Events and Media

AHA ’23 wrap

Philadelphia PA 7-8 January 2023

panel from audience photo 1

We had a lively, smooth-running session Sunday morning at AHA on “Maritime Microhistory and Public History: Global Perspectives.” Thanks to Prof. Robert Harms (Yale) for chairing (far right in photo); Prof. Harms works on Africa, and if you have not read his 2002 The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade (Basic Books), treat yourself. We were honored that he graciously agreed to chair our session (and have dinner with us), and he ran the kind of old-school tight-ship session that I appreciate. Adrian Shubert and Boyd Cothran (York, far left and center in photo, respectively) gave us a preview of their forthcoming book on the 1853 Indian-built East Indiaman Edwin Fox, whose career spanned the entire second half of the nineteenth century, and whose largely-intact remains are preserved at Picton, New Zealand. She carried convicts and coolies, settlers and troops, and their hopes and terrors, as she sailed through a period of  imperialist globalization. Look for their book from University of North Carolina Press in November of this year.

Julia Stryker (Texas at Austin, second from left in photo), drawing on her own experience, made a strong case for the continuing value of the huge collection of nineteenth-century British Merchant Navy crew agreements held at MUN, where she and I both studied under Neil Kennedy (thanks Neil!). Yes, there is “hard data” here, but there are also countless stories worth teasing out of the terse notations typical of official records. Julia will defend her doctoral dissertation at UT this spring, and we all wish her the best.

I gave a talk on Sultana, and focused much of it on how the replica at Chestertown is used for teaching and experiential learning. Information on my forthcoming book on this vessel’s history may be found here (link will open in new window).

Finally, thanks to those of you who attended; attendance was quite respectable, especially for an 0900 session on Sunday morning, the last day of the conference! And thanks to AHA for including our session, and from me personally, for contributing partial funding for my travel.The National Coalition of Independent Scholars covered the lion’s share of my expenses through a Conference Support Grant, for which I am grateful; I was proud to represent NCIS at the conference.


This was my first AHA, but I hope  not my last.

American Historical Association Annual Meeting

Philadelphia PA 7-8 January 2023

AHA 23 logo

I am pleased to be on a panel for the flagship history conference in the United States. Convened by Boyd Cothran (York University, Toronto), and chaired by Robert Harms (Yale University, CT), our panel is titled “Maritime Microhistory and Public History: Global Perspectives.” Our panel will be from 0900 to 1030 on Sunday, 8 January, in Congress Hall B, Fourth Floor, Loews Hotel Philadelphia. I will be presenting on Sulana, the subject of my forthcoming book–but this time, I’ll be talking about the schooner as a public-history vehicle as well as her original history. The entire online program for the conference may be found here. (Link will open in a new tab.)

North American Society for Oceanic History Annual Conference,

Wilmington NC, June 2022

NASOH logo

I was pleased to present for the third time at NASOH’s Annual Conference; it’s awfully convenient when a conference happens to be in your own hometown! (It’s also cheap!)

I gave a talk on Book 2, A Boston Schooner in the Royal Navy, 1768–1772: Commerce and Conflict in Maritime British America, which is now under contract and should be out in the spring of 2023; see the Work-In-Progress tab for updates.

Among other presentations, of particular interest to me was Prof. Lynn Harris‘s; she has been investigating cargoes coming in and out of North Carolina’s ports in the late eighteenth century. I believe that serious maritime history of colonial North Carolina is both important and neglected, so I am keen to see the results of this work.

Thanks to NASOH for including me.

National Coalition of Independent Scholars, special program

Online, June 2022

NCIS logo

NCIS was kind enough to award me their Eisenstein Essay Prize for my “Conveyance and Commodity” chapter in Cultural Economies of the Atlantic World (see Publications tab). They invited me to give a Zoom talk about my work to our international membership,which I did a couple Saturdays ago. NCIS has also supported me with funding for research expenses, for which I am grateful.

If you are an “independent scholar” meaning, you are credentialed and engage in original scholarship, but are not employed full-time by an institution, do consider joining NCIS; it is growing, and doing good things to help make independent scholarship more viable in a system most certainly not set up for it.

Society for the History of Technology-History of Science Society Joint Annual Conference

August 2021

HSS logoSHOT logo

I was pleased to convene and present in the “Technical Expertise and Doing History” round-table discussion—at the Society for the History of Technology and History of Science Society Joint Annual Conference online

Ben Franklin’s World

August 2021

I was thrilled to be the featured guest historian on Episode 309 of Ben Franklin’s World, the Early American history podcast, released on Tuesday, 17 August, 2021. The episode is now available for download, and available wherever you get your podcasts, as well as on its own app, available in the Google Play and Apple stores. Host Liz Covart and I discuss ideas and information from my book, The Merchant Ship in the British Atlantic, 1600–1800 (see below). The podcast’s website is here.

Ep 309 on the home page 17 Aug 21

New Books Network podcast

I spoke with Mark Klobas recently for the New Books in History Podcast (New Books Network). Our conversation is now available–here is the link (will open in a new window). You can also listen in your favorite podcast app.

NBN logo

Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Risk and Uncertainty in the Premodern World Seminar Series
“Rational Strategies for Managing Maritime Risk in the Early Modern Atlantic”
Thursday, 11 November 2021

Maritime Studies Research Unit, Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, Newfoundland
“The Sailing Ship as Early Modern Technology:
Understanding the Maritime Environment in Its Own Time,” online presentation
Wednesday, 6 November 2019

CBC Radio Newfoundland and Labrador: On the Go with Ted Blades
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Radio interview
Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Society for the History of Technology Annual Conference
Union Station, Texas Special room
St. Louis MO
Friday, 12 October 2018, 3:30 p.m.
“Pre-Modern Technological and Economic Innovation,” Session 29

City of Alexandria/Friends of Alexandria Archaeology
The Lyceum
Alexandria VA
Sunday, 22 October 2017, 7 p.m.
“The Ship IS the Treasure: Why Alexandria’s 18th-Century Ship is Important”

East Carolina University Program in Maritime Studies 35th Anniversary Alumni Conference
Greenville NC
Friday, 27 October 2017, 10 a.m.
“Walking the Walk: Reflections on Doing Maritime History from a True Believer”

North American Society for Oceanic History Annual Conference
Charleston SC
Wednesday, 17 May 2017, 9 a.m.
“British Atlantic Merchant Ships, 1600—1800: An Agenda for Further Research”

North American Society for Oceanic History Annual Conference
Monterey CA
Friday, 15 May 2015, 9 a.m.
“The Time Machine? Using Replica Analysis to Understand Merchant Ships and the Development of the British Atlantic, 1600–1800”