CFP: The Problem of Piracy: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Plunder by Sea across the World from the Ancient to the Modern

David Wilson's picture
Call for Papers
January 31, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Maritime History / Studies, World History / Studies, Law and Legal History, Economic History / Studies, Atlantic History / Studies

The Problem of Piracy: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Plunder by Sea across the World from the Ancient to the Modern 

24-26 June 2019, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow 

The study of piracy brings with it several interpretational problems and questions. As a global phenomenon that has lasted millennia, even defining piracy historically is difficult. Its meaning depended on distinctive legal and customary perceptions of predation at sea by diverse communities, kingdoms, and empires. Scholars have recently engaged with other important questions about piracy and maritime predation: How have acts of maritime predation been perceived in different contexts? In what circumstances did pirates self-identify as pirates? By what means was piracy suppressed? To what extent did different pirate communities engage in alternative political, economic, and social structures? Basically, how should scholars see piracy? 

In June 2019, this three-day conference seeks to address these and other “problems” of piracy by bringing together a wide range of postgraduate, early career, and senior researchers who study any aspect of piracy and maritime predation across various chronological, geographical, and disciplinary barriers. Doing so will offer the opportunity to compare and contrast different episodes, interpretations, and perceptions of piracy and maritime predation from the ancient to the modern period.  

Possible themes, are not limited to, but include: 

  • Impact of maritime predation (economic, social, cultural, etc.) 

  • Perceptions of piracy and maritime predation 

  • Suppressing piracy 

  • Law of maritime predation 

  • Gender and maritime predation 

  • Image of pirates 

  • Literature of piracy 

We welcome proposals for both individual papers and three-paper panels that discuss any aspect of piracy and maritime predation occurring across the world’s oceans from the ancient to the modern period. Abstracts of 250 words along with a short biographical note should be sent to John Coakley (Merrimack College), Nathan Kwan (University of Hong Kong / King's College London), and David Wilson (University of Strathclyde) at by 5pm (GMT) on 31 January 2019.

Contact Info: 

John Coakley, Nathan Kwan, and David Wilson at