CIVICA Research Blog

From the EUI to Sciences Po with CIVICA Research: towards a global history of capitalism

Télio Cravo is investigating the complex interplay between global mining, gold standards, and slavery. His research, and a CIVICA Research mobility scheme, has brought him from the EUI Max Weber Programme and the History Department, to the Centre for History at Sciences Po.

"In addition to connecting and exchanging ideas with other scholars, this experience for me was an opportunity to improve and clarify some aspects of my research project. In this sense, it was certainly very productive."

There is no doubt that Télio’s research benefitted from the CIVICA Research mobility scheme. During his time at Sciences Po, he wrote a chapter for a forthcoming book by the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, and has started turning his research proposal into a book project.

"My research focuses on slave labour and how that is connected to the gold standard and to British mining enterprises in Brazil. I look at the contradiction between abolitionist discourse and ideology, and the actual practices of British companies in Brazil in the early 19th century.”

What is often overlooked, explains Télio, is that there is a remarkable interplay between slavery and capitalism that goes beyond the paradigm of slave-based plantation economies. The return of the gold standard in Britain, as well as the European development of the diamond-finishing industry, directly intensified the economic ties between the slave trade and mining activities in one of the largest slave areas in the Americas - Brazil.

An interesting research topic, indeed, that crosses geographical boundaries and academic disciplines. “As an historian,” he mentions, “I believe that history plays a central role among social sciences disciplines. It can bring fresh air and new approaches to interdisciplinary topics.”

It is not surprising that Télio arrived at Sciences Po from the EUI Max Weber Programme, a deeply multidisciplinary fellowship. “Part of the reason I applied to this mobility opportunity was that the Centre for History at Sciences Po is also very interdisciplinary. I could receive feedback and connect my research to the fields of economics, law, and other disciplines.”

While some parts of his research were developed at the EUI, Télio recounts exploring others at Sciences Po in October. In Florence, for example, he focused on the relationship between global history and mining, while in Paris, he delved into the topic of diamond mining. This focus led to a surprising connection between the Atlantic slave trade and captives in the Mediterranean.

“I think these kinds of mobilities are a way to go beyond borders and limits - both physical and mental ones. You are encouraged to prove your own qualities, open your mind, and clarify your ideas once you are back to your home institution.”

As Télio prepares for the end of his mobility experience, he reflects positively on how this CIVICA Research programme enriched his personal and academic background. “We academics tend to work alone most of the time, but it’s important to create genuine connections with other scholars, especially in other disciplines.”

CIVICA Research brings together researchers from eight leading European universities in the social sciences to contribute knowledge and solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The project aims to strengthen the research & innovation pillar of the European University alliance CIVICA. CIVICA Research is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101017201.

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Written by Luisa Della Petra (EUI Editorial Team).

Image: EUI Graphic Design Unit


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