The Asia-Pacific Maritime World: Connected Histories in the Age of Empire

The Asia-Pacific Maritime World: Connected Histories in the Age of Empire

Harald Fuess, Heidelberg University / Martin Dusinberre, Newcastle / Research project C12 "The Asian Sea", Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", University of Heidelberg
From - Until
06.07.2012 - 08.07.2012
Fuess, Harald

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?

The organisers of the conference welcome submissions from scholars working within history and related disciplines, and on all aspects of East Asia and the Pacific World. They plan to create an edited volume out of the conference papers. To that end, please send 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 (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.

Any questions on the theme of the conference should be sent to: martin.dusinberre

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


Contact (announcement)

Prof. Harald Fuess
Karl Jaspers Centre,
Voßstraße 2, Building 4400
69115 Heidelberg

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