Navigating Empire: Ports, Ships and Global History

shslogo-w320Professor Jonathan Hyslop delivered a fascinating and stimulating keynote lecture for the Social History Conference delegates on the 1st April 2015 entitled ‘Navigating Empire: Ports, Ships and Global History,’ an excerpt of which is below. The lecture was a call to theorize three core elements of the maritime in connecting transnational, imperial and global histories, the harbour, the ship and the voyage.

CBhS9krWoAAV1eZ“The operations of  the steamers were the essential condition for the existence of both a global capitalist economy and for the political, ideological and cultural structures of the British and other European empires. Yet, in the extraordinary development in recent decades of global and transnational history, on the one hand, and of new kinds of critical  imperial history, on the other, ships and harbours have remained somewhat out of sight. In historians’ attempts to rethink the global and the imperial world of  the late 19th and early 20th Century, the maritime has been a relatively missing dimension. In this lecture, I will make a case for the importance of connecting transnational and empire histories, much more centrally than is currently common, to maritime histories. By bringing the ship and the harbor onto our horizons, we can not only enrich our understanding of particular historical moments, but also find new ways of problematizing the relationship between the power structures of empire and global capitalism and popular politics and culture.”

A copy of the full paper can be downloaded and read here

To explore papers, themes and info relating to the Social History Conference, click here or follow #portsocialhist

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