TitleKeynote Lecture 2022: Open Space and Flexible Borders - Knowledge Transfers through Premodern Afro-Eurasian Maritime Connections (Language: English)
Date/TimeThursday 7 July 2022: 13.15-14.00
SpeakerHyunhee Park, Department of History, John Jay College / Graduate Center, City University of New York
IntroductionNora Berend, Faculty of History / St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge
AbstractSpeaker: Hyunhee Park, Department of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Introduction: Nora Berend, Faculty of History / St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge

The maritime space in Afro-Eurasia has connected societies since ancient times through cross-border, cross-cultural contacts. Broad study of such maritime contacts and exchanges has emerged during recent decades, thanks to an increased scholarly attention to the history of trans-Eurasian connections. This development, in turn, is closely related to the interest in global history that has also grown rapidly among scholars, in college curricula, and among general audiences. Along with this global turn of the modern world, and the influence of that turn on academic values and trends, many scholars have made continuous efforts to shift our understanding of the medieval period to a view based on global perspectives. In a timely manner, a number of individual researchers and collaborative projects aim to provide new interdisciplinary platforms through which we can consider still more areas where we can expand the existing discourse (connecting previously disconnected historiographies). In response, the lecture will reexamine medieval maritime spaces as open sea routes connecting the Middle East and China, routes where people coming from different societies have had common residence and opportunities for exchanging information and knowledge for a certain period of time during long sailings.

Many studies have examined various types of information and knowledge, including geographic knowledge and information about foods and medicine, transmitted to different shores of the broader Indian Ocean basin. This lecture will focus on two specific examples as concrete case studies to promote the discovery of still more examples for the discussion of the role of medieval maritime spaces for such exchanges: 1) transfers of geographic knowledge in cross-cultural exchange as a basis for theorizing about the geographical shape of the oceans; and 2) transfers of distilled liquors, the various kinds of arak, and the technology for making them. This lecture places its findings into a broader discussion of the Global Middle Ages and addresses some of the conceptual questions raised by ongoing studies in the field.

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment.