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DHC Lecture mit Josiah Blackmore

May 19, 2014 | 06:00 PM c.t.
Josiah Blackmore
Josiah Blackmore

Josiah Blackmore
(Harvard University)

A Portuguese History of Water: The Maritime Imagination in Medieval and Early Modern Literature

The lecture will be held in English.

This talk explores the sea as a principle of literary creation in medieval and early modern Portugal. It asks how the ocean and seafaring shape poetic and historiographic thought, and how the decades of maritime expansion (especially in the sixteenth century) create a collective, literary subjectivity based on the sea. In effect, the talk ponders the relationship between maritime experience and literary culture, and discovers affinities between textual genres and imaginative and scientific writings. The chronological range covered in the talk spans the thirteenth to the late sixteenth centuries.

Workshop for graduate and postgraduate students directed by the guest speaker

The day after the lecture, a workshop directed by the guest speaker will take place in which graduate and postgraduate students may participate after signing up.

Oceanic Portugal and the Maritime Subject

The workshop will be held in English.

The workshop will consider a range of texts, ranging from the 13th through the 16th centuries, in which oceanic travel (both real and imagined) constitutes what we can provisionally call a “maritime subject”. Poetry, chronicles, ships’ logs, and geographical treatises all work to create a position of literary creativity that depends on the literal and metaphorical environments of the sea.  It is hoped that, in the workshop, new affinities between traditionally discrete genres of writing and thinking will be discovered, affinities made possible by the oceanic imagination.
Please email a short statement of interest until May 16 to The number of participants is limited.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
2:00 c.t. - 4:00 pm

Freie Universität Berlin
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Room JK 28/208
14195 Berlin-Dahlem

Attending the lecture the day prior to the workshop is mandatory as regards the participation in the workshop. All registered participants will receive the texts to be discussed a few days prior to the workshop.


This lecture is part of the Global Humanities Distinguished Lecture Series within the Thematic Network ‘Principles of Cultural Dynamics’. The PCD network is based at the Dahlem Humanities Center of Freie Universität Berlin and brings together international scholars from six partner institutions: Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and Freie Universität Berlin.

Apart from formats like mobility initiatives, summer schools and workshops, the Global Humanities Distinguished Lecture Series pertains to the PCD network’s program. Under the umbrella of this lecture series, leading scholars from the humanities discuss various aspects of cultural processes, changes and innovations throughout all historical eras.

Zeit & Ort

May 19, 2014 | 06:00 PM c.t.

Freie Universität Berlin „Rostlaube“, Seminarzentrum, Raum L 116, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem