Pirates, Ports and Exports: Maritime Relations in an Age of Sail

Online, Room 420 Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham
Friday 23 June 2023 (09:00-18:15)
An old drawing of sailing ships in a dock at a city

Hosted by Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures and the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies, this conference will explore the relationship between land and ocean in the Early Modern period (c.1500 to c.1800).

The conference will explore the relationship between land and ocean in the Early Modern period (c.1500 to c.1800), examining the way in which oceans, once they were seen as a connecting space, became key to social, cultural, economic, and political relationships.


  • 09:00-09:20: Registration 
  • 09:20-09:30: Welcome Address (Nathan Jopling)
  • 09:30-11:00: Panel 1 - Maritime Communities Around Ports (Chair: Kate Smith)
    • Ports and pines; baracche and botteghe: Maritime trade and resisting feudalism in Bourbon Naples (Helena Hammond, University of Roehampton)
    • Export and Security in the Eastern Mediterranean: Port of Damietta in the Early Modern Era (Mücahide Nihal Engel, Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University)
    • The Legacy of the Wadia Master Builders in Bombay (Janhavi Lokegaonkar, University of Mumbai)
  • 11:00-11:15: Coffee Break
  • 11:15-12:45: Panel 2 - Maritime Communities Around Ports Part 2 (Chair: TBC)
    • Pirates, Privateers & A Wedge of Gold: The rebuilding of Southampton’s Economy in the late sixteenth century (Cheryl Butler, University of Winchester)
    •  ‘Marked with perpetual infamy’: The absence and presence of maritime merchant communities on the availability healthcare (Diane Budden, University of Winchester)
    • Eighteenth-Century Smuggling (Steven Mallet, University College London) 
  • 12:45-1:30: Lunch
  • 13:30-15:00: Panel - People and the Sea (Chair: Lou Roper)
    • TBD (Jack Sargant, University of Manchester)
    • Writing as Sailing as Walking (Morgan Daniels, Arcadia University)
    • Environmental conditioning of European commerce in East and South-East Asia (16th-17th centuries) (Mariana Boscarial, University of Lisbon) 
  • 15:00-15:15: Coffee Break 
  • 15:15-16:45: Panel 4 - Administration and Governance (Chair: TBC)
    • Pirates of the Gulf of Kachchh and European Companies: Power and Violence (Chhaya Goswami, University of Mumbai)
    • Maritime Security Administration in the Ming Dynasty: A Case Study of the Fujian Navy’s Mission to Capture Pirates During the Wanli Years (Na Chang, Nanjing University)
    • Maritime Monopoly and Metropolitan Industry: Rethinking the Role(s) of Louis XIV’s East India Company (Lewis Wade, Institute of Historical Research/Leiden University)
  • 17:00-18:15: Keynote (Chair: Nathan Jopling)
  • ‘Poachers Turned Gamekeepers: The Guinea Company and How English Overseas Interests Became a ‘State’ Matter’ (Lou Roper, State University New York) 
  • 19:00: Dinner 

Many thanks to the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures, and the Society of Nautical Research, without whose support this conference could not have happened.


This event is free, but please register (link top right above) to attend in person or online.