Myriad Materialities: Towards a New Global Writing of Colonial Ports and Port Cities

A two-day conference organised by the Colonial Ports and Global History (CPAGH) Network at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

10 and 11 July 2020

Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, Germany

Keynote Speakers: 

Emily Clark 

(History, Tulane University)

Jin-Ah Kim

(Musicology, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies & Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

This interdisciplinary conference draws attention to the materialities ‘beyond the marine’ of colonial ports and port cities, with a view to re/assessing colonial contact and its longer-term impact, and the concomitant circulation of goods and ideas across the centuries and continents. Situating these peopled encounters and penetrating their initial interface will shed new light on materiality and its mutability, notably the conditions by which the negotiation of identities and inscription of subjectivities are imbricated with different ecologies and infrastructures.  

Our conference thus moves toward a new global writing of colonial ports and port cities, exploring their myriad materialities through three intersecting perspectives. First is the perspective of gender. We invite participants to reflect on socially constructed underpinnings of masculinity and femininity, their constant state of flux and the creation of contested liminal spaces beyond binary frameworks. How can these nuances offer new readings of gender through the material cultures of food, entertainment and education, for example? 

Second is the perspective of race. Our conference will examine how colonial ports and port cities functioned as key sites not only of problematic racial hierarchies, but also of global interactions and the resistance and destabilisation of those hierarchies. We invite critical engagement with notions of whiteness and their perpetuated discourses, also highlighting the role, contributions and knowledge of non-white actors and agents. 

Third is the perspective of class. This sees a renewed attention to issues of social inequality and the wider systemic questions of institutionalization and Eurocentrism, whilst weaving a more intricate understanding of colonial presences and social structures. In what ways and to what extent can there be more equitable ways of engaging with unheard communities? We envisage socially-minded critiques and/or frameworks with which to explore related concerns, notably distributive justice, archives from below and their potentiality for articulating indigenous and other neglected voices. 

To this end, we invite researchers and practitioners to bring hitherto discrete methods and practices, including but not limited to global history, musicology, social anthropology, art history and literary studies into closer interdisciplinary dialogue. At a deeper level, we hope to foster a deeper understanding of colonial ports and port cities as spaces defined and redefined by their myriad materialities. 

We are delighted to have two distinguished keynote speakers. Emily Clark is the Clement Chambers Benenson Professor in American Colonial History at Tulane University. She specializes in early American and Atlantic world history. Her research interests include race, gender, religion and historical memory. Jin-Ah Kim is Professor at the College of Liberal Arts at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, and Honorary Professor at the Institute of Musicology and Media Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research interests include transcultural processes and global history from East Asian and ethnological perspectives.    

Interested parties are asked to send an abstract of 250–400 words and a brief (1–2 page) CV to cpagh@torch.ox.ac.ukProposals are due 27 March 2020 by 11:59 pm GMT. We strongly encourage submissions from researchers and practitioners from underrepresented backgrounds. Co-authored papers (with no more than two speakers) are also welcome.    

CPAGH Steering Committee:

Dr Julia Binter (Social Anthropology)

Olivia Durand (History)

Dr Yvonne Liao (Musicology)

Dr Helena F. S. Lopes (History)

Dr Katharina Oke (History)

Min-Erh Wang (Musicology)

Dr Hatice Yıldız (History)

https://torch.ox.ac.uk/cpagh

@cpagh_TORCH

Sensing Colonial Ports and Global History: Agency, Affect, Temporality

cpagh-logo

Sensing Colonial Ports and Global History: Agency, Affect, Temporality

An Interdisciplinary Conference at TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

2–3 May 2019 (Thursday full day & Friday half day)

St Luke’s Chapel, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter

University of Oxford

https://torch.ox.ac.uk/event/sensing-colonial-ports-and-global-history-agency-affect-temporality-an-interdisciplinary-confe

 

Keynote Speakers:

Leila Fawaz (History, Tufts University)

Benjamin Walton (Music, University of Cambridge)

 

Registration closed 

Enquiries: cpagh@torch.ox.ac.uk

 

Organised by the Colonial Ports and Global History Network at the University of Oxford, this exciting interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars from such disciplines and fields as Archaeology, Area Studies, English, History, Italian and Comparative Literature, Music, Sociology and Visual Anthropology.

The aim of the conference is to cross-examine three key concepts – agency, affect and temporality – that are increasingly central to scholarly thought about colonial port cities. In doing so, it also explores anew the implications of the ‘colonial port city’ for global history, both in and beyond the academy.

In addition to the four panels of individual papers, there will also be a World Café workshop for all of the attendees, with featured presenters and topics.   

We are delighted to have two distinguished keynote speakers: Leila Fawaz, Issam M. Fares Chair of Lebanese & Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University, whose broad expertise encompasses migration, trade and war in the modern Middle East;and Benjamin Walton, Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Cambridge, whose rich expertise extends from touring opera troupes beyond Europe to the globalisation of opera in and beyond the nineteenth century. 

On 2 May, lunch and tea/coffee will be provided. On 3 May, tea/coffee will be provided.

Programme

2 MAY (THURSDAY)

8:45–9:00 Registration and Arrival

9:00–9:20 Welcome Remarks

Julia Binter and Yvonne Liao (University of Oxford)

9:20–11:20 World Café Workshop 

Chair: Julia Binter (University of Oxford)

Featured presenters and topics:

 

Michael Leadbetter, Phacharaphorn Phanomvan, and Michael Yeo (University of Oxford)

What are port cities, and how should they be studied?

Moderator: Hatice Yıldız

 

David Martínez-Robles (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

Rethinking colonial agency: The case of treaty ports

Moderators: Yvonne Liao and Min-Erh Wang

 

Ana Cristina Mendes (University of Lisbon)

Touring Mare Nostrum: The ethics of researching colonial port cities and sea travels in the Mediterranean  

Moderator: Olivia Durand

 

Aaron Jaffer (National Maritime Museum)

Redressing silences in the archive 

Moderator: Katharina Oke

 

11:20–11:50 Coffee Break

 

11:50–13:20 Panel 1

Consuming Colonial Ports: Consumption of Goods and Questions of Agency

Chair: Olivia Durand (University of Oxford)

 

Elizabeth Schmidt (University of California, Santa Barbara)

‘Sundry Sorts of Merchants Goods’: Consuming the Empire in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia

Mikko Toivanen (European University Institute)

Babel in the streets, Berlioz at the club: Mapping Class and Culture in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Singapore and Batavia through Soundscapes

Emma Bond (University of St Andrews)

Playing with the Sugar Histories of Greenock

 

13:20–14:00 Lunch

 

14:05–15:35 Panel 2

Timing Colonial Ports: Global Time and Local Temporalities

Chair: Hatice Yıldız(University of Oxford)

 

David Irving (ICREA & Institució Milà i Fontanals–CSIC, Barcelona)

Temporality, Aesthetics, and Musical Novelty in Early Modern Colonial Port Cities

Nancy Cushing (University of Newcastle, Australia)

The Time Ball and the Time Gun: Marking Time in a Colonial Port City

 Jessica Fernández de Lara Harada (University of Cambridge)

Summer Grass, Traces of the Brave Ones’ Dream: Harada Hatsu on the recollection of a sense of a timeless Japan in Chiapas, Mexico

 

15:35–15:50 Coffee Break

 

15:50–16:50 Keynote: Leila Fawaz (Tufts University)

Chair: Hatice Yıldız

Reflecting on the port cities of the Levant during the Late Ottoman Period

 

18:00– Conference Dinner at Pierre Victoire for presenters and keynote speakers

 

3 MAY (FRIDAY)

8:15–8:30 Arrival

8:30–10:00 Panel 3

Experiencing Colonial Ports: Forming Global Bodies

Chair: Katharina Oke (King’s College London)

 

Debbie Onuoha (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Lagos, Lagos: Navigating Personal Histories between Two Port Cities on Film

Manikarnika Dutta (Wellcome Unit, University of Oxford)

‘Portals of Death’: European Seamen in the Colonial Port Cities of Calcutta and Bombay

Katherine Roscoe (University of Liverpool)

Embodied Experience and Unfree Labour in Port Cities: Convict Workers in Sydney and Gibraltar

 

10:00–10:20 Coffee Break

 

10:20–11:50 Panel 4

Sensing Colonial Ports: Affective Registers

Chair: Min-Erh Wang (University of Oxford)

 

Aatreyee Ghosh (Leiden University)

Looking from the Verandah: Interrogating the Border-Spaces of Port Towns Canton and Batavia through the Historical Fiction of Amitav Ghosh and David Mitchell

Alexander Petrov (Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences)

The Development of Colonial Ports in Russian America

Nagihan Haliloğlu (Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul)

Sensing and Resisting the Colonial Port in Istanbul in Leonard Woolf and Halide Edib’s Writing

 

12:00–13:00 Keynote: Benjamin Walton (University of Cambridge)

Chair: Yvonne Liao

Port Opera

 

13:00–13:10 Closing Remarks

Facilitator: Olivia Durand