‘New Historical Perspectives on New Zealand and the Sea’

New Zealand Historical Association Conference
Maritime History Workshop
University of Otago
Saturday, 23 November 2013

In recent years there has been a marked ‘sea turn’ in historical scholarship as oceans are approached as spaces that link rather than divide colonies, nations and continents. Oceanic history has opened up new ways of thinking about the world and how it is connected. Littoral networks and connections have been a fertile ground of new research.

At the same time, maritime historians have sought to reposition their long-standing concerns with ships, seafaring communities and seaborne trade from the historical margins to the mainstream. From the movement of people and goods to flows of cultural and material values, new insights and perspectives have emerged about relations between islands, islands and ‘mainlands’, and coasts and hinterlands. New Zealand history has been largely insulated from these broader trends.

This workshop aims to provide a forum for thinking in more sea-focused and mobile ways about the past – from the local to the global, in archipelagic terms, and in relation to a wider oceanic and imperial world of multiple and shifting centres and peripheries. How might a maritime scholarship speak to the growing influence of transnational and translocal approaches? Are there distinctive ‘island stories’ still to be tapped?

Possible topics/themes include: Indigenous seascapes; boundaries and sovereignties; marine resources and extraction; shipping, ports and new maritime networks; coastal or river communities; seafarers and seafaring; travel narratives; the sea in the literary and visual arts; New Zealand in the Tasman Sea, the Southern Ocean, the Pacific Ocean.

Submissions for consideration (titles and 100-word abstracts) are due with Frances Steel by 14 June 2013. Those who would like to attend without presenting a formal paper please also register your interest with Frances.