Maritime History & Culture Seminars at the IHR

Essential information

Date and time: 
26 October, 14 November, 12 December, 23 January, 20 February, 24 April, 19 June 22 May | 5.15/ 5.30pm
Talks & courses

Maritime History & Culture Seminars at The Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, London WE1E 7HU




Convenors: Aaron Jaffer and Lizelle de Jager

All seminars begin at 17:15 in Wolfson Room I at the Institute, except: 26 October – Chancellor’s Hall at 17:30

Autumn Term 2017

26 October

Professor Marcus Rediker, University of Pittsburgh

The Maritime Origins of Abolition: The Case of Benjamin Lay, Quaker and 'Common Sailor'

Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh and author of The Many-Headed Hydra (2000, with Peter Linebaugh), Villains of All Nations (2004), The Slave Ship (2007), and most recently The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist (2017).

14 November

Ian Murphy, National Museums Liverpool

Curating the ‘Black Salt: Britain’s Black Sailors’ exhibition

Ian Murphy, Deputy Director & Curator, will speak about curating this ground-breaking exhibition.

12 December

The last object in the museum

Jack Avery, University of Bristol & The National Archives

Julia Binter, University of Oxford

Callum Easton, University of Cambridge  

Katherine Gazzard, National Portrait Gallery & University of East Anglia

Anna McKay, University of Leicester

Hannah Stockton, Queen Mary, University of London

Maya Wassell Smith, University of Cardiff

Spring Term 2018

23 January 2018

Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, University of Oxford

On the Ocean: The Mediterranean and the Atlantic from Prehistory to AD 1500                                                                         

20 February 2018

Dr Caroline Withall, National Maritime Museum

The forgotten boys of the sea: Marine Society merchant sea apprentices, 1772-1854

Summer Term 2018

24 April 2018

Laika Nevalainen, European University InstituteFrom sailors’ chests to sailors’ homes: Finnish seamen and domesticity in the early 20th century

22 May 2018

Image of skull

Daniel Simpson, Royal Holloway & The British Museum

‘Cannibals’, ‘Savages’ and pronouns: the strange world of British naval encounter in Australia and the Torres Strait, 1842-1850’ 

Between 1842 and 1850, British expeditions to the Torres Strait and northern Australian regions strayed into strange and dangerous waters.  An earlier discovery, at Aureed Island in 1836, of a mask decorated with the skulls of shipwrecked Europeans set the tone for two decades of paranoid and often hysterical investigations into the nature and character of local indigenous peoples.

Dr Daniel Simpson will explore the efforts made by sailors from HMS Fly (1842-1846) and HMS Rattlesnake (1846-1850) to understand Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These ranged from an emerging ‘ethnological’ specialism, grounded in the study of indigenous pronouns, to peculiarly British attempts to bribe supposedly cannibalistic peoples with tea and biscuits.

Dr Simpson’s research shines a light on the social, political and practical considerations which underpinned imperial intrusion into a chaotic and since-neglected region.

19 June 2018  

Professor Andrew Lambert, King’s College London

Constructing the seapower state: culture, identity and exceptionalism

Professor Andrew Lambert examines the conflict of ideas between seapower states and their continental contemporaries, and the longer term contrasts that recur across time.  He argues that seapower identity is a construct, closely connected with inclusive political models wherein which major economic actors have a share in political power, an identity sustained and celebrated in monumental maritime architecture, art and literature. These dynamic, progressive states have alarmed and alienated contemporary continental autocracies, especially those attempting to impose a universal monarchy, and a terrestrial monoculture.

Please join us for a wine reception in the IHR’s Common Room after the seminar.

Image of The Burning of the Soleil Royal at the Battle of La Hogue, 23 May 1692
The Burning of the Soleil Royal at the Battle of La Hogue, 23 May 1692