The View from the Sea: Oceans in World History

The View from the Sea: Oceans in World History

Summer Institute for k-12 Educators

June 26 – 28, 2017

World History courses often begin with a survey of river-basin societies, exploring the connection between agricultural surplus, irrigation projects, and centralizing power. Oceans and seas are conceived of as places in between - natural regional boundaries traversed only by merchants and military forces.

But what are the contours of a different World History – one with a view from the sea?

A focus on the ocean suggests new ways of thinking about everything from geography and culture to technology and political boundaries. Proximity to favorable prevailing winds and fisheries suddenly seems as influential as access to fresh water and arable land. Ship-building and skillful navigation challenge the prominence of building roads and canals. This focus on the places in between is also, by definition, a study of the history of global interconnectedness (and global conflict).

The 2017 Summer Institute for k-12 teachers will address maritime regions, economies, cultures, conflicts, and technologies to provide teachers with a rich exploration of the role oceans have played in World History.

Teachers from all disciplines are invited to attend this free program either as auditors (8:45 AM to 2:40 PM) or for professional development credit (8:45 AM to 4:00 PM). Space is limited to 35.


Monday, June 26

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Check in & breakfast

9:00 – 10:20 AM

What's the Catch: The Role of Fisheries in Economic Development Along Coastlines
Maren Anderson

In order to understand the role of the ocean in the development of towns and cities among coastlines, and the growth of industry and economy, it is important to understand what the associated natural resources allow for. What is a fishery? How does climate play a role in the migration of fish, and how does this affect fishing seasons, total catch, and total profit? How have fisheries been sustained through the last 500 years, and how are various nations affected by fluctuating populations due to climate change and overfishing? In this session, we will dive into the basics of oceanography and understanding life history of fish, what fisheries are and how they are managed, and how their populations impact the economy of adjacent coastlines.

10:30 AM – 11:50 PM

American Whaling in the World: The Golden Age in a Global Perspective
Jennifer Metz

American vessels dominated the global whaling industry in the late eighteenth through mid nineteenth centuries. Examining American whaling from a global perspective allows a deeper understanding of the historical implications of this powerful economy. We will highlight issues of race, class, and gender as we examine the economic and ecological implications of international whaling. We will evaluate whaling technology and the consequences of its decline through a global lens as well.

12:15 – 2:00 PM

Lunch and Latitude Lecture & Demo (@ Berkeley Marina)
Paul Kamen

2:00 – 3:30 PM

Option 1: Credit Group work session & discussion (credit group only)

Option 2: Dragon Boat Outing @Berkeley Marina (open to all participants)

Tuesday, June 27

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Check in & breakfast

9:00 – 10:20 AM

The Ancient Mediterranean: Ecology, Economy, and Society
Chris Blunda

What is the Mediterranean? What are its features? Is it a static or dynamic concept? This talk will explore the interrelationship of ecology, economy, and society in the Mediterranean basin from Archaic Greece to Late Antiquity in an effort to identify and to explain the historical Mediterranean.

10:30 – 11:50 AM

Spice, Steam, and the Modern Girl: Asian Port-Cities in a Globalising World
Su Lin Lewis

This talk explores Asian port-cities as sites of interaction between diverse cultures and as drivers of change within a globalising world, from the heyday of the spice age to the tail end of the age of steam.

11:50 AM – 12:30 PM

Lunch & discussion

1:00 – 2:30 PM

Curated Tour: Maritime Objects at the Hearst Museum (@Hearst Museum)

2:45 – 4:00 PM

Credit Group work session & discussion

Wednesday, June 28

9:00 – 9:30 AM

Check in & breakfast

9:30 – 10:50 AM

Oceans Connect. Or do they? Alan Karras

Oceans facilitate trade, to be sure, and have for centuries. But maritime commerce has historically required rules and regulations, created by states at various moments. These rules and regulations were not always obeyed, and sometimes for good reason. By exploring the roles of piracy, privateering, and trading companies across time and space, we can learn much about the ways in which the public engaged those who made rules for them. And in turn this allows us to consider the ways in which oceans, as physical barriers and connectors, changed the nature of state power itself, alternately allowing it thrive, grow, and retreat—or to use the maritime metaphor, ebb and flow.  Examples will come from the 17th/18th century Caribbean, 19th century East India Company, and perhaps even the 20th century.

11:00 AM – 12:20 PM

An Oceanic Gaze
Katherine Sammler

We will explore ways of seeing science, culture and geography from the South Pacific, offering a different perspective from the dominant continental gaze, regarding coastal resources, boundary drawing and rights in ways that blur authoritative land/sea divides.

12:20 – 1:20 PM

Lunch & discussion

1:20 – 2:40 PM

The Arctic Sea: A Tragedy of the Global Commons
Beverly Crawford

Nowhere is the evidence of a heating planet more dramatic than in the polar regions. Over the last 50 years, the Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the globe. The melting Arctic is the proverbial canary in the coal mine of planetary health and a harbinger of how the warming planet will profoundly affect global security. At stake under the threatening cloud of global warming are billions of barrels of petroleum and other minerals potentially worth trillions of dollars, and the opening of new shipping lanes. Both are triggering trade and resource competition, accelerating international tension . Indeed, the European Union recently released a report warning of "consequences for international stability" as countries scramble to stake claims in the Arctic Sea. We will discuss these problems in the Arctic Sea as "tragedies of the global commons" and examine the attempts to mitigate them.

2:40 – 4:00 PM

Credit Group work session & discussion

photocredit: Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Ocean Basics

Maritime history opens the door to interdisciplinary opportunities. Learn more about oceans in the links below.

Climate and Weather playlist

The Water Cycle from NASA

Fisheries Education Resources from NOAA

Oceanus Magazine from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Marine Activities, Resources & Education from the Lawrence Hall of Science

Maritime History

"State of the Field: Maritime History Today" by John Hattendorf

Maritime Book Reviews from H-Net

Port Cities in World History from World History Connected

Indian Ocean in World History featuring maps, images & full lessons

Maritime Technologies

History of Ships around the world (from prehistory to 19th century, with images)

Navigation Technologies from Smithsonian Institution (primarily European and American examples)

"Early Islamic Maritime Technology" by Julian Whitewright

"Vikings Navigated with Translucent Crystals?" from National Geographic

"Masters of the Atlantic" by Andrew Lipman

Polynesian Navigation from Hokule'a

THE NAVIGATORS Pathfinders Of The Pacific.mpg

Papa Mau: The Wayfinder

Natural Resources & the Sea

Commercial Fishers: Whaling from the Smithsonian Institution

Modern International Whaling Regulations from the International whaling Commission

"China's Appetite Pushes Fisheries to the Brink" from the New York Times

"Russian Action in Arctic Symbolic But Significant, Says Boalt Ocean Law Expert" from Berkeley Law

"He was supposed to protect the sea. Then he vanished from his ship" from Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting

Eric Jay Dolin, Leviathan (New York: W.W. Norton), 2008

David Igler, The Great Ocean (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2013. 

Andrew Lipman, The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast (New Haven: Yale University Press), 2015.

John Newton, A Savage History: Whaling in the Pacific and Southern Oceans (Sydney: UNSW Press), 2013.

Lisa Norling, Captain Ahab had a Wife (Chapel Hill: UNC Press), 2000. 

Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea (New York: Penguin), 2001. 

Nancy Shoemaker, Native American Whalemen and the World (Chapel Hill: UNC Press), 2015. 

Chasing Ice - There's no global warming?! (Multi Subtitles) HD