We at the Hakluyt Society were deeply saddened to receive the news of the death of Dr Ian Jackson, on 22 September. He had made outstanding contributions to the work of the Society, which he joined in the 1960s, by serving on Council, editing three volumes and delivering the Annual Lecture in 2005.
Ian Jackson was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1935 and studied geography at London and McGill Universities. His career had an unusual range, as he worked for institutions as varied as the Canadian International Geophysical Year, the London School of Economics, the Government of Canada and the United Nations (serving in Geneva and in New York).
In 1957-8 as a graduate research student he was part of Operation Hazen at the Canadian Defence Research Board weather and research station at Lake Hazen on Ellesmere Island where the team was subjected to temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius for 121 days and a long isolation from the outside world when their radio failed. Ian’s lively account of this adventure was published in 2002 in Does Anyone Read Lake Hazen?
In his later years Ian lived in New England and finally in Montreal, apart from extensive periods in a small cottage near Whitby in his native Yorkshire which he acquired while transcribing the fascinating manuscript journals of William Scoresby the Younger in the Whitby Museum. These were later published in three volumes in the Hakluyt Society’s third series as The Arctic Whaling Journals of William Scoresby the Younger, between 2003 and 2009. The Society’s Annual Lecture in 2005 was given by Ian and published by the Society as Fort Yukon: The Hudson’s Bay Company in Russian America. Ian was also the historical advisor to the exhibition ‘Cook and Canada – A Reputation in the Making’ at Whitby’s Captain Cook Memorial Museum in 2009.
As an example of his style, we might quote the final point made in his Annual Lecture, prefaced by the tantalising remark: ‘I cannot resist closing this lecture with a story that I have waited forty years or so to tell.’ In 1867 the United States paid Russia seven million dollars for Alaska, a price that has generally been regarded as a bargain. In fact, Jackson explained, ‘when Edward Stoeckl, the Russian Minister, arrived in Washington to negotiate the sale, he was under instructions from his government to try to get five million. And if a buyer pays 40% more than the seller would have accepted, it is not a bargain.’
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 Society: The Hakluyt Society Research Grant and The Hakluyt Society Short-Term Fellowship.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
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’
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’
3.30-5.30 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
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’
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’
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’
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.
Please find below a non-comprehensive selection of nearby hotels to aid your booking process
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 email@example.com