Isaac H. Clothier Professor Emeritus of History and International Relations
Robert DuPlessis taught a variety of general and specialized courses and seminars on Europe and the Atlantic world between the fifteenth and the late eighteenth centuries. Among them were offerings on the emergence of capitalist economies, the development of absolutist and republican polities, cultures and societies of the Atlantic basin, the Italian Renaissance, witchcraft and witch crazes, and a survey of early modern Europe.
Among his recent publications are studies of sumptuary laws in the colonial Americas, the dress of enslaved peoples, early modern textile cultures, frontier trading practices, the textile industries of central Italy, the French overseas empire during the Ancien Régime, and the advent of modern concepts of capital. His 2015 book, The Material Atlantic: Clothing, Commerce, and Colonialism in the Atlantic World, 1650-1800, won the Jerry Bentley Best Book Award from the World History Association. In 2019 Cambridge University Press published a revised and expanded edition of his Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe. Economies in the Era of Early Globalization, c. 1450 – c. 1820. Currently, he is investigating the concepts, laws, economics, and ethical debates involved in the invention, manufacture, trade, and consumption of counterfeit products in the early modern world.