The Asia-Pacific Maritime World

The Asia-Pacific Maritime World

Prof. Harald Fuess (Heidelberg) und Dr. Martin Dusinberre (Newcastle), Forschungsproject C12 "The Asian Sea", Exzellenzcluster "Asien und Europa im globalen Kontext"
Karl Jaspers Zentrum für Transkulturelle Forschung
From - Until
06.07.2012 - 08.07.2012
Dr. Alexander Haentzschel

The Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" welcomes papers for the conference "The Asia-Pacific Maritime World: Connected Histories in the Age of Empire". It will take place from July 6 to 8, 2012, at Heidelberg University, Germany.

The aim of this conference is to question the ways in which we tend to divide the maritime world into spatial blocs such as the ‘Atlantic World’, the concept of ‘Mediterranean’ blocs, the ‘Indian Ocean’ and so on. Instead, we wish to focus on the nature of maritime connections between two such maritime spheres, namely the ‘Pacific’ world and a space that is often characterized by scholars of the pre-modern period as the ‘East Asian Mediterranean’.

Our starting point is East Asia in the nineteenth century, when maritime history is often framed by scholarly interest in the establishment and workings of the treaty port system. By placing East Asia in a wider Pacific context, one that reflects the reality of steamships beginning to cross greater distances with relative ease, we hope to broaden our understanding of the ways in which maritime space was both imagined and lived during the long nineteenth century. Thus, instead of focusing on land-based issues such as extraterritoriality, we want to examine the relationship between ports and new maritime networks, so as to develop a more fluid, comparative sense of shifting East Asian-Pacific sovereignties in this period. Drawing on the new maritime history of the British empire (in particular, elastic concepts of a ‘British Sea’, of ‘home’ on the water and of the naval ‘theatre’), we want to consider the relationship between ships, the sea and the East Asian/Western imperial imagination. To complement our focus on sovereignty and imagination, we plan also to examine the significance of the increasing numbers of goods, peoples and even diseases crossing between and within East Asia and the Pacific. In short, how —if at all— does the categorization of ‘Asian’ and ‘Pacific’ maritime blocs in this period change when we attempt to write connected histories ‘on’ as well as ‘of’ the sea?

We welcome submissions to answer these questions and many more from scholars working within history and related disciplines, and on all aspects of East Asia and the Pacific World. The organizers of the conference plan to create an edited volume out of the conference papers. To that end, please send your proposed titles, institutional affiliation (and year of study, in the case of doctoral students), and abstracts of 400-500 words as a Word attachment to Ms Shupin Lang ( by 31 January 2012. Successful participants will be informed by mid-February 2012 and will be expected to submit their conference papers for discussion by 31 May 2012. Following the conference, we would anticipate sending full-length chapters out for review in November 2012. Any questions on the theme of the conference should be sent to

To support the participation of scholars from around the world, we can offer hotel accommodation in Heidelberg and travel assistance. Please indicate your anticipated travel costs at the end of your abstract.

Harald Fuess (Heidelberg) and Martin Dusinberre (Newcastle), December 2011


Contact (announcement)

Martin Dusinberre