How everything began – and how it continues

Thank you very much for visiting this research blog. Let me give you a short introduction of the function of this website. I understand and consider the content, which I share here with you, as an extended, digitized version of my academic research journal.

In April 2017, when I returned from my Erasmus exchange semester at the KU Leuven in Belgium to Trier University to finish the M.A. degree in History, I had forged a thriving fascination for maritime history related topics. With several (very vague) ideas in mind, I began to talk with several lecturers and eventually found in Ursula Lehmkuhl and Eva Bischoff two encouraging and inspiring supervisors.

One of the most helpful academic practices Eva Bischoff taught (and later also Lynette Russell reminded) me was to trace my thoughts, ideas and process in a research journal. The more I read, researched, structured, changed and wrote the chapters of my M.A. thesis, the more I realized the advantages of journaling, in particular for long-termed projects such as a dissertation project later on.

Private Picture – 20.8.2021

Such a reconstruction and historical tracing method of the own work is crucial and helpful in several ways. It avoids losing the overview, it keeps your motivation – oh yes, even the most interesting topics can (and surely will) frustrate you – and it orientates you in your own process. Research Journaling helps you also to tackle the following questions too:

  • Where do I stay?
  • Which parts have I done successfully already?
  • Which steps are in front of me?
  • Which questions and tasks are urgent right now?

At this point, there is no right or wrong, there are no perfect lines, sentences or thoughts to be deleted.

Tracing the own thoughts can guide you through the wideness of a dissertation project and can (sometimes automatically) rise new questions and thoughts, which can be then discussed and mentioned outside the own research journal.

Having said this, I look forward to come in touch with you.

Transoceanic Voyages

Throughout the 19th century, whale oil was a natural resource that was in high demand as both a lubricant and a means of illumination for the growing cities of the Atlantic World. One can even say: It fuelled the Industrial Revolution in this period. After having exhausted whale populations in the Atlantic, whaling ships from both London and New England ports ventured from the 1790s onwards into the Pacific.

Such transoceanic whaling voyages, which could last up to four years, required regular stops for provisions and supplies at ports and islands. During their stopovers, members of whaling ships came in touch with local communities, traded not only guns and goods, but also employed Indigenous peoples on various islands in the Pacific Ocean. As such, these transoceanic whaling voyages put “thousands of people from around the world on the move”1 and “provided mobility and travel, which facilitated a kind of freedom that was not [always] present on land”2. The whaling ventures departed from Atlantic ports followed the whale migration patterns as far as the Pacific in order to fulfil “the [growing] demands of a vast network of consumers”3 for its oil.

My dissertation project shows on the example of the Swain and Starbuck families how Quaker whalers constituted an interaction space with Native American, African and African American individuals already in the Atlantic. Having these backgrounds in mind, I argue that these families had already formed a specific interaction space in the Atlantic, when they reached the Pacific from 1790 onwards. I aim to reconstruct these multiple socioeconomic relationships of these global interactions between whalers and Māori Iwi between 1790 and 1840.

This research blog shall give my dissertation project a (digital) audience and allow me to discuss specific topics and aspects, to introduce research details, key publications, and accompany me in the academic journey on a regular base.

  1. Wanhalla, Angela (2013): Matters of the Heart. A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand. Auckland: Auckland University Press, p. 7 []
  2. Russell, Lynette (2012): Roving Mariners. Australian aboriginal whalers and sealers in the southern oceans, 1790-1870. New York: State University of New York Press, p. 97 []
  3. Shoemaker, Nancy (2014): Living with whales. Documents and oral histories of Native New England whaling history. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, p. 4 []
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search