Lessons Learned from the AHA's Bridging Cultures Program, Part 2: Transnational Voyages and Voyagers in Nineteenth-Century Oceania and Southeast Asia

AHA Session 181
Sunday, January 4, 2015: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Nassau Suite A (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
William Deverell, University of Southern California

Session Abstract

Building on archival research made possible through the National Endowments for the Humanities (NEH) and American Historical Association’s (AHA)“Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges: American History, Atlantic and Pacific” three-year initiative, this panel will highlight four groups of transnational travelers exploring the Pacific during the nineteenth century:  Japanese female immigrants, American missionary children, hybrid peranakan Chinese, and British female adventurers.  Influenced by recent scholarship on Oceania and the Pacific World, such as David Igler’s The Great Ocean (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Matt K. Matsuda’s Pacific Worlds:  A History of Seas, Peoples, and Cultures (Cambridge, 2012), the panelists will explore the cultural, racial, economic, and ecological experiences of nontraditional maritime travelers within the nineteenth-century Pacific World. As historians of Atlantic history have long argued that points of local contact often reverberate around the world, the stories of these men, women and children will be examined through multimedia presentations and assessed for their wider influence on the nineteenth-century world. By juxtaposing their experiences throughout the Pacific with the societies they encountered, presenters will elaborate on the ways in which multiple racial and cultural ideologies and practices were transmitted and shared, as well as the impact such encounters had.  The panelists will demonstrate that nineteenth-century women, Chinese peranakans, and children travelers, despite their small numbers, had disproportionate influence upon the cultures and environments they encountered.