“Making waves in maritime scholarship: The rising tide of innovative work”
Like the sea, maritime scholarship is a vast and sometimes unruly space. An arena of inquiry filled with tall ships and officers, traders and merchants, its multitudes also contain buccaneers and stowaways, fishwives and pirate-Jennys, and indigenous maritime people who both built polities and avoided them. This talk delves into the field’s major shifts over recent years and why those shifts matter.
Jennifer L. Gaynor is an anthropologist and historian of Southeast Asia and its surrounding seas from the early modern period to the present. Her first book, Intertidal History in Island Southeast Asia: Submerged Genealogy and the Legacy of Coastal Capture (Cornell University Press, 2016), a work of decolonial historical praxis, recentered the contributions of Southeast Asian maritime people in regional and world historical perspectives. Her current projects look at the long history of Southeast Asia’s maritime dynamics and at the environmental politics of contemporary coastal transformations. Recent publications include: “Giving up the ghost: Rethinking Southeast Asia’s maritime past and its place in world history,” in World History Connected (2020); “The colonial origins of theorizing piracy’s relation to failed states,” in Piracy in World History, Stefan Eklöf Amirell, Bruce Buchanan, and Hans Hägerdal, eds. (Amsterdam University Press, 2021); and “The enduring sea cultures of Southeast Asia, seventh – seventeenth centuries,” in The Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean, Volume I: The Pacific Ocean to 1800, Ryan Tucker Jones and Matt K. Matsuda, eds., Paul D’Arcy, general ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2022). In addition to fellowships at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities, the Australian National University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, she has taught history at Cornell, Michigan, and the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she is presently a Research Fellow in the Law School’s Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy.