In the early modern world, no less than is true today, borders caused anxiety. A range of actors, from authorities to ordinary men and women, policed and contested boundaries; held them firm and flouted them entirely; fought over them and forged networks that transcended them. Boundaries were meant to establish sovereignty and political control, assert claims to natural resources and inhabitants’ loyalty, establish (closed) zones of economic activity, and in myriad ways determine who was in and who was out. The problem was that, however they were drawn, the lines were continually appearing, blurring and disappearing, particularly in places beyond the direct military and administrative oversight of European imperial authorities. Two distinct and usually separate lines of scholarship examine spaces of border contest: inland ‘frontier’ studies and maritime history. This conference invites participants to bridge the landed and aquatic frontiers of borderlands and maritime history to investigate in a broadly comparative framework how early modern actors defined, defied, and took advantage of borders, be they on land or on water. Through broadly comparative papers and revealing case studies this conference provides a forum to explore topics including, but not limited to, port cities, divided, middle, and Native grounds, saltwater frontiers, riverine trade, migration, diaspora, epistemology, and settler colonialism.
The event will take place from 30 June-1 July 2016 at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. Some funding is available to offset the cost of lodging. The organisers (Rachel Herrmann, University of Southampton, and Jessica Roney, Temple University) welcome suggestions for innovative paper formats and sessions. Interested participants should send a 250-word paper abstract and a short CV to Rachel Herrmann (R.B.Herrmann@soton.ac.uk) by 29 February, 2016. Participants will be notified of acceptance in March.
Rachel B. Herrmann
History, University of Southampton