Oceanic and Maritime History Workshop


The Oceanic and Maritime History Workshop is a platform dedicated to historical research investigating human engagement with the sea. It is open to all time periods, geographical regions, or intellectual approaches, and we actively encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and discussion, as well as transnational approaches. We invite postgraduate students to present both works in progress and completed projects, and the workshop itself is an excellent and inclusive environment in which to gain further experience in presenting, as well as responding to new ideas and questions.


The sea has undoubtedly played a diverse role within the human experience, and the Oceanic and Maritime History Workshop does not restrict itself to just histories on and of the sea but also shares histories in the sea, about the sea, around the sea, and because of the sea, therefore asking how the sea co-constituted history. Throughout human existence, the sea has been a geographical, political, legal, religious, and economic space, as well as a conduit of human thought and a historical agent in its own right.

Broadly speaking, the five expansive thematic umbrellas for the workshop are maritime Encounters, Spaces, Exchanges, Cultures, and Identities. Within these categories, some of the research agendas include the following: maritime ‘worlds’; the sea as a sacred space; maritime knowledge networks; the terraqueous globe; encounters that took place because of the sea; migration and trafficking of peoples; motions of objects and ideas; the subaltern sea; littoral and insular communities; diasporas; maritime identities; and environmental histories.

Format and Structure

The Oceanic and Maritime History Workshop typically meets online via Zoom on select Fridays of each term at 5pm. Zoom links are circulated via our mailing list and on an individual basis. Each session is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes long, and features two speakers, who present their research for fifteen to twenty minutes each. These presentations are linked by a coherent theme or research agenda, and are followed by a short Q&A. After the workshop, we typically continue the discussion in the nearby pub, The Anchor on Silver Street.


Michaelmas: 15 October, 5 November, 26 November.

Lent: 28 January, 11 February, 18 February, 11 March.

Easter: 6 May, 27 May, 17 June.

Lent Term Card

28 January / Control and Captivity in the Eighteenth Century

HENRY SNOW (Rutgers University)
‘In Order to Love Mankind, Little Must be Expected from Them’: The Eighteenth-Century Royal Navy and the Science of Control

DANIEL J. ENNIS (Coastal Carolina University / University of Portsmouth)
The Ship and the Galley in Barbary Captivity Narratives of the Eighteenth Century

11 February / The Premodern Channel

REBECCA TYSON (University of Bristol)
Eleventh-Century Sea Power in the English Channel

CAROLINE MARRIS (Columbia University)
'Vive le Geus': French and Dutch Maritime States in the Late Sixteenth-Century Channel Region

18 February / Interdisciplinary Session: Art History

ELEANOR STEPHENSON (University of Cambridge)
The Royal Society and Representations of Slavery in Seventeenth-Century Cartography

VERA-SIMONE SCHULZ (Kunsthistorisches Institut / Max-Planck Institut, Florence)
Mangrove Aesthetics in Coastal East Africa: Littoral Spaces, Transcultural Encounters, and Artistic Exchange

11 March / Material Flows and Entanglements in Oceania

ADELE WRIGHT (University of Cambridge)
The History of Colour Terms in Vanuatu Indigenous Languages

KATE TILSON (University of Cambridge)
Mobile Libraries and Medical Knowledge: Missionary Entaglements in the South Pacific and Britain, 1795-185

The full term card can also be seen here.

Contact and Information

For any questions, as well as to submit an abstract, please do not hesitate to contact us at camoceanichistory@gmail.com. Alternatively, you can contact one of the convenors directly: Jean-Marc Hill (jmh259@cam.ac.uk), Lavinia Gambini (lg625@cam.ac.uk), and Aldri Cela (ac2343@cam.ac.uk). 

If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please email Jean-Marc Hill (jmh259@cam.ac.uk), or subscribe here.

Follow us on Twitter @CamOceanicHist.