Eighteenth-Century Oceanities

In 2021, as we co-convenors commenced devising this year’s David Nichol Smith Seminar (DNS), we were living in COVID-19 lockdown and Australia’s international borders were closed. We felt hopeful about our prospects for holding the DNS in person and with colleagues from around the planet, but this hope was inevitably tinged with real uncertainty. In a spirit of ensuring that our meeting would feature voices from elsewhere–and of making what lemonade we could from our abundant crop of pandemic lemons–we invited a cast of scholars to contribute short talks to a public digital gallery. Such a gallery, we thought, might not only platform the oceanic works of colleagues we copiously admire but prove widely and lastingly useful for researchers, students, and anyone curious about eighteenth-century oceanities. 2022’s DNS meeting will feature a plenary session dedicated to discussing these contributions. Beyond the conference, we intend for the talks gathered below to reach and serve broad constituencies. We are grateful, above all, to our invitees, whose presences we joyfully feel, however wide the seas that stretch between us.

- Killian Quigley on behalf of the DNS Organising Team

Jeremy Chow – Sea Power Revisited: Oceanic Agency & Anticolonial Possibility

Jeremy Chow is an Assistant Professor of English at Bucknell University. He is the editor of Eighteenth-Century Environmental Humanities (2022). His book, The Queerness of Water: Troubled Ecologies in the Eighteenth Century, will be published in Spring 2023. A PDF copy of Jeremy’s talk is available here.

Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss – The Sun King at Sea: Maritime Art and Galley Slavery in Louis XIV’s France

Meredith Martin is an Associate Professor of Art History at New York University. Gillian Weiss is a Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University. Meredith and Gillian are the authors, jointly, of The Sun King at Sea: Maritime Art and Galley Slavery in Louis XIV’s France (2022).

Tessa Murphy – Centering Oars in the Age of Sail: Indigenous Maritime Worlds of the Eighteenth Century Caribbean

Tessa Murphy is an Associate Professor of History at Syracuse University. She is the author of The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean (2021).

Mona Narain – The Eighteenth Century and Critical Ocean Studies’ Literary Ecologies

Mona Narain is a Professor of English at Texas Christian University. Her recent publications include “Oceanic Intimacies” (Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 2022). She is co-editor, with Miriam Wallace, of the book series Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650-1850 for Bucknell University Press. A bibliography for Mona’s presentation is available here.

Michele Navakas – Coral

Michele Navakas is an Associate Professor of English at Miami University of Ohio. She is the author of Liquid Landscape: Geography and Settlement at the Edge of Early America (2018) and of the forthcoming Coral Lives: Literature, Labor, and the Making of America (2023). A list of references for Michele’s talk is available here.

Mikki Stelder – Attending to the Leusden

Mikki Stelder is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam and a Lecturer in Gender and Postcolonial Studies at Utrecht University. Their recent publications include “The Colonial Difference in Hugo Grotius: Rational Man, Slavery and Indigenous Dispossession” (Postcolonial Studies, 2021). Mikki’s reference list is available here.

Nancy Um – Art History under Water: Submerged Objects in, on, and across the Indian Ocean

Nancy Um is Associate Director for Research and Knowledge Creation at the Getty Research Institute. Her publications include Shipped but Not Sold: Material Culture and the Social Protocols of Trade During Yemen’s Age of Coffee (2017) and The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port (2009).

Lars Eckstein and Anja Schwarz – Epistemic Challenges of Eighteenth Century Oceanities: Some Lessons of Johann Reinhold Forster’s Version of Tupaia’s Map

Lars Eckstein is Professor for Anglophone Literatures and Cultures outside of Great Britain and the US at the University of Potsdam. Anja Schwarz is Professor and Chair of British Cultural Studies at the University of Potsdam. Lars and Anja are the authors, jointly, of “The Making of Tupaia’s Map: A Story of the Extent and Mastery of Polynesian Navigation, Competing Systems of Wayfinding on James Cook’s Endeavour, and the Invention of an Ingenious Cartographic System” (The Journal of Pacific History, 2019).

Claire Brennan, Maddy McAllister, and Koen Stapelbroek – Coral Discovery

Claire Brennan is a Senior Lecturer in History at James Cook University. Maddy McAllister is the Senior Curator of Maritime Archaeology at the Queensland Museum Network and James Cook University. Koen Stapelbroek is a Professor of Humanities at James Cook University.

May Joseph – Climate, Ocean, Performance and the decolonial 18th century

May Joseph is Professor at Pratt Institute and author of Aquatopia: Climate Interventions; ghosts of lumumba; Sealog: Indian Ocean to New York; Fluid New York: Cosmopolitan Urbanism and the Green Imagination; and Nomadic Identities: The Performance of Citizenship. Joseph is Co-Editor (with Sudipta Sen) of Terra Aqua: The Amphibious Lifeworlds of Coastal and Maritime South Asia; and creates site specific performances along Dutch and Portuguese maritime routes exploring climate issues. http://www.mayjoseph.com