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Book description

Oceanic Histories is the first comprehensive account of world history focused not on the land but viewed through the 70% of the Earth's surface covered by water. Leading historians trace the history of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans and seas, from the Arctic and the Baltic to the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan/Korea's East Sea, over the longue durée. Individual chapters trace the histories and the historiographies of the various oceanic regions, with special attention given to the histories of circulation and particularity, the links between human and non-human history and the connections and comparisons between parts of the World Ocean. Showcasing oceanic history as a field with a long past and a vibrant future, these authoritative surveys, original arguments and guides to research make this volume an indispensable resource for students and scholars alike.


'This is the book oceanic scholars have been waiting for. Five oceans, six seas, eleven top scholars and a dozen magisterial essays that map the contemporary state of oceanic historiographies. With a rambunctious ‘cast’ of wind, wave, whale, ship and sailor, the volume probes the surface and depth of the ocean, the historical and the environmental, extending our sense of world history, both vertically and horizontally.'

Isabel Hofmeyr - University of the Witwatersrand and New York University

'Armitage, Bashford and Sivasundaram have produced a skillfully piloted volume navigating the history and historiography of the oceans of the world and the lands that abut them. A marvelous summation of the state of the field of oceanic histories that will be indispensable reading for scholars and students alike.'

Sugata Bose - Harvard University, Massachusetts

'A rich and deeply informative set of essays that is valuable at two levels. It shows how global historians can benefit from devoting more sustained attention to the histories of oceans. Simultaneously, the individual essays also illumine the differences in the past (and present) between different large stretches of water and the lands involved with them.'

Linda Colley - Princeton University, New Jersey

‘Altogether, this collection certainly achieves to survey and critically evaluate the impressive range of oceanic historiography-its diverse history, approaches, and critical vocabulary, and its promise for a less anthropocentric practice of history as a much needed corrective that helps the field of history to contribute to a heightened consciousness regarding the consequences of both human and nonhuman, oceanic agencies for the history of our planet.’

Alexandra Ganser Source: American Historical Review

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