ISSN: 2038-0925

“Working Lives Between the Deck and the Dock: Comparative Perspectives on Sailors as International Labourers (16th – 18th century)”


Comparative Perspectives on Sailors as International Labourers

(16th-18th Centuries) –

University of Exeter, 10-12 September 2013


The conference will examine the early modern maritime sector as the first truly international (and indeed

global) labour market, exploring the economic, legal, and social dimensions of employment at sea during a

period of profound expansion and transformation in European maritime activity.

Conceived as an essential part of the ERC-funded project Sailing into Modernity: comparative perspectives

on the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European economic transition, the conference shall present the

preliminary findings of our research whilst, at the same time, will go beyond the Mediterranean-centred

scope of the project by opening up the discussion to the rest of the globe.

Our sessions, featuring both established academics and early career scholars, will discuss: Sailors between

Law and Politics, Government Legislation and Labour Markets, Northerners in theMediterranean, Maritime

Hubs, Specialist Sectors in Maritime Labour, European Sailors beyondEurope.

The plenary lecture will be delivered by Richard W. Unger (UniversityofBritish Columbia).

Speakers include

Andrea Addobbati (Università di Pisa), Amélia Polónia (Universidade do Porto), Carla Rahn-Philips

(UniversityofMinnesota), Jelle van Lottum (UniversityofBirmingham) and Matthias van Rossum

(Universiteit Leiden).

Working lives between the deck and the dock: comparative perspectives onsailors as international labourers (16th-18th centuries)

To be held at theInstituteofAraband Islamic Center,ExeterUniversity

Day 1 – Tuesday 10 September


18 Plenary Lecture:

Richard Unger – Trades, Ports and Ships: the Roots of Differences in Sailor’s Lives



Day 2 – Wednesday 11 September

9-10.45: The Frame: Sailors between Law and Politics

Maria Fusaro – Administering Justice to Sailors: Political Economy and Political

Expediency in Early Modern Venice

Richard Blakemore – The Contested Court: Debate, Practice and Participation in the

Seventeenth-Century High Court of Admiralty

Carla Rahn Phillips – Mariners in the Spanish context: Diverse in nationality, legal and

social status, and wage structure


10-45-11.15 COFFEE

11.15-13 The Frame: Government Legislation and Labour Markets

Mauro Bondioli – Ships and Seamen in the Policy Strategies of Mercantile Protectionism

of the Venetian Government between Defense and Private Business Initiative

Bernard Allaire – The Evolution of Sailors’ Maritime Legislation in 16th-17th Century


Jelle van Lottum, Catherine Sumall and Aske Brock – The Early Modern European

Labour Market Revisited: a Comparative Micro Perspective on Maritime Work in

Northern and Southern Europe in the long Eighteenth Century

13-14.30 LUNCH

14.30-16.15 Experiences: Northerners in the Mediterranean

Magnus Ressel – Hanseatics in the Mediterranean: Payment, Hierarchy and Nationality

in German long-distance Shipping (1630-1700)

Tijl Vanneste – Sailing through the Straits: Seamen’s Professional Trajectories from a

Segmented Labour Market in Holland into a fragmented Mediterranean

Danilo Pedemonte – Deserters, Mutineers and Rebels: British Seamen and Problems of

Port Jurisdiction at Genoa and Livorno between 1713 and 1783


16.15-17:15 COFFEE

16.15-18.00 Experiences: Three Maritime Hubs

Joan Abela – Sailors Legal Rights in a Mediterranean hub: the case of Malta

Andrea Addobbati – Sailors and Captains in the port of Livorno (XVII-XVIII Centuries)

Po-Ching Yu – Chinese Seamen’s Life in London in the Early 19th Century

19 CONFERENCE DINNER – Reed Woodbridge Suite Reed Hall,UniversityofExeter

Day 3 – Thursday 12 September

9-10.45 Comparisons: Specialist Sectors in Maritime Labour

Colin Greenstreet & Philip Hnakovich – “Each according to his office”: Risk, Rank, and

Labour in English Whaling Enterprise at Spitsbergen, 1656-7

Olivier Lopez – Coral fishermen in Barbary in the 18th century: Between Norms and


Tim Beattie – Dividing the Spoils: Research into the Pay-book and other Documents

relating to the Privateering Voyage of the ‘Duke and Duchess’

10.45-11.15 COFFEE

11.15-12.00 Comparisons: European Sailors Beyond Europe

Amélia Polonia – Portuguese Seafarers: Informal Agents of Empire Building

Susan Schopp – Social and Economic Characteristics of eighteenth-century French

Seamen in the China Trade

Matthias van Rossum – Managing a Global Labour Force: European and Asian Sailors

working for the Dutch East India Company (1600-1800)


12-13.30 LUNCH


14.15-14.45 COFFEE and end of conference.

For further information visit:


Telephone: 01392 724237

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