Thalassography and Historiography
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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Series Editor’s Preface
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Why invoke a neologism? While Alexander Agassiz’s historic voyages in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico in 1877 and 1880 were pub-lished as a “Contribution to American Thalassography,” the term has generally lain dormant. Even a recent attempt to encourage more think-ing about the sea used the term Thalassology. But a term that is not used ...
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In 2009, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the trans- oceanic voyage that created New Amsterdam, two professors at the Bard Graduate Cen-ter, Deborah Krohn and myself, along with a curator at The New- York Historical Society, Marybeth DeFilippis, organized an exhibition about the life of a woman who was born in Amsterdam, came of age in Malacca, ...
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Introduction: The Sea Is the Land’s Edge Also - Peter N. Miller
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There was a depression over the Atlantic. It was travelling eastwards, towards an area of high pressure over Russia, and still showed no eres were fulfilling their functions. The atmospheric temperature was in proper relation to the average annual temperature, the tempera-ture of the coldest as well as of the hottest month, and the a- periodic ...
One. Two Men in a Boat: The Braudel-Goitein“ Correspondence” and the Beginning of Thalassography - Peter N. Miller
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The concluding section of Abraham ibn Daud’s Sefer ha- Qabbalah (c. 1261 CE) tells the story of four men— rabbis— in a boat sailing from Bari. The boat is captured by Muslim pirates and three of the rabbis are dis-tributed, or ransomed away, to the cities of Fustat (Old Cairo), Qairawan, and Cordoba. The story, plainly, is a parable of the establishment of au-...
Two. Atlantic and Caribbean Perspectives: Analyzing a Hybrid and Entangled World - Wim Klooster
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How has a thalassographic prism enabled new approaches in the histo-riography of the Atlantic world? In order to answer this question, I delve into the writing of Atlantic history since its coming of age in the last two decades. I distinguish five different ways to write Atlantic history: one school stresses agency, another adaptation, a third privileges compari-...
Three. Tide, Beach, and Backwash: The Place of Maritime Histories - Nicholas Purcell
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The aim of this chapter is precisely that of the gathering at which its oral precursor was read— to investigate the nature and potential of “the new thalassography” as a scholarly initiative, while it is indeed still rela-tively new. Thalassography has hitherto been a maritime mirroring of geography, in that word’s more literal meaning of the description of the ...
Four. The East Asian “Mediterranean”: A Medium of Flourishing Exchange Relations and Interaction in the East Asian World - Angela Schottenhammer
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The present contribution uses the macro- geographical space of an “East Asian Mediterranean” in order to characterize multilateral exchange re-lations in the East Asian world that have traditionally been investigated as relations of various independent nation- states or countries (territorial area studies), or have been analyzed with concepts such as center and ...
Five. Metaphorical Perspectives of the Sea and the Sulu Zone,1768–1898 - James Francis Warren
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My initial encounter with the Sulu Zone, located between the Asian mainland and the large islands of Mindanao, Borneo, and Sulawesi, began forty- five years ago. I first learned of the Sulu Archipelago and the maritime world of the Samal Bajau Laut when I received my Peace Corps posting in 1967, assigning me to Semporna, Sabah, on the east coast ...
Six. Connecting Maritime and Continental History: The Black Sea Region at the Time of the Mongol Empire - Nicola Di Cosmo
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The Athenian, the Venetian, the Portuguese: three thalassocracies of different scales that became political Leviathans of their own age, and as such established their power onto “their” seas and oceans.1 But maritime history, as David Armitage reminds us, is not just the struggle between states and empires. In his register, maritime history is about the life, ...
Seven. An Ocean of Islands: Islands, Insularity, and Historiography of the Indian Ocean - Roxani Margariti
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In his marvelous philosophical novella starring self- enlightened hero Ḥayy b. Yaqẓān (Alive son of Awake), the Andalusian philosopher Abū Bakr Ibn Ṭufayl (d. 1185/6) situates Ḥayy’s home in an equatorial island “lying off the coast of India below the equator,” and characterized by “the most tempered climate on earth.”1 It is precisely thanks to ideal insular ...
Eight. Skerries, Haffs, and Icefloes: Small Seas and Maritime Histories - David Kirby
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Writing in the North American Review at the end of the nineteenth cen-tury, Charles Minor Blackford triumphantly declared that “the progress of thalassography has been so rapid and so great during this century, that it can be sketched only in bare outline.” What Blackford and his contemporaries understood by “thalassography” was, essentially, the ex-...
Nine. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Peiresc - Peter N. Miller
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In the early 1930s, while a lycée teacher in Algiers, Fernand Braudel met Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc (1580– 1637). He seems to have been assigned the task of making sense of the correspondence between Peiresc and Sanson Napollon, governor of the French presidio of Bastion de France between 1628 and 1633. He seems not to have understood how Peiresc ...
Afterthoughts: Histories in Bottles - Sanjay Subrahmanyam
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We had all heard of the proverbial message- in- a- bottle long before it was immortalized by Sting and The Police in a song from their album Reg-gatta de blanc in 1979. It symbolizes the dilemma of the Robinson Crusoe figure, the castaway on an “island lost at sea” sending out a message not to anyone in particular but to everyone in general, any person that is ...
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Nicola Di Cosmo is the Henry Luce Foundation Professor of East Asian Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study since 2003. Previously he taught at Harvard University and at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His main research fields are the archaeology and history of ancient China, Chinese military history, and Mongol and Manchu history. ...
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Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Bard Graduate Center Cultural Histor