.
His research is in global maritime economic history (cross-cultural contacts, European relations with Asia, America and Africa) and early modern European history and its expansion (focusing on themes and comparisons in intellectual (history of ideas and imperial ideologies), environmental and cultural history from about 1600 to 1800.
In the principal archives and libraries of Asia (India, Indonesia, Macau, Philippines, Thailand), Europe (France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal), North America (Library of Congress, Oliveira Lima, Harvard, Newberry, Lilly) and South America (Brazil, Mexico).
He is prepared to teach a full range of courses from introductory to upper-level undergraduate and graduate seminars on early modern maritime Europe (Iberia, the Netherlands, England and France), their expansion(s), empires, and global maritime economic history. He also has experience in advising and mentoring research in these fields.
His formal training in history began at Stanford University in the late 1960s, at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in the mid-1970s, and culminated with his D. Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge University in the early 1980s. His doctoral dissertation was revised and published as The Survival of Empire: Portuguese Trade and Society in China and the South China Sea, 1630-1754, by Cambridge University Press in 1986, reissued in paperback in 2004. It has been translated into Portuguese and a Chinese translation is being prepared. He is also the author of numerous chapters in books and articles in the field and is regularly invited to lecture and/or conferences on three continents and is the recipient of a long list of awards and fellowships, including amongst others, for example: Fulbright Fellow, Historical Archives of Macau, Macau, China, January-April 2009; Research Fellow, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan, June-November 2008; Helen Watson Buckner Memorial Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, Providence, Rhode Island, September – November 2007; and Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore, March 2006 — March 2007.
Fluent in a number of Romance languages and capable of reading in a number of others and in Chinese and Japanese (the latter two only via research assistants), he is an empirically driven researcher that has worked extensively in the principal archives and libraries of Asia (India, Indonesia, Macau, Philippines, and Thailand), Europe (France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal), North America (Library of Congress, Oliveira Lima, Harvard, Newberry, Lilly) and South America (Brazil, Mexico). He has been a project associate of the “Monies, Markets and Finance in China and East Asia, 1600-1900: Local, Regional, National and International Dimensions” Research Project at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, since 2007, working on several specific topics: zinc; cinnamon; and on a more general contextual and theoretical analysis on the relationship of commodity chains, monetary circuits in Asian economic development and their connection with maritime commerce in the early modern period. During his stay, he and Professor Vogel are teaching two graduate level seminars and Souza is researching, writing, and enjoying his contacts with the MMF project, the Institute, and the University.