Neither “Middle Ground” nor “Native Ground”: Reading the Life of Goggey, an Aboriginal Man on the Fringes of Early Colonial Sydney

The Hakluyt Society is pleased to announce that its 2017 Essay Prize has been awarded to Annemarie McLaren, a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, Canberra. As runner-up in this year’s competition, an Honourable Mention is awarded to Cameron B. Strang (University of Nevada, Reno, USA), for his essay: “Coacoochee’s Borderlands. A Native American Explorer in Nineteenth-Century North America”. Annemarie McLaren will be awarded a cash prize of £750 for her winning essay. Both the winner and runner-up will also receive one-year free membership of the Society. In this blog post, McLaren reflects upon the research that went into her prize-winning essay, “Neither ‘Middle Ground’ nor ‘Native Ground’: Reading the life of Goggey, an Aboriginal Man on the Fringes of Early Colonial Sydney”.


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When so many Aboriginal lives slipped through the cracks of colonial records in the early decades of Sydney, the fact that one Dharawal man’s life could be traced in fragments offered exciting opportunities. From 1802 to 1836 ― a period closely following on from the arrival of the colonists in 1788 ― Goggey could be traced in journals, letters, newspapers, diaries and petitions. So his life offered an opportunity to consider how one Aboriginal man negotiated a rapidly changing world.

Yet his archival traces also offered considerable conundrums, and Goggey, the subject of my essay for the 2017 Hakluyt Society Essay Prize, has proved to be a bubbling, provocative current throughout my doctoral candidacy, part of a process of considering and re-considering, of stumbling upon and searching for sources, and of dialogue with different colleagues at the Australian National University and beyond.

A native family of New South Wales sitting down on an English settlers farm Earle
‘A native family of New South Wales sitting down on English settlers farm’, depicts an Aboriginal man, his wife and a child, near a settler’s farm in early colonial Sydney’s immediate hinterland. Scenes like this would have been common near some of the farms of the Nepean districts, places in which Goggey was found.
Augustus Earle, c.1826 – National Library of Australia, NK12/45.

 

Goggey was a husband to several wives, a father, and a clan leader. He was an enforcer of laws, and he was also a man who broke them. He fostered relationships with colonists as well as various Aboriginal people, and he harboured with black and white equally.

Goggey could speak some English and use a gun; was the lead guide on an expedition in the difficult country of the Blue Mountains in 1802; welcomed Governor Macquarie to ‘his’ country in 1810; was asked to attend court in 1814 to give information about the murder of Aboriginal women and children by colonists; was listed as a ‘wanted’ and possibly dangerous man in 1816; and was then awarded an inscribed brass plate denoting him as an Aboriginal ‘chief’ in 1817 – just to name a few of the episodes my essays considers.

But Goggey was also an enigmatic, mercurial figure, one who could be violent as well as charming, one who could be found enraged as well as dancing by fires in the moonlight.

I have been thinking about Goggey for several years now, and he has become key to my exploration of the ongoing cultural negotiations and the processes shaping Aboriginal-colonial relations in early colonial New South Wales; including the performance of authority, the continuing ways in which material culture mediated the changing social fabric, and the diffuse processes by which guiding relationships developed. As my knowledge of the shifts in Aboriginal-Colonial relations deepened, my mind would flick back to Goggey, trying to integrate whatever new understanding I had reached with what was known about his life.

With a life embroiled in so many of the key inter-cultural developments in the colony, considering Goggey’s life, the archives in which he could be found, and the negotiations they record or suggest, has richly shaped my understanding of the ways in which cross-cultural interactions unfolded in the colony as well as the ways in which power could operate.

It has prompted me to consider ‘models’ of interaction and the theoretical underpinnings of inter-cultural power in colonial contexts, and to examine ideas surrounding “Middle Grounds” and “Native Grounds” in the context of early colonial New South Wales.

SLV_Parramatta-New-South-Wales
‘Parramatta, New South Wales’, illustrates a growing urban centre surrounded by pastoral land. This place, 15 miles west of port town at Sydney Cove, was the home of the ‘Annual General Assembly of the Natives’, where Goggey is said to have sat at the head of his ‘tribe’.
Joseph Lycett, 1824 – State Library of Victoria, 30328102131561/12 

 

Curiously, I never intended to write about Goggey. Yet as a key figure in an expeditionary account I was considering, and having come across more sources in which he appeared in intriguing ways, I did look for more. This was a useful task, but not as useful as repeated stumbling upon him while searching through archival material. This was a lesson in the fickleness of the archive (as well as in poorly catalogued items), but also suggested something about the nature of entanglement in this colonial context, and that some historical investigations demand ambitious, wide-ranging, even peripheral reading ― or perhaps some degree of serendipity.

Reading Goggey’s life has also been a lesson in the value of collegiality. It was over coffee with a later-stage doctoral candidate that I received reading suggestions of more contemporary anthropology, while I had focused on reading ‘classics’ from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

These readings helped shaped the conceptual and imaginative tool-kit necessary in confronting evidence of a strong-willed, emotive and sometimes violent man, as well as the capacity to consider the ways in which relational economies ― and in fact what was considered of ‘value’ at all ― had many different configurations in the cultural complexities of early colonial New South Wales.

I am grateful to the Hakluyt Society for awarding this piece the 2017 Essay Prize. I am also grateful to those who read this essays in various drafts, and for their words of encouragement and advice along the way.


Annemarie McLaren is a third-year doctoral candidate in history at the Australian National University. Her research considers the ongoingprofile_2 Annemarie McLaren cultural negotiations between Aboriginal people and Europeans in early colonial New South Wales in a project titled ‘Negotiating Entanglement’. Annemarie has been participating in a three-year  post-graduate training scheme of the Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She is co-editing a book (tentatively) titled Indigeneity: Claims, Relationships, and Concepts Between the Disciplines (expected 2018). She is also the Associate Review Editor of the Aboriginal History Journal.

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Hakluyt Society Essay Prize 2017

The Hakluyt Society is pleased to announce the 2017 edition of the

Hakluyt Society Essay Prize

For the third year in succession, the Hakluyt Society awards its annual Essay Prize of £750. The prize will be presented, if possible, at the Society’s Annual General Meeting in London in June 2017, and winners will be invited to present their research at the next Hakluyt Society Symposium. Winners will also receive a one-year membership of the Hakluyt Society. The Society hopes that the winning essay will be published, either in the Society’s online journal or in a recognised academic journal.

Prize winners agree to acknowledge the receipt of their award in any future publication of the Prize essay. In addition, they will be expected to contribute to the Society’s public dissemination as appropriate. This may include, but is not limited to, presenting a paper at the Hakluyt Society Symposium (in which case travel expenses within the UK will be reimbursed) and contributing to the Hakluyt Society blog (for previous winners, see here and here).


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Eligibility criteria

The competition is open to any registered graduate student at a higher education institution (a university or equivalent) or to anyone who has been awarded a graduate degree in the past three years. Proof of student status or of the date of a degree must accompany any submission. Allowance can be made for parental leave.

 Scope and subject matter

Before considering the submission of an essay, entrants should visit the Hakluyt Society’s website (www.hakluyt.com) to make themselves aware of the object of the Society and the scope and nature of its publications. Essays should be based on original research in any discipline in the humanities or social sciences, and on an aspect of the history of travel, exploration and cultural encounter or their effects, in the tradition of the work of the Society.

Essays should be in English (except for such citations in languages other than English as may appear in footnotes or endnotes) and between 6,000 and 8,000 words in length (including notes, excluding bibliography). Illustrations, diagrams and tables essential to the text fall outside the word count. Submissions should be unpublished, and not currently in press, in production or under review elsewhere.

Submission procedures and deadline

Essays should be submitted as email attachments in Word.doc format to Richard Bateman, Administrator of the Hakluyt Society, at office@hakluyt.com by 30 November 2016. The entrant’s name, address (including preferred email address), institutional affiliation (if any, with date of admission), and degrees (if any, with dates of conferment) should appear within the body of the email, together with a note of the title of the submitted essay. The subject line of the email should include the words ‘HAKLUYT SOCIETY ESSAY PRIZE’ and the author’s name. By submitting an essay, an entrant certifies that it is the entrant’s own original work. A copy of these instructions can be downloaded here: Essay Prize 2017.

Selection procedure

The Judging Panel encourages innovative submissions that make an important contribution to knowledge, or a critical or methodological contribution to scholarship. The Panel and selected reviewers will pay attention to the analytical rigour, originality, wider significance, depth and scope of the work, as well as to style and presentation. The Panel comprises selected academic faculty from among the Hakluyt Society’s Council, including the Editorial Board of The Journal of the Hakluyt Society.

The Prize Committee reserves the right not to award a prize, if no submission is judged to be of sufficient merit. The Committee’s decision will be announced in April 2017.

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Essay Prize Series part 3: This Year’s Result and Last Year’s Winner

The Hakluyt Society is pleased to announce the award of its 2016 Essay Prize. From a range of impressive submissions, the committee selected European Conceptualisations of Southeast Asian Sexual Diversity, c. 1590–1640 by Nailya Shamgunova (University of Cambridge) as the prize-winning essay. The Prize will be awarded to Ms. Shamgunova at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on 22 June 2016. Last year, Owain Lawson (Columbia University) received the first ever Hakluyt Society Essay Prize for his essay Constructing a Green Museum: French Environmental Imaginaries of Syria and LebanonMr. Lawson reflects on the research leading to his prize-winning essay below.


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Owain Lawson (right) receiving the inaugural edition of the Hakluyt Society Essay Prize from the Society’s President, Michael Barritt. June 2015, London

In September 1922, Abbé Émile Wetterlé arrived at the port of Beirut as part of the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon’s agricultural commission. In his subsequent publications, he remarked on the astonishment he felt upon seeing for the first time the gentle rangeland of the Lebanese littoral. Steeped in biblical and orientalist representations of Lebanon, Wetterlé expected to see the dense Lebanese cedar forests described in the Bible. The absence of these forests implied to Wetterlé that Ottoman mismanagement and Arab indolence had devastated Lebanon’s natural splendour, and that France must rehabilitate the Lebanese environment.

My essay, which to my great surprise and deep gratitude won the Hakluyt Society’s essay prize, inquires into what forces shaped Wetterlé’s expectations. It investigates the diverse intellectual, scientific, and cultural sources of his belief in a degraded Arab environment and traces its trajectory through nineteenth-century scientific and travel writing to its influence in legitimating French Mandatory rule in Syria and Lebanon following World War I. I originally prepared this essay as part of my MA thesis at the American University in Cairo. It owes a great debt to the work of Richard Grove and Ussama Makdisi, but most importantly to Diana K. Davis and her concept of the “environmental imaginary.” This term is useful to capture the confluence of scientific, economic, religious, intellectual, emotional, and ideological forces at work in descriptions of nature.

Nineteenth-century visitors such as Ernest Renan, the Comte de Volney, and Alphonse de Lamartine, and later Mandatory officials such as Wetterlé and General Gouraud, had access to a great variety of textual and artistic representations of Greater Syria. These included classical and Arabic geographies, biblical accounts, and contemporary archaeological, climatological, and ethnographic science. They mobilized these sources to not only describe the Lebanese environment but to imagine its ancient natural state and prescribe methods to return Lebanon to that idealized condition. Biblical Lebanon’s dense cedar groves epitomized that ideal. Through a century of travel, writing, painting, and research, rehabilitating Mount Lebanon’s forests became part of France’s mission civilisatrice in the Levant and contributed to justifying their occupation and Mandatory rule. Syrian-Lebanese intellectuals did not passively receive this narrative, but rather contributed to its production and actively contested, negotiated, and reaffirmed it for their own purposes.

My interest in this subject emerged from my own work in reforestation, which provided a unique window into the relationship between efforts to extract natural resources and to preserve natural landscapes. Profound technological, economic, and scientific transformations over the last centuries have rearranged how most humans engage with the natural world. Indeed, many of us, myself included, can now only imagine nature as diminishing and fragile. In this light, environmental conservation efforts appear to be unambiguously positive practices. How then can we understand the discrepancy between these apparently noble intentions towards nature and the ease with which colonial officials translated them into a justification for colonial domination and violence? My intention with this essay was not to simply expose colonial conservation efforts as hypocritical, or debunk the nineteenth-century science that informed them, but to think about the longer trajectories of this relationship between nature and power.


Owain Lawson is a PhD student at Columbia University’s Department of History. His research focuses on the history of science, technology, and the environment in Lebanon and Greater Syria during the early twentieth century. He is in the early stages of developing a dissertation that explores the history of Lebanese hydroelectricity. Born in Ottawa, Canada, Owain received a B.A. from Concordia University in Montréal and an M.A. in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo.

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Tancrede R. Dumas, “Beirut Port”, Beirut, 1860-1870, Nawaf Salam Collection, Arab Image Foundation, Beirut.

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Winners of 2016 Hakluyt Society Research Grants Announced

The Hakluyt Society is delighted to announce the outcome of its 2016 Research Funding initiative, made possible by the establishment of the Society’s Harry & Grace Smith fund. Out of the numerous excellent applications received during this inaugural funding competition, the committee has decided to make seven awards of a Hakluyt Society Research Grant or a Hakluyt Society Short-Term Fellowship.


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Winners Hakluyt Society Research Grant 2016

Professor Daniel Carey (University of Galway) and Dr Gabor Gelléri (University of Aberystwyth) – Ars Apodemica Online – an online database of the arts of travel

The work is geared toward the completion of an online database of early modern discussions of the art of travel (the ars apodemica). Prior work by Carey and Gelléri has: significantly increased the number of known texts of this type as compared to existing bibliographies; developed a descriptive methodology; and created the foundation for various visualizations that will benefit users of the database. Scholars of early modern travel have recognized the importance of attempts to reform and direct the practice of travel. The sheer scale of contributions to this debate, between c.1575–c.1850, in the form of essays, letters, treatises, and disputations, has not been appreciated. Many hundreds of such works appeared across Europe (including previously unknown contributions from Sweden, Poland, Hungary as well as England, France, Germany, Italy and the Low Countries). They established conventions for Continental travel and more distant journeys with widespread influence. The database will allow academic and wider public access to this rich material.


Dr Cheryl Fury (University of New Brunswick, Saint John) – The Human Dimension of the Early Voyages of the English East India Company

The project centres upon the less affluent members of the English maritime community. The focus of the work is upon the men of the East India Company and their struggles to establish a toe-hold for English trade in Asia. There are very few works that deal with the early EIC voyages in detail. This project examines the official accounts in conjunction with shipboard wills which provide a different viewpoint. The work extends from current research on the EIC. Here, my concern is with matters of health care and shipboard disturbances (1610–1620). Eventually, this research will culminate in a book on the first 20 years of the East India Company.


Dr Maura Hanrahan (Memorial University, Newfoundland) – Transcribing and Contextualizing the Diary of Bjarne Mamen of the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913–1914

Bjarne Mamen was the twenty-two year assistant topographer with the northern party of the doomed 1913–1914 Canadian Arctic Expedition (CAE). Mamen’s unpublished diary begins on 28 July 1913 and ends on 22 May 1914. Mamen’s diary allows for a reconstruction of the Karluk voyage, drift and sinking, followed by the survivors’ long wait for rescue on Wrangel Island. It provides us with the intimate perspective of a young polar explorer who is keenly aware of the grave danger he faces. Besides weather observations, shipboard activities, and meals, Mamen writes of the sometimes fraught relations between expedition members, his hopes for his time in the Arctic, and, as time passes, his ailments and fears. Mamen died in a windblown tent on Wrangel Island three months before rescue came. The last words entered in the diary are ‘I for my part cannot stand staying here’.


– Stephanie Mawson (PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge) – Slavery, Trade and Witchcraft in the Seventeenth-Century Spanish Pacific

The work is towards a PhD thesis on the social history of empire in the seventeenth-century Philippines, looking at the topics of slavery, trade and witchcraft. The research highlights the tenuous nature of empire and reveals the Philippines as a site of ongoing contestation between the Spanish and Southeast Asians. The history of this extraordinary archipelago brings together Spanish merchants and royal officials, indigenous Filipinos, Mexican convicts, Chinese merchants, Islamic pirates, religious missionaries, representatives of the Dutch, Portuguese and British empires and a multiethnic, itinerant maritime labour force. All of these people interacted within the culturally diverse, yet politically integrated context of Maritime Southeast Asia. The current historiography of the Spanish presence in the Philippines largely ignores this regional context, choosing instead to focus narrowly on the questions of how and why the Spanish were able to bring the people of the Philippines under imperial control. This work is geared towards turning these questions on their head, and to ask how regional and local social relations constrained, conflicted with, and ultimately shaped, the Spanish project of empire within the Philippines.


María Gracia Ríos (PhD candidate, Yale University) – Claiming Sovereignty: Sir Francis Drake and the Just Titles of Spain to the Indies

In the late sixteenth century, Sir Francis Drake constituted a persistent threat for the Spanish empire. In this project, I argue that Drake’s attacks on Spanish America led to a reconstruction of the history of the discovery and conquest of America in both Spanish and English writings of his time. I seek to comprehend how, as a result of Drake’s circumnavigation voyage, both Spanish and English authors claimed sovereignty and possession of the New World using the same rhetorical tools and expressing the same demands for implementing an overseas empire. By illustrating the literary interconnections between these nations, the research aims to move beyond the specificity of monolingual and mono-disciplinary perspectives that have characterized studies on New World colonization, and to contribute to scholarship on the ways in which ideas and people circulated across the formal boundaries of empires and nations in the early modern Atlantic world.


Dr Sarah Thomas (Birkbeck, University of London) – The Art of Travel in the Name of Science

This research explores the salience of mobility to an understanding of visual culture in the colonial period, focusing in particular on the works of art produced on board

Matthew Flinders’ inaugural circumnavigation of Australia between 1801 and 1803 by British landscape painter William Westall (1781–1850), and Austrian botanical artist, Ferdinand Bauer (1760–1826). Mobility was a strategic advantage for such artists in providing new material to record both for Enlightenment science and a broader European public, yet it also presented logistical, aesthetic and philosophical challenges. The work not only considers the status of the peripatetic artist as ‘eyewitness’ in this period, but also examines the mobility of visual culture itself, and the implications that this has for art history in a globalised world.


Winner Hakluyt Society Short-Term Fellowship 2016

Katherine Parker (PhD candidate, University of Pittsburgh) – Studies in the Reception and Dissemination of the Anson Expedition

Anson’s circumnavigation and his capture of a Spanish treasure galleon in 1740–44 caused a sensation from London to Lima to Manila, while the publication of print materials spread the story almost as widely as Anson had sailed. Despite the importance of the Anson expedition to eighteenth-century peoples, it has received relatively little modern scholarly attention – due, in part, to the field of Pacific exploration’s overwhelming focus on the voyages of the later eighteenth century, particularly those of James Cook. This research project considers the ways in which the Anson expedition and the publications surrounding it were central to the development of the Royal Navy, Pacific exploration, and print culture. The Anson expedition and associated publications helped re-write the modern globe as Europeans knew it.


The Hakluyt Society wishes the awardees good fortune in their research and is looking forward to see these fascinating projects come to fruition. For more information about the competition and to keep posted about the 2017 round of HS Funding (deadline February 2017), see www.hakluyt.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. The Hakluyt Society Research Funding competition is open to anyone whose research interests meet with and promote the Society’s objectives. All applicants must be members of the Hakluyt Society.

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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


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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


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Rifling Through The Religious Baggage of Early Modern Travellers

As promised, as a follow-up to the guest blog on using the Hakluyt Society’s publications for doctoral study, Hector Roddan in this companion post shares with us some of the fresh insights from his PhD research on the religious baggage of early modern travellers. He argues that the texts penned down by these travellers allow the researcher to trace the processes by which deeply held beliefs were renegotiated in response to contact with foreign societies.


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Just like today, early modern travel writing was informed by various assumptions and experiences of life at home. My research has focussed on how travellers’ religious backgrounds informed their descriptions of other societies. I discuss texts by English visitors to Russia, Turkey, India, Southeast Asia and Polynesia between 1550-1800. Both mainstream and minority English religious beliefs informed descriptions and critiques of other societies’ beliefs and practices.

Many travellers in this period were content to ‘catechise the world by their own home’.[1] Indeed, the seventeenth-century antiquarian Henry Blount bemoaned the fact that many contemporary descriptions of Islam reiterated the perceived doctrinal errors of Turkish religion, rather than identifying any similarities between European and Ottoman military discipline or learning from the latter. Blount was cynical of the traditional accoutrement of religion, both Christian and Islamic, and this informed his measured praise of Ottoman military and political successes.

The religious identity of other travellers was far from straightforward. The Devonshire mariner, Joseph Pitts, was captured by Algerian pirates, enslaved and forcibly converted to Islam. Following 16 years living in North Africa both as a slave and a free servant, he returned to England and wrote about his experiences. In his text, he elides reference to his apostate status following his conversion.

Instead, he cites the authority of Christian neighbours and English traders who knew him during his captivity in order to prove that, whilst he may have verbally denied Christ and taken on the garb of a Muslim, he maintained his duties as a Christian worshipper whenever possible. He seeks to maintain his identity as a Christian apart from the Muslim society he was intimately familiar with. Yet his prolonged stay also gave certain benefits. Pitts was one of the first Englishmen to perform the Hajj and write about his experiences. Thus, Pitts’ conversion establishes his authority to represent North African religion.

In contrast, eighteenth-century travellers writing about Indian polytheistic traditions sought to use foreign practices to undermine or subtly critique mainstream Christian orthodoxies. In describing Asian religions as akin to ‘natural religion’, contemporary Orientalists like William Jones and Michael Symes dabbled with rationalist critiques of the Established church. In particular, he drew on a deist conception of natural religion that tacitly undercut the exceptionalism inherent in the mainstream Judeo-Christian culture of his day.

Travellers betrayed a range of heterodox and orthodox religious beliefs in their dealings with, and representations of, other cultures’ beliefs and practices. As a result, their texts provide an insight into how deeply held beliefs were affected, negotiated and sometimes altered by contact with those of other societies.

[1] Henry Blount, A Voyage into the Levant: A Breife Relation of a Journey, Lately Performed by Master H. B. Gentleman…, 2nd edn (London, 1636), sig. A2r, p. 77. See image.


Hector Roddan is a PhD candidate at Cardiff University, supervised by Dr. Garthine Walker. He has recently completed his AHRC-funded doctoral project entitled ‘Defining Differences: The Religious Dimension of Early Modern Travel Narratives, c. 1550-c. 1800’. His research interests include travel writing and religious identities in the long early modern period.

Henry Blount Voyage


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Hakluyt and Me: Using the Hakluyt Society Publications for my Doctoral Thesis

We are happy to announce the first of our series of guest blogs, this time by Hector Roddan (Cardiff University). In this contribution Hector reviews the usefulness of the Hakluyt Society’s publications for academic study. In a follow up blog, Hector will present some of the findings of his PhD research.


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The publications of the Hakluyt Society are a fantastic resource. I was fortunate enough to make use of their editions of Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations as well as several other works published by the Society whilst researching my doctoral thesis on representations of early modern religion in travel narratives. In this post, I explore some of the opportunities and challenges presented by the Society’s vast archive of published travel works.

Editorial practices have evolved over the hundred-and-fifty years since the Society began publishing travel texts. Although recent volumes come complete with scholarly annotations and footnotes, this is not always the case for older publications. Whilst these earlier works must be treated somewhat differently to modern scholarly editions of primary sources, they also provide some insight into how English perspectives on intercultural encounters have changed.

Older volumes, such as the 1905 facsimile edition of Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations (Extra Series, 1-12), remain valuable. I found it particularly useful in locating travel works relating to Russia, a major English trading venture when Hakluyt was writing. Whilst it has been superseded to an extent by more recent digital editions, as a reference tool and an introduction to Hakluyt’s monumental work, it remains essential reading. (Editor’s note: A new 14-volume critical edition of Hakluyt’s “Principal Navigations” is currently being prepared. Find out more here)

Hakluyt himself was not above censoring accounts (like those of Jerome Horsey and Giles Fletcher) which cast doubt on the civility of Russian government. As such, Hakluyt’s own text is not the definitive version of these intercultural encounters. The omissions and elisions of stringent critiques of Muscovite life only come to light when considered in light of other contemporary editions of Horsey and Fletcher’s texts.

Within Anglophone travel texts, the Society’s collections are valuable for identifying dissenting voices that contradict both colonial and post-colonial assumptions about early modern English representations of other cultures. Hakluyt himself catalogued contemporary knowledge of other societies in order to promote an Elizabethan maritime empire. Yet this ‘empire nowhere’ (to borrow Jeffrey Knapp’s phrase) did not lead in a straight line to the formal empires and imperialism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Even amongst missionary communities in the early nineteenth century, the nature and scope of European authority was still being worked out. John Davies’ religious ethnography (Second Series, 116) betrays some of the conflicts between metropolitan assumptions about Tahitian idolatry and his own experiences at the sharp-end of nearly-failed religious colonialism.

The Society’s publications (and my own research) has focused chiefly on European travel narratives. From the mid-twentieth century, the Society has begun publishing travel works from non-Western sources (i.e. 2nd series, 110, 117, 141, 146, 172; 3rd series 19, 25, 26-27 (see image)). These fresh perspectives on the experience of travel provide a valuable counter-perspective to dominant European narrative of colonial expansion.

Through the Society’s publications, I have been able to access a variety of rare and sometimes obscure travel works. These sources provide a variety of perspectives on cross-cultural encounters of various kinds. Furthermore, the Society’s volumes are presented in an accessible way that makes them appealing both to academics and casual readers alike.


Hector Roddan is a PhD candidate at Cardiff University, supervised by Dr. Garthine Walker. He has recently completed his AHRC-funded doctoral project entitled ‘Defining Differences: The Religious Dimension of Early Modern Travel Narratives, c. 1550-c. 1800’. His research interests include travel writing and religious identities in the long early modern period.


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