Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Seminar Series - Watson Hall 517 - 11:30 a.m.

Videos of past lectures are available on the History Department’s dedicated YouTube channel, History Talks: Queen’s University. Twenty-five videos and growing.

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Fall 2016

September 29, 2016
Sebouh Aslanian (University of California at Los Angeles)

 “The Final Voyage of the Santa Catharina: Notes towards a Global Microhistory of Trade and Politics in the Indian Ocean.”

My talk seeks to shed light on the history of early modern globalization in the Indian Ocean arena by using the optic provided by the Santa Catharina and its rich cargo of letters and documents. The ship’s return voyage across an important maritime corridor in the Indian Ocean was in one sense routine, one iteration of many such journeys that sustained maritime globality at a time when land links remained slow, risky, or underdeveloped. At the same time, the interruption of the voyage, the Admiralty trial, and the precious cargo of documents it contained are far from routine: they contain valuable and heretofore unused information on the process of global integration in the Indian Ocean forged by the interaction and encounters between the European chartered Companies, Asian states, and both diasporic and local merchants like the ones traveling on the Santa Catharina. The presentation will explore the large-scale and long-term processes contributing to the globalization of the Indian Ocean world by unpacking some of the stories of the individuals and cargo on board the Santa Catharina and reconstructing the “miniature globe” that was the ship from the documentary “relics” it has left behind in numerous archives across Europe, Asia, and North America. 


October 27, 2016
Nicholas Cronk (Oxford University)

“Voltaire and the Radical Enlightenment.”

Voltaire’s place in the Enlightenment is oddly ambiguous. Acclaimed a hero by the French Revolution, Voltaire was a radical figure for the nineteenth century, the epitome of anticlericalism for the Third Republic. In recent decades, however, it is increasingly Diderot and Rousseau who have come to seem the more radical figures, and Jonathan Israel has now banished Voltaire to the camp of ‘moderates’. How might we reassess Voltaire’s reputation?

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November 17, 2016
Duncan McDowall (Queen’s University)

"Writing about Queen's: an Historian Ponders the Emergence of a Multiversity."