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: 21 October, 28 October, 11 November, 2 December.

Lent: 3 February, 17 February, 3 March.

Easter: 5 May, 19 May, 2 June, 16 June.

Lent Term Card

3 February / Coastal Societies and Resilience in Pre-Modern Europe

LENA WALSCHAP (KU Leuven / University of Antwerp)
'Seas of Risk and Resilience: Peasant Fishing in late medieval Bosham from a Socioeconomic and Environmental Perspective'
ANA ISABEL LOPES (University of Porto)
'Vulnerability and Resilience in Coastal Communities of North-Western Portugal (late 16th – middle 19th century)'

17 February / Humans, Nature, and Ecologies in Latin America

LUCY FOSTER (University of Cambridge)
'Seashells: The Axis of Oceanic and Archaeological Histories of Mexico'
MARCELO CABARCAS (University of Pittsburgh)
'A History of Shortcomings: Engineering, Waterscapes and Spatial Segregation in Cartagena, Colombia'

3 March / Decolonial Texts and Ideas across the Indian Ocean

MANASWINI SEN (University of Hyderabad)
'The Indian Ocean and an Alternative Narrative of Decolonisation: Transcontinental Ties and Spread of Communism in the Working-Class Movement of Bengal (1920–1947)'
PRANAV M (University of Calicut)
'Resistive Texts: Tuḥfat al-mujāhidīn as a Decolonial Reflex to the Coloniality of Os Lusíadas
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 Eleanor Stephenson (ems220@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.