Table Topic: “Transit and Transition at Sea”
In case you are interested in sea voyages, travel across the oceans and seafarer culture, be sure to check out the table “Transit and Transition at Sea” which will be hosted by Susann Liebich and Daniela Egger. Find their table statement below:
Between here and there lies the ocean.
For centuries, people have travelled the world across the ‘highways’ of the sea, spending significant time on board ships. In the age of increased global mobility, from the nineteenth century onwards, millions of migrants and other seafarers crossed the oceans and found themselves in a space and time ‘between here and there’. For ocean travelers, especially on long-distance voyages, being in ‘transit’ represents an in-between-phase, a period of crossing, waiting, overcoming and transitioning to new places and identities, while approaching a destination that lies ahead. This time spent at sea is more than just a delaying interlude between sites of departure and arrival. What happens aboard and at sea shapes ideas, creates knowledge, and changes biographies. We want to discuss the role of transitory moments and their impact on personal transformations and identities, and especially consider the ramifications of cultural and social activities taking place onboard ships. The bigger question we ask, however, is: What – if anything – is so special about ‘transits’ and ‘transition’ in a maritime setting?
Dr Susann Liebich is a postdoctoral fellow at the Cluster Asia and Europe at Heidelberg University. Her research interests include book history and the history of reading, British imperial history, especially New Zealand and Australian history, and maritime history. She has also just completed a collaborative project on geographical imaginaries and representations of sea travel across the Pacific in Australian popular magazines between 1920 and 1940.
Daniela Egger is a researcher at the Chair for Modern History at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich and a member of the joint research project “Lives in Transit” in cooperation with the University of Zurich. In her PhD project, she is working on the perceived and felt experience of 19th century migrants traveling to the Australian colonies, thus adding emotional, interpersonal, and mental aspects to the current understanding of ‘transit’. Her research interests include the history of the British Empire, global history, the history of emotions, and maritime history.