Emeritus Professor Nigel Worden, University of Cape Town

Monday 23–Friday 27 January

11.15 am


In recent years historians have given greater attention to 71% of the Earth’s surface that is often neglected: the oceans. This course examines the new field of ‘oceanic history’. It moves beyond traditional accounts of shipbuilding technologies and individual feats of maritime exploration and instead probes the ways in which the sea has affected wider human histories between ancient times and the recent past. Why did people, material objects and ideas travel across the sea and what impact did these journeys make? How did the experience of seafaring affect people? Did oceans divide or connect societies located on their shores? Did they create new societies? Each lecture will explore such issues in relation to a specific maritime region. Where appropriate, special attention will be given to oceanic influences on our own city and continent.

Lecture titles

1. History and the sea: the Mediterranean

2. Maritime lakes: the Black, Baltic and North Seas

3. Making an Atlantic world

4. Africa and the Indian Ocean world

5. The Great Ocean: the Pacific and the China Seas