The British Group of Early American Historians will hold its annual conference at the University of Portsmouth, 31 August – 3 September 2017.
Drawing on Portsmouth’s historic significance as a port town this year’s conference theme is: “Land and Water: Port Towns, maritime connections, and oceanic spaces of the early modern Atlantic World.” Portsmouth was a site of embarkation for those who shaped (or attempted to shape) the political, social, and demographic contours of the Atlantic World: the Roanoke colonists departed from the town in 1587; as did Admiral Nelson for the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It was a hub of imperial force in the form of the Royal Navy and intimately connected with the imperial conflicts across the globe, and also of the protection and then prevention of the transatlantic slave trade. Yet, as with all port towns, the social space between water and land was a space for contestation and conflict; a space for opportunity and escape.
The organisers therefore welcome work that explores the themes of port towns in the early modern Atlantic World in their broadest construction: sites of intercultural exchange, sites of tension, and sites of community. The relationship between land and water is intended to encompass all of the inhabitants of the Atlantic World: Indigenous Peoples of the Americas; Africans; Europeans; and their descendants. Moreover, we are keen to encourage scholars with interests from all parts of the Atlantic World in the broad early modern era. In keeping with BGEAH tradition, however, papers that do not necessarily fit the theme are still invited for consideration.
The programme committee is finalising panels and papers.
Download draft programme: BGEAH Programme 2017.