Call for Papers: International Relations, Capitalism and the Sea: The Historical Sociology of Oceans and Inner Seas

Historical Sociology

BISA Historical Sociology Working Group Workshop
Birkbeck College, University of London
16 September 2013

This workshop explores the ways in which capitalism as a world-economy, as a mode of production and as a historical period has shaped and been shaped by the world’s oceans and inner seas. Considering that over 90% of the world’s trade in volume is carried by ship, maritime transport constitutes a core feature of contemporary capitalism. However, the centrality of seaborne trade to the world economy is not new; nor have sea-lanes merely acted as conduits for global commerce. Rather, over the past five centuries, the earth’s oceans have acquired distinctive socio-cultural, geopolitical and environmental value, in large measure as a result of capitalist development.

At the same time, despite covering over 70% of the earth’s surface, the world’s oceans have played a secondary role in the study of international relations. The territorial bias of our…

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