Frühneuzeittag 2017

12th Conference of the Working Group on Early Modern History in the German Historians' Association

The Sea: Maritime Worlds in the Early Modern Period

Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, 5-7 October 2017

 

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Perceptions, interpretations, strategies

During the early modern period, the sea was indispensable to life and at the same time life-threatening. Given the ambivalence inherent in this research field, the conference asks how people living in port towns and coastal areas, on rivers and islands perceived and experienced the sea. It asks how they defined their relationship with it, how they used its resources, and how they confronted its dangers.

Contacts and conflicts

The sea was always a medium of cooperation, but also of colonisation and war. The conference asks about peaceful encounters and violent conflicts, about economic, ecological, political, social and cultural profits and losses. It asks about the connections, transfers, exchanges, and entanglements inherent in maritime interaction.

Scope and dimensions

Maritime mobility, trade, and migration had an impact even on the “hinterlands” and on regions far inland. In the early modern period, the sea left its traces even in unsuspected places: for example, in churches, schools, and studies or in libraries and collections. The conference asks about the extent and influence of the maritime, and it investigates where and how precisely it becomes tangible.

Potential and perspectives

Life on, of, and with the sea is relevant to many areas within early modern historical research. The conference aims to combine these and to bring the study of maritime worlds to a new level of methodological reflection. Not least, we seek to view the early modern period from a new angle and to question boundaries – national and disciplinary boundaries, but also the boundaries of historiographical concepts.