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Professor Giorgio Riello

Director of the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study

History Department

Humanities H0.14
Department of History, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 24 7652 2163   
Fax: +44 (0) 24 7652 3437

Institute of Advanced Study

Director, IAS, Millburn House
Millburn Hill Road, University of Warwick Science Park, Coventry CV4 7HS, UK
Tel.: +44 (0) 24 7615 0563
Fax: +44 (0) 24 7615 0566

Giorgio Riello is Professor of Global History and Culture and Director of the Institute of Advanced Study and the Global History and Culture Centre at the University of Warwick. He is the author of A Foot in the Past (OUP 2006) and Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (CUP 2013; winner of the World History Association Bentley Prize 2014) and has published extensively on the history of material culture, fashion, design, and trade and consumption in early modern Europe and Asia. He is the co-editor, among the many, of Global Design History (Routledge 2011), Writing Material Culture History (Bloomsbury 2015) and The Global Lives of Things (Routledge 2016). Between 2013 and 2015 he was the coordinator of the Leverhulme-funded ‘The Luxury Network’ . His most recent book is entitled Luxury: A Rich History (OUP 2016) which he co-authored with Peter McNeil. In 2016 he was awarded the Iris Foundation Award for his contribution to the field of Decorative Arts and Material Culture.

Office Hours

By appointment


Academic Profile

  • Director of the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study, 2014-present
  • Professor, Warwick University, 2011-present
  • Assistant and Associate Professor, Warwick University, 2007-2011
  • Research Officer, London School of Economics, 2004-2006
  • Lecturer, Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, 2003-2004
  • Ph.D in History, University College London (2002)
  • Laurea in Economia Aziendale (Business Economics), Ca’ Foscari University, Venice (1998)

Recent Research Grants and Collaborations

I am also member of the Advisory boards of the The V&A Research Institute Pilot Project (2014-16); the HERA Project 'The Enterprise of Culture: International Structures and Connections in the Fashion Industry since 1945' (2013-16); the HERA Project 'Fashioning the Early Modern' (2010-13); the ESRC Research Project Footwear, Identity and Transition' (2010-12), the AHRC International Network 'Routes, Networks & Communities in the Early Medieval Indian Ocean' (2011-13).

Prizes and Fellowships

Professional Membership

Teaching, PhD Supervision and PostDoctoral Mentoring

PhD Superivision in Global History; history of Material Culture and Textiles; History of Trade and Manufacturing from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Current student are:

- Emma Markiewicz (Hair and Wigs in the 18th century - completed Dec. 2014)
- Serena Dyer (The Vilified Consumer: Female Consumers and Fashion in 18th-Century England - completed Sept. 2016)
- Karolina Hutkova (The Bengal Silk Trade and the East India Company, 1757-1812 - completed Sept. 2015)
- Rachael Morton (Marking and the Quality of English Metalware, c. 1675-1750 - completed Jan. 2017)
- Jo Tierney (The Design and Trade of British Textiles to West Africa, c. 1830-1914 - co-supervision with Professor David Anderson)
- Tabitha Baker (The Embroidery Trade in Eighteenth-Century France - AHRC Collaborative Award co-supervised with Professor Lesley Miller, V&A).

I am the mentor of two postdocs:
- Michael Bycroft (Leverhulme ECF 2014-17) working on a project entitled 'Jewellers, Travellers and the Science of Gems in France, 1630-1830'.
- Guido Meersbergen (Leverhulme ECF 2016-19) working on a project entitled 'Commensurability across Borders: European Diplomats in South Asia (1600-1750)'

Recent Interviews, Icasts and Podcasts


  • (eds.) Global Gifts: The Material Culture of Diplomacy in Early Modern Eurasia (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017), c. 320pp. (with Zoltan Biedermann and Anne Gerritsen).
  • (eds.) Global Design History (Basingstoke: Routledge, 2011), hb & pb 226pp., 35 B/W illustrations (with Glenn Adamson and Sarah Teasley)
  • (eds.) Moda: Storia e Storie (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2010), pb 249pp., 25 B/W illustrations. (with M. G. Muzzarelli and E. Tosi Brandi)
  • 'The art and science of walking: mobility, gender and footwear in the long eighteenth century', Fashion Theory, 9/2 (2005), pp. 175-204 (with P. McNeil) translated into Russian as ‘Peshie progulki kak nauka i iskusstvo: gender, prostranstvo i modnoe telo v "dolgom vosemnadzatom veke’, Teoria Mody, 1/2 (2007), pp. 127-162; translated into German as ‘Kunst und Wissenschaft des Gehens: Geschlecht, Raum und Eleganter Körper im Verlängerten 18. Jahrhundert’, in Anna-Brigitte Schlittler and Katharina Tietze (eds.), Kleid und Raum (Zürich, 2009), pp. 14-30.
  • ‘Dal Consumo di Massa alla Produzione in Serie: Il Caso del Calzaturiero Inglese in Età Moderna’ [‘From Mass Consumption to Mass Production: The Case of the Boot and Shoe Sector in Early Modern England’], Annali della Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, 36 (2002), pp. 281-304.
  • ‘La Società del Consumo nell’Inghilterra del Settecento: Trent’anni di Studi’ [‘The Consumer Society of Eighteenth-Century Britain: Thirty Years of Research’], Ricerche di Storia Sociale e Religiosa, 55 (1999), pp. 41-66.
Chapters in Books 
  • 'Introduction: The Global Lives of Things', in Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Riello (eds.), The Global Lives of Things: The Material Culture of Connections in the First Global Age (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 1-27.

  • ‘Global objects: Contention and Entanglement’, in Maxine Berg, ed., Writing the History of the Global (Oxford: Oxford University Press and The British Academy, 2013), pp. 177-193. (with Glenn Adamson)

  • ‘From India to the World: Cotton and Fashionability’, in Frank Trentmann (ed.), Handbook of the History of Consumption (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 145-170. (with Prasannan Parthasarathi)

  • ‘La storia che verrà: verso una storia globale della moda’ [And History will Come: Towards a Global History of Fashion] and ‘L’oggetto di moda: tre approcci per la storia della moda’ [‘Fashion Objects: Three Approaches to the Study of the History of Fashion’], in Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli, Giorgio Riello and Elisa Tosi Brandi (eds.), Moda: Storia e Storie (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2010), pp. 30-43 and 131-143.

  • 'The Italian Textile Industry: Technology, Labour and Innovation, 1650-2000', in Lex Heerma van Voss , Els Hiemstra-Kuperus and Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk (eds.), The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers (Aldeshot: Ashgate, 2010) (with G.L. Fontana and W. Panciera), pp. 275-304.
  • ‘Storia della scarpa in Italia dal Settecento a oggi’ [The Production of Footwear in Italy from the Eighteenth Century to the Present], in Maria Canella and Elena Puccinelli (eds.) La misura dell'eleganza. Storia della calzoleria artigianale a Milano tra XIX e XX secolo (Milan:Lucini Libri, 2009), pp. 55-140. (with G. L. Fontana)

  • 'Things that Shape History: Material Culture and Historical Narratives', in Karen Harvey (ed.), History and Material Culture (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 24-47; re-printed in A.F. Garçon, A. Cardoso de Matos, and G. L. Fontana (eds.), Techniques, patrimoine, territoires de l'industrie: quel enseignement? (Lisbon: Ediçoes Colibri, 2010), pp. 163-190.
  • ‘Walking the Streets of London and Paris: Shoes in the Enlightenment’, in Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil (eds.), Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers (Oxford and New York: Berg, 2006) (with P. McNeil).
  • ‘Counting Sheep: A Global View on Wool, 1800- 2000’, in Giovanni Luigi Fontana and Gérard Gayot (eds.), Wool: Products and Markets, 13th-20th century (Padua: CLEUP, 2004), pp. 113-136.
  • ‘Dopo le Corporazioni: Protezione, Innovazione e Competizione Internazionale nel Settore Calzaturiero Londinese nel Primo Ottocento’ [After the Guilds: Protection, Innovation and International Competition in the London Footwear Sector in the Early Nineteenth Century’, in Paola Massa and Angelo Moioli (eds.), Dalla Corporazione al Mutuo Soccorso. Organizzazione e Tutela del Lavoro tra XVI e XX Secolo (Milan: Franco Angeli, 2004), pp. 425-444.
  • ‘The Shaping of a Family Trade: The Cordwainers’ Company in Eighteenth-Century London’, in Ian Gadd and Patrick Wallis (eds.), Guilds, Society and Economy in London, 1450-1800 (London: Centre for Metropolitan History, 2002), pp. 141-159.
  • 'La Camera di Commercio Italiana per il Regno Unito’ [‘The Italian Chamber of Commerce in the UK’], in Emilio Franzina (ed.), Profili di Camere di Commercio Italiane all’Estero (Milan: Rubettino, 2001), pp. 65-83.
Working Papers 
Other Publications 
  • ‘Foreword’, in Francesca Bray, Peter A. Coclanis, Edda Fields-Black, and Dagmar Schaefer, eds., Rice: Global Networks and New Histories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. xiii-xix.
  • ‘Shopping and Walking: Buying Shoes in Eighteenth-century London’, Footnotes: The Quarterly Magazine of the Bata Shoe Museum (Toronto), Winter issue (2001), p. 7.
  • ‘The Crisis of the London Boot and Shoe Trade and Parisian Fashion, 1815- 50’, in The Economic History Society Annual Conference Programme (Bristol: EHS, 2000), pp. 31-38.



My fields of expertise are located within the long chronologies and geographical spaces covered by Global History. My particular interests are directed towards issues of ‘material life and economic development’ and the relationship between consumption and production. My current research focuses on changes in consumer demand and their impact on the spheres of production and material culture, with specific reference to textiles and clothing. My areas of interest are:

Global History

In 2013 I published a book entitled Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (Cambridge UP). This book analyses the role played by cotton textiles in the re-shaping of global trade and production during the long period from 1300 to the mechanisation of the industry in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century. I have edited with Prasannan Parthasarathi (Boston College) a volume entitled The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton Textiles, 1250-1850 (Oxford UP 2009; Pb 2011) and with Tirthankar Roy (LSE) How India Clothed the World: The World of South Asian Textiles, 1500-1850 (Brill 2009; Pb 2012). Both volumes are the result of the research activities that I undertook at the Global Economic History Network (GEHN) at the London School of Economics.

Global Economic History and Material Life

I am developing research and teaching in the area connecting economic history and material culture. I am particularly interested in the ways in which traded commodities shape people’s understanding of global processes in the early modern period. I have written on domestic textiles in medieval and early modern Europe and Italian food in eighteenth-century Britain. Since 2008 I have been collaborating with Anne Gerritsen on research on the theme of 'Global Material Culture'. Between 2010-13 we jointly directed an AHRC International Network on Global Commodities: the Material Culture of Early Modern Connections with the V&A, Bilgi University Istanbul and the Peabody Essex Musem in Salem. Between 2013-15 I coordinated the Leverhulme-funded ‘The Luxury Network’, a collaboration between the universities of Warwick, Bologna, Stockholm, Melbourne, The V&A and the Museum of Art and Design in New York.


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My publications