Extracts of a presentation given to the TransMare plenum in December 2023

On 11th December 2023, the TransMare Institute in Trier invited its members and research project to come together. With an evening programme, the institute presented ongoing research projects, new arriving researchers, and also invited the associated PhD researchers to briefly introduce their work within five minutes. With this blogpost, I share parts of my presentation with you.


Hello everybody, thank you or giving me the opportunity to introduce my research project to you. Before I begin, I would like to add that I stammer occasionally.

The title of the presentation Kidnapped Whalers and Destroyed Taverns is based on a case study from my research. In August 1839, the two American and British ambassadors in New Zealand reported the destruction of a pub by several whaling captains and their crew. The reason for this attack were two Brazilian sailors who were being held by the owner of the pub or were hiding from the captain in order to escape the harsh conditions on board. However, as the captain did not want to give them up, they wanted to state an example of them.

Whaling ships suffered from a chronic shortage of skilled labour, which meant that the captains needed all the manpower they could get and often had a very diverse crew. Incidents such as these form an important facet of my work when it comes to reconstructing the interactions in the context of the whaling industry in the Pacific.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, whale oil was a coveted resource to light street lamps and maintain the machinery of early industrialisation. (3) During this period, Quaker family businesses in the small harbour towns of Nantucket and New Bedford in the British colony and later USA dominated this industry, sending their whaling ships first to the Atlantic and increasingly to the Pacific from the 19th century onwards. They hunted and processed whales on their multi-year transoceanic voyages and interacted with Pacific Islanders such as in Tahiti or Hawaii as well as the Maori in Aotearoa New Zealand during stopovers.

My focus is on the Bay of Islands, which became an important stopover in the early 19th century and ultimately laid the foundation for the colonisation of the country by the British with the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. I argue here that whalers in the 19th century spent decades trying to transfer to the Pacific a socio-economic system that they had already successfully established in the Atlantic with the Native Americans and slaves in the 18th century.

In my research study, I want to analyze and reconstruct, if and how Maori seamen were integrated into the same working conditions in the whaling industry. In this regard, I also want to show the balance of power in the interaction spaces at the Bay of Islands and to show the transoceanic transfer process of the whalers. In this way, I combine maritime history with settler colonial studies

Academic Twitter blogs – 2/2

Similar to last month’s post, I continue with the remaining 20 blogs, which range from discussions of academic writing to reflections on research methods and career advice. I’ve drawn on Andrea Hayward’s article the article, which she wrote in April 2018 for the “editage insights”.1 Enjoy reading the second twenty:

  1. Learning Scientists (@AceThatTest):
  • Co-founded by cognitive psychologists Dr. Megan A. Sumeracki and Dr. Yana Weinstein.
  • Focuses on the science of learning and makes research more accessible.
  • Covers effective learning and note-taking strategies.
  1. Making Physics Fun (@jesswade):
  • Managed by Dr. Jess Wade, a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London.
  • Offers resources on physics, grants, and science presentations.
  • Showcases vibrant doodles on various science topics.
  1. Nick Hopwood (@NHopUTS):
  • Nick Hopwood is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney.
  • Blogs about doctoral research, academic experiences, and social science methodology.
  • Known for an unconventional take on academic rejection.
  1. patter (@ThomsonPat):
  • Managed by Pat Thomson, Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham.
  • Covers academic writing, research education, and conferences.
  • Welcomes guest contributions and offers insights on various academic life aspects.
  1. PhD Talk (@evalantsoght):
  • Managed by Dr. Eva Lantsoght, Researcher at Delft University of Technology.
  • Focuses on PhD processes, academic skills, and structural concrete research.
  • Encourages guest contributions for academic blogging experience.
  1. PLOS ECR Community (@PLOSECR):
  • A forum for undergrads, graduate students, and post-docs to share insights.
  • Covers academic experiences and provides tips for ECRs.
  • Offers real-life experiences from the academic community.
  1. Reciprocal Space (@Stephen_Curry):
  • Managed by Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology.
  • Explores working in science, academic publishing, and open access.
  • Shares insights on academic conferences and peer review.
  1. Scientist Sees Squirrel (@StephenBHeard):
  • Managed by Dr. Stephen Heard, evolutionary ecologist.
  • Focuses on academic writing, publishing, and ecological interactions.
  • Discusses journal rejections and effective methods sections.
  1. Shut Up & Write Tuesdays (@SUWTues):
  • Virtual writing workshop for academics, organized on Twitter.
  • Aims to set aside dedicated writing time and inspire progress.
  • Provides writing tips and non-academic reads for inspiration.
  1. Surviving Science (@NatashaTracey):
  • Managed by Natasha Tracey, a PhD student studying cancer research.
  • Shares experiences as a PhD student and research tips.
  • Covers writing research papers and dealing with peer reviewer comments.
  1. The Comfort Pursuit (@silgtavares):
  • Managed by Dr. Silvia Tavares, Lecturer in Urban Design at James Cook University.
  • Covers architecture, urbanism, landscape, academic writing, and postgraduate life.
  • Shares insights on academic writing and relevant tools for researchers.
  1. The Mad Scientist Confectioner’s Club (@BioDataGanache):
  • Managed by Dr. Jason McDermott, Senior Research Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • Offers academic insights with unique doodles.
  • Covers academic publishing, research funding, and science communication.
  1. The PhD Blog (@Rob_MacIntosh):
  • Managed by Robert MacIntosh, Honorary Professor at the University of St. Andrews.
  • Covers research methodology, academic writing, and career development.
  • Provides guidance for doctoral level research, especially in management.
  1. The Research Whisperer (@researchwhisper):
  • Managed by Dr. Tseen Khoo and Jonathan O’Donnell.
  • Focuses on research in academia, finding funding, and building academic track-records.
  • Encourages reader engagement for new blogpost ideas.
  1. The Serial Mentor (@ClausWilke):
  • Managed by Claus Wilke, Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas.
  • Offers series of blog posts on scientific writing and career development.
  • Covers writing effectively, making presentations, and applying for academic jobs.
  1. The Skeptical Scientist (@Research_Tim):
  • Managed by Tim van der Zee, PhD student at Leiden University.
  • Focuses on research methodology, evidence, and improving science.
  • Covers academic job applications and interpreting statistical data.
  1. The Thesis Whisperer (@thesiswhisperer):
  • Managed by Dr. Inger Mewburn, Director of Research Training at Australian National University.
  • Aims to help research and PhD students complete their theses.
  • Offers tips on writing, coping with stress, and achieving PhD goals.
  1. WebMz (@webmz_):
  • Managed by Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam, biologist and science writer.
  • Covers women in science, speaking about failure in science, and alternative academic careers.
  • Highlights inclusivity and equity in science.
  1. Write, Publish, Thrive (@WriteNThrive):
  • Managed by Dr. Rich Furman, Professor at the University of Washington.
  • Focuses on maximizing strengths and overcoming psychosocial barriers in academia.
  • Offers practical tips for publishing scholarly articles and strengths-based coaching.
  1. Writing for Research (@Write4Research):
  • Managed by Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at LSE.
  • Provides advice for advanced research-level writing and communication.
  • Offers suggestions for writing, doing PhD work, and blogging in academia.
  1. Hayward, Aandrea (2018): 40 Must-read academic blogs for researchers and PhD students, in: editage insights, https://www.editage.com/insights/40-must-read-academic-blogs-for-researchers-and-phd-students, [Last Access: 28.4.2024] []

Academic Twitter blogs – 1/2

I am currently in a deep writing phase myself, so I regularly look for writing guidance and inspiration to develop my writing. As you can imagine, the landscape of online science communication and outreach is thriving, with researchers and academics using various platforms to share their insights and experiences. Among these platforms, academic blogs stand out as valuable sources for gaining deeper insights into researchers’ perspectives on scholarly publishing and academia. These blogs offer a wide range of content, from research-based information to personal anecdotes and opinions.

Recently, I found the following website, which compiled and summarized a few blogs that offer perspectives on academic life and scholarship. From discussions of academic writing to reflections on research methods and career advice. I drew back on the article of Andrea Haywardss, which she wrote in April 2018 for the “editage insights”. 1 Enjoy reading the first twenty:

  1. Academics Write (@academicswrite)
    • Managed by Kim Mitchell, an Instructor at Red River College.
    • Focuses on academic writing across disciplines.
    • Covers topics such as writing myths, self-efficacy, and student extensions.
  2. Athene Donald’s Blog (@AtheneDonald)
    • Managed by Athene Donald, Physics Professor at the University of Cambridge.
    • Offers opinions and perspectives on academic life.
    • Covers topics like academic conferences and gender disparity.
  3. Belcher Writing Advice (@WendyLBelcher)
    • Managed by Wendy Laura Belcher, Associate Professor at Princeton University.
    • Provides writing advice for academics and research on Africa.
    • Topics include journal article writing and managing peer-reviewed journals.
  4. Beyond the Doctorate (@FionaEWhelan)
    • Managed by Dr. Fiona Whelan, Academic Standards Officer at Queen Mary University of London.
    • Offers advice on transitioning from doctoral research to practical careers.
    • Covers challenges of post-doctoral life and alternative academic careers.
  5. Dan Cohen (@dancohen)
    • Managed by Dr. Dan Cohen, Vice Provost and Dean at Northeastern University.
    • Covers trends in library science, digital humanities, and science communication.
    • Introduces the concept of “blessay” and discusses new ideas and discoveries.
  6. Diary of Dr. Logic (@SaraLUckelman)
    • Managed by Sara L. Uckelman, Assistant Professor at Durham University.
    • Offers insights into scholarly publishing and academic life.
    • Covers teaching philosophy, work-life balance, and productivity tips.
  7. DoctoralWritingSIG (@DocwritingSIG)
    • Moderated by Dr. Claire Aitchison, Dr. Cally Guerin, and Dr. Susan Carter.
    • Forum for sharing information and resources on doctoral writing.
    • Covers grant writing, thesis/dissertation writing, and academic publishing.
  8. Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD (@raulpacheco)
    • Managed by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, Assistant Professor at CIDE.
    • Offers insights into academic writing, research, and public policy.
    • Covers topics like academic productivity, reading strategies, and public policy issues.
  9. Dr. Catherine Pope (@catherinepope)
    • Managed by Dr. Catherine Pope, freelance research and writing skills trainer.
    • Focuses on academic writing and productivity tools for researchers.
    • Provides tips on overcoming procrastination and using tools like Evernote and Zotero.
  10. Dr. Nadine Muller (@Nadine_Muller)
    • Managed by Dr. Nadine Muller, Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.
    • Provides support and resources for postgraduate and early career researchers.
    • Covers topics like academic job interviews, doctoral studies, and mental health in academia.
  11. Ellie Mackin (@EllieMackin)
    • Managed by Dr. Ellie Mackin Roberts, Teaching Fellow at the University of Leicester.
    • Offers insights into academic writing, conferences, and post-PhD life.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, job applications, and life in academia.
  12. Explorations of Style (@explorstyle)
    • Managed by Rachael Cayley, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.
    • Discusses challenges of academic writing and strategies for improvement.
    • Covers topics like writing anxiety, reverse outlining, and the writing process.
  13. Feral Librarian (@mchris4duke)
    • Managed by Dr. Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries at MIT.
    • Discusses research libraries, higher education, and scholarly publishing.
    • Covers topics like open access, social justice, and personal interests.
  14. From PhD to Life (@FromPhDtoLife)
    • Managed by Dr. Jennifer Polk, academic, life, and career coach.
    • Offers resources for transitioning from PhD to career.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, career paths, and work-life balance.
  15. From The Lab Bench (@FromTheLabBench)
    • Managed by Dr. Paige Brown Jarreau, Science Communication Specialist at LSU.
    • Discusses science communication, blogging, and social media.
    • Covers topics like science blogging, social media advice, and science journalism.
  16. Get a Life, PhD (@tanyaboza)
    • Managed by Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology at UC Merced.
    • Offers advice on balancing academic and personal life.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, publishing, and work-life balance.
  17. Green Tea and Velociraptors (@Protohedgehog)
    • Managed by Dr. Jon Tennant, Founder of Open Science MOOC.
    • Discusses research interests, peer review, and open science.
    • Covers topics like peer review, open access, and science communication.
  18. Helen Kara (@DrHelenKara)
    • Managed by Dr. Helen Kara, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
    • Offers insights into research methods, academic writing, and ethics.
    • Covers topics like academic writing productivity and research ethics.
  19. James Hayton, Phd (@jameshaytonphd)
    • Managed by Dr. James Hayton, PhD coach and former physicist.
    • Provides advice on PhD research and writing.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, thesis topics, and PhD survival.
  20. Jo Van Every (@JoVanEvery)
    • Managed by Dr. Jo Van Every, academic career guide.
    • Offers advice on academic writing and decision-making.
    • Covers topics like writing skills, publishing, and work-life balance.

These blogs offer valuable insights and resources for researchers at all stages of their academic journey, making them indispensable sources for anyone interested in scholarly publishing and academia.

  1. Hayward, Aandrea (2018): 40 Must-read academic blogs for researchers and PhD students, in: editage insights, https://www.editage.com/insights/40-must-read-academic-blogs-for-researchers-and-phd-students, [Last Access: 28.4.2024] []

The Hawaiian Islands and the whaling industry

I would like to put your attention on the following article of Amy Jenness about the connection and importance of the Hawaiian Islands for Nantucket’s whaling industry. She wrote the article in 2016 in the “Yesterday’s Island, Today’s Nantucket”1 and I will briefly summarize the text.

The history of the Hawaiian Islands is deeply intertwined with the rise of the whaling industry in the 1820s.

The arrival of whalers Edmund Gardner and Elisha Folger in 1819 heralded a new chapter in Hawaii’s maritime heritage. Soon ports such as Honolulu, Lahaina and Hilo were buzzing with activity as whaling ships from Nantucket and beyond made their presence felt. Initially venturing into the Pacific Ocean in search of sperm whales, these ships found a welcome haven in the Hawaiian Islands, thanks to treaties with local monarchs such as King Kamehameha.

The following years saw a surge in maritime activity, with traders establishing routes to Canton, China, and thriving on the lucrative trade in Hawaiian sandalwood. However, it was the emergence of the whaling industry that would shape Hawaii’s history and become its economic backbone for the next two decades. Local communities thrived on the influx of sailors, supplying ships and providing essential services to the burgeoning maritime trade. Honolulu, in particular, underwent a rapid transformation with the installation of water mains and the establishment of businesses to cater for the needs of the whalers.

But this period of prosperity was not without its challenges. The clash of cultures led to conflict and tension as Western influences clashed with traditional Hawaiian ways. Disease ravaged the native population, while missionaries tried to impose their beliefs, leading to social upheaval and unrest.

Among the prominent figures of this era was Nantucket captain Valentine Starbuck, whose exploits aboard the English whaleship L’Aigle would become the stuff of legend. Starbuck’s encounters with King Kamehameha not only forged a bond between two distant worlds, but also hinted at the tantalising prospect of Hawaii’s allegiance to the British crown.

  1. Jenness, Amy (2016): An important stop for Nantucket whalers – Hawaii”, in: Yesterday’s Island, Today’s Nantucket, https://yesterdaysisland.com/important-stop-nantucket-whalers/, [Last Access: 30.3.2024]. []

NHA YT Channel: “Real Nantucket History”

The Youtube channel of the Nantucket Historical Association provided parts of its virtual exhibition from 2019. One clip, which I would like to recommend watching is the brief recollection of Nantucket during the American Revolution and its impact on the Island, the whaling industry and the Quaker Community in manifold ways with a distinct focus on the Rotch family.1 The nine short episodes had been produced by Ian Opaluch.

  1. Opaluch, Ian (2019): Real Nantucket History: The American Revolution, in: Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cECaaGTmXg, [Last Access: 21.2.2024]. []
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