Looking back on Hakluyt@400

The two-day international conference held to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Richard Hakluyt has been an appropriate highlight in a packed Hakluyt Quatercentenary programme  with events in Oxford and Wetheringsett. Thanks are due to the excellent organisation by Claire Jowitt, Daniel Carey and Anthony Payne, as well as to our generous hosts, the Bodleian Library, the Museum for the History of Science, and Christ Church, Oxford. In this blog, Dr Lauren Working, research associate on TIDE (Travel, Transculturality, and Identity in England, 1550-1700), an ERC-funded project led by Hakluyt Society Council member Prof Nandini Das, looks back on  #Hakluyt400.

The geographer and clergyman Richard Hakluyt died in good company: 1616 also marked the death of two internationally-renowned writers, William Shakespeare and the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter and Cervantes’s re-working of chivalric romance have continued to grace school curricula and playhouses around the globe; by comparison, Hakluyt’s impact is less immediately apparent.

The Hakluyt Society, in conjunction with the Bodleian Library Museum for the History of Science and Museum for the History of Science in Oxford, held a two-day conference in November 2016 to examine Hakluyt’s legacy at the four-hundredth anniversary of his death. His two editions of The Principal Navigations, Traffiques, and Voiages of the English Nation (1589, enlarged 1598-1600), have long been considered some of the most important collections of English travel writing ever published, and the conference assembled an international cohort of speakers who presented current research on their work for the forthcoming 14-volume critical edition of The Principal Navigations.


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A number of scholars discussed the particularities of English interactions with indigenous peoples, from Africans in Guinea to the Algonquians in Virginia. Mary Fuller examined the casualties of Anglo-Inuit exchange in the English search for the Northwest Passage, and complicated the “us” vs. “them” mentality of English voyages by highlighting the heterogeneity and factions among ship crews.

Other papers engaged with the continuity between state policy and trade in the late middle ages and early modern period through Hakluyt’s inclusion of a fourteenth-century poem; the importance of naval history and the experience of seamen in effecting expansion; the mercantilist emphasis of Hakluyt’s second edition; and the English desire to exploit global markets, such as Indian cotton. Joyce Chaplin delivered a keynote lecture that argued that English attitudes towards natural resources and climate-based notions of human physiognomy set the groundwork for the enslavement of non-European peoples, to disastrous consequences.

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Prof Nandini Das presenting on the place of India in Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations. Hakluyt and the Renaissance Discovery of the World conference, Oxford.

 

The discussions that emerged from the papers centred around several key aspects of early modern global historiography, suggesting future avenues for research. One is the continuing development of environmental studies and ecocriticism as important approaches in the history of expansion, which was, after all, fundamentally about land and the exploitation of its resources. As Joyce Chaplin put it, pro-imperial authorities and their agents saw a relationship between economies and ecosystems. The Greek oikos and the Latin oeco were terms that denoted households, but also the management of the estates themselves.

Secondly, papers highlighted the need to reconstruct the experience of non-European peoples, especially their capacity to dictate the terms of Anglo-indigenous exchange. Surekha Davies pointed out that instances of the passive voice in Hakluyt might offer hints as to moments when indigenous peoples dominated colonial encounters, at times when Europeans struggled to successfully dictate the terms of the exchange.

Related to attempts to recalibrate approaches to intercultural encounters, other papers emphasised the value of using non-English-language sources to enhance and complicate global historiography. Persian accounts of English diplomatic missions, such as Anthony Jenkinson’s in the 1560s, both offer correctives to the source manipulation of Safavid chronicles while offering new perspectives on English writings about diplomatic encounters in the east.

Finally, presenters stressed the ongoing importance of tracing the intimate networks between patrons, merchants, gentlemen, and travel writers who produced knowledge about, and effected, empire, which was nothing if not a collaborative effort.

The conference concluded with a public lecture by the historian and BBC broadcaster Michael Wood, who used early modern travel narratives from Asia and South America to question the very idea of discovery: who, he asked, really “discovered” whom in any given exchange?

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Michael Wood delivering the public lecture ‘Voyages, Traffiques, Discoveries’

Scholars today are wary of celebrating Hakluyt’s use of geography, given his imperial aims, but Principal Navigations remains a rich source for accessing the lives of individual agents, and for understanding large-scale historical change. To Hakluyt, the English would not thrive from insularity, and could only find themselves by engaging with the rest of the world.


Lauren Working is a historian of sixteenth and seventeenth-century English politics and culture. Her research examines the convergence between expansion and state formation, drawing on textual and archaeological sources to reconstruct the impact of colonization on the social and discursive worlds of Jacobean London. Lauren is a research associate on TIDE (Travel, Transculturality, and Identity in England, 1550-1700),  a five-year, ERC-funded project that aims to investigate how mobility in the age of travel and discovery shaped English perceptions of human identity based on cultural identification and difference. The project is headed by Professor Nandini Das at the University of Liverpool.


@HakluytSociety – Become a member at www.hakluyt.com – #Hakluyt400

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NEW: Hakluyt Society Research Grants

A New Year, a New Initiative!

After the launch of the Hakluyt Society Essay Prize in 2014 and the great success of the first Hakluyt Society conference in November 2015, the year 2016, which marks the quatercentenary of Richard Hakluyt’s death, sees the introduction of two brand new research funding initiatives from the Hakluyt SocietyThe Hakluyt Society Research Grant and The Hakluyt Society Short-Term Fellowship.


– Join the Hakluyt Society on www.hakluyt.com


In furtherance of the principal objectives of the Hakluyt Society, namely to promote the study of historical exploration, travel, and worldwide cultural encounter, the Society has established two schemes of research funding open to anyone whose research interests meet with and promote the Society’s stated objectives.

Applications for funding for the year 2016 must be received by 15 February 2016 (17:00 GMT) at researchgrants@hakluyt.com. All applicants must be members of the Hakluyt Society. Those who currently are not members but wish to become so can join the Society online. The application form can be downloaded here.

As stated on www.hakluyt.com, the Society makes multiple research grants available in any given calendar year:

The Hakluyt Society Research Grant, up to six of which will be available per calendar year, with a maximum allocation of £1500 each.

The Hakluyt Society Short-Term Fellowship, two of which will be available per calendar year. The Fellowship may be held for a maximum of four months, with a maximum allowance of £1650 per month.

For further particulars about the application procedure, please consult the Guidelines to Hakluyt Society Research Funding:

Guidelines Research Funding


@HakluytSociety – Become a member at www.hakluyt.com

Programme: The Hakluyt Society Conference, Hull, 13-14 November

The Hakluyt Society Conference:

Maritime Trade, Travel and Cultural Encounter in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’

Location: Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, 27 High Street, Hull. HU1 1NE

Friday 13 November – Saturday 14 November 2015

** Registration is free for Hakluyt Society members and £30 to non-members **

Order your tickets here


– Join the Hakluyt Society on www.hakluyt.com


PROGRAMME 

The Hakluyt Society Conference programme

Friday 13 November 2015

9.15 Registration and Coffee

9.45 Welcome (President of the Hakluyt Society)

10.00-12.00 Panel 1: Travel Accounts and Logbooks

Chair: Nigel Rigby

Paul Sivitz (Idaho State University),Ship Captains and Science: Linking Physical and Virtual Mobilities in the Eighteenth Century’

Natalie Cox (University of Warwick) and Steven Gray (University of Portsmouth), ‘Tales from the “Happy Ships” of Empire: The Westminster Press ‘Log Series’ and the emergence of Naval travel writing, 1883-1910’

Lena Moser (University of Tuebingen), ‘“Totally unfit for an English Naval Officer”: The travels and career of Friedrich Lappenberg of Bremen, Master RN’

Donald Laskey (Central Michigan State University), ‘Joshua Slocum and the Nineteenth Century Planetary Performers’

12.00-1.00 Lunch

1.00-3.00 Panel 2: Cultural Exchange

Chair: Jenny Balfour-Paul

Nigel Rigby (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich), ‘Exhibiting Captain Cook at the National Maritime Museum, 1937-2018’.

Ryan Holroyd (Pennsylvania State University),Responsibility, Red Tape, & Wretchedness: The English East India Company’s Disappointment in the Chinese Port of Xiamen, 1684 – 1720’

Tika Ramadhini (Leiden University), ‘The Arabs in the Lesser Sunda Islands: Cultural Brokers from a Diaspora in the Late 19th Century’

Paul Hughes, ‘Restoration: Portrait of a Seventeenth Century Navigator’

3.00-3.30 Tea/Coffee

3.30-5.30 Panel 3: Empires

Chair: Guido van Meersbergen

Noelle Nadiah Richardson (European University Institute), ‘Abandoned Backwater? Revisiting Goa and Global Trade in the Eighteenth Century’

 Nida Nebahat Nalçacı (Istanbul University),Dissolution of Ottoman Diplomatic Arrogance: The Case of POWs in Ottoman Istanbul’

 Chris Petrakos (University of Toronto Mississauga), The Yukon Commissioner’s British Tour: The Atlantic and the Making of the Canadian West, 1897-1900

 Guy Collender (Birkbeck, University of London), Strikes and solidarity: Parallels between dockers’ unions in Great Britain and Australia in the late 19th century

6.00 p.m. Reception – Blaydes House

7.00 p.m. Keynote Lecture at WISE – David Richardson (WISE, University of Hull), ‘Inside out: Technological and cultural change in shaping Atlantic history, 1650-1860’

Evening: Free time for delegates


Saturday 14 November

9.30 Coffee

10.00-12.00: Panel 4 – Slavery

Chair: David Richardson

Lauren Bell (University of Hull), ‘Captive passengers: Connecting the slave trade and convict transportation through cultural encounters and voyages of exploration’

Kimberly Monk (University of Bristol), ‘“A Most Valuable Cargo”: The Design and Development of the West Indiaman, 1773-1843’

 Jamie Goodall (Stevenson University), ‘Tippling Houses, Rum Shops, & Taverns: How Alcohol Fueled Informal Commercial Networks and Knowledge Exchange in the West Indies’

Molly Corlett (University of Oxford),Transatlantic Blackness in Eighteenth-Century England’

12.00-1.00 Lunch

1.00 – 2.30 Panel 5 – Knowledge Construction, Survey and Hydrography in West Africa

Chair: Nicholas J. Evans

Suzanne Schwarz (University of Worcester), ‘“A Just and Honourable Commerce”: Abolitionist Experimentation in Sierra Leone in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries’

Michael Barritt (President of the Hakluyt Society), ‘“A proper person to succeed Mr Dalrymple”: Captain Edward Henry Columbine and hydrographic data-gathering by the Royal Navy in the Great War 1795-1815’

Silke Strickrodt (Centre of Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin), ‘Cartography in the Service of Abolitionism: The Royal Navy’s Surveys of the West African Coast in the Nineteenth Century’

2.30-3.00 Coffee

3.00-4.30  Panel 6 – Sierra Leone

Chair: Suzanne Schwarz

Mary Wills (WISE, University of Hull), ‘Cultural encounters between West Africans and Royal Navy officers of the 19th century anti-slavery squadron’

Erika Melek Delgado (University of Worcester), ‘Liberated African Children: Recaptives in the Crown Colony of Sierra Leone, c. 1808-1819’

Nicholas J. Evans (WISE, University of Hull) – ‘Jewish Traders on the West Coast of Africa’

Close


Free Town, Sierra Leone. From: Thomas Eyre Poole, 'Life, Scenery, and Customs in Sierra Leone and the Gambia' (London: 1850). Courtesy of the British Library.
Free Town, Sierra Leone. From: Thomas Eyre Poole, ‘Life, Scenery, and Customs in Sierra Leone and the Gambia’ (London: 1850). Courtesy of the British Library.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Getting to the conference venue

The conference will be held at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), Oriel Chambers, 27 High Street, Hull, HU1 1NE, United Kingdom.

Hull has good transport links to the major cities of England. The city is located 200 miles from London, 100 miles from Manchester and around an hour’s drive from Leeds and York. It has easy access to several airports including Humberside, Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, and Teesside. P&O Ferries also offers daily overnight services to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge from Hull’s own port. Hull is served by rail and bus at the Paragon Interchange, which is a 15 minute walk from the conference venue. National Express coaches, local buses and taxis depart at the Paragon Interchange.

Accommodation

Please find below a non-comprehensive selection of nearby hotels to aid your booking process

http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/HULBAR/hull-city-centre
http://www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-8203-mercure-hull-royal-hotel/index.shtml
http://www.kingstontheatrehotel.com/
http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-3479-ibis-hull/index.shtml
http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/gb/en/hull/huynh/hoteldetail?
http://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/gb/en/hd/united-kingdom/kingston-upon-hull-hotels

Registration

Registration is free for new and existing Hakluyt Society members and £30 to non-members. To order your ticket simply click here and fill in the online registration form. You can join the Hakluyt Society as a new member online at www.hakluyt.com. Please be advised that advance registration will close on 7 November 2015.

If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact the conference administrator, Dr. Guido van Meersbergen, at guido.meersbergen.09@ucl.ac.uk

The Hakluyt Society and WISE look forward to welcoming you in Hull


@HakluytSociety – Become a member at www.hakluyt.com