Lascar Seafaring Workshop

05 Apr | News, Past events,

The following workshop at Southampton University has been brought to our attention by a FIBIS member who thought others might be interested in attending:

The Global Lives and Cross-Cultural Engagements of Asian Sailors

April 14th 2011, University of Southampton

Supported through a grant by the  British Academy.

From the seventeenth century, the labour of lascars (Asian sailors working on European ships) underpinned transoceanic trade, the development and maintenance of colonial power structures, and the newly-global movement of people, materials and ideas. Lascars were among the first people to live global lives, among the first Asians to travel to and settle in Europe, to move within and produce intercolonial networks and to participate in a new international labour community. By the late nineteenth century, they were at the heart of the new urban port communities and at the forefront of maritime labour movements and politics from Europe to Australia. Yet they are remarkably underrepresented in the emerging scholarship on global histories, transnational identities and colonial and intercolonial networks to which their stories are integral. This workshop will bring together for the first time the work of the small, international group of scholars who have been researching diverse aspects of lascar seafaring, from the material worlds of eighteenth century lascars to race, gender and the politics of transnational alliance in the early twentieth century global maritime labour market.


The workshop will include  two sessions (morning and afternoon),  each with  three papers  and a discussant, and a longer keynote paper.

The  programme will begin at 10am following registration and is as follows:

Session 1 Lascar lives in the long eighteenth century

  • Ghulam Nadri (Georgia State University): Indian sailors in the service of the Dutch East India Company in the eighteenth century.
  • Iona Man-Cheong (State University of New York): ‘Asiatic ‘ Sailors & British East India Company Labor Recruitment Practices, 1803-1815.
  • Jesse Ransley (University of Southampton): The material worlds of lascars and the English East India Company.

Discussant:  Lakshmi Subramanian (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta).

Session 2 Lascar labour and identities in the nineteenth and early twentieth century

  • Valerie Burton (Maritime Studies Research Unit): Imperial Record Keeping and 19th Century Lascars: Memorial University’s Crew Agreement Collection
  • Jonathan Hyslop (University of Pretoria):   ‘Ghostlike ‘ Seafarers and Sailing Ship Nostalgia:  The Figure of the Steamship Lascar in Britain c.1880-1960.
  • Heather Goodall (University of Technology Sydney): Talking lascars: politics, gender and transnational alliances among Indian, Indonesian and Australian seafarers on the way to Bandung.

Discussant:  Gopalan Balachandran (Graduate  Institute of International Studies, Geneva)


If you wish to attend please contact  Jesse Ransley on [email protected] to register.

Day delegate rate (including lunch) is £35,  with a reduced rate of   £25 (for students and unwaged).

via Lascar Seafaring Workshop :: Archaeology, School of Humanities.