South East Asia/South China Sea: The making of a cosmopolitan space since 1400
The recent turn in oceanic studies has transformed our understanding of the geographies, boundaries, and horizons of historical inquiry. In many respects, this maritime turn constitutes a salutary shift toward a transnational and globally entangled histories, of moving past the confines of bounded states or areas. However, even as this new approach dissolves one set of boundaries, it also risks re-assembling new ones. One of the key attributes of oceans is their connectedness, the lack of any obvious barrier preventing movements from one body of water to another. Yet the flourishing of Indian Ocean, Atlantic World, and Pacific World studies has the unintended consequence of segmenting maritime space, of reifying separate, even self-contained entities. There has been less explicit discussion of the various scales of interactions across different types of water bodies. This project seeks to foreground these multiple scales while also retaining some sense of distinctive social, environmental, and political dimensions of each. One maritime zone that can prove especially productive for illuminating these multiple scales of circulation, we suggest, is the South China Sea.
Application invited for: one PhD and one Master student