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The Sea brings together a group of noted contributors to evaluate the different ways in which seas have served as subjects in historiography and asks how this has changed—and will change—the way history is written. The essays in this volume provide exemplary demonstrations of how a sea-based history-writing that focuses on connectivity, networks, and individuals describes the horizons and the potential of thalassography—the study of the world made by individuals embedded in networks of motion. As Peter N. Miller contends in his introduction, writing about the sea, today, is a way of partaking in the wider historiographical shift toward microhistory; exchange relations; networks; and, above all, materiality, both literally and figuratively. The Sea focuses not on questions of discipline and professionalization as much as on the practice of scholarship: the writing, and therefore the planning and organizing, of histories of the sea.
"No one has written such a book, and the book's raison d'être is wholly warranted. The essays together are intriguing. They make important points—collectively a very important historiographical point—and they highlight for scholars the importance of such work and its potential for extension."
—David Hancock, University of Michigan
"Wide-ranging, well-written, it fills in the historiographical background, summarizes the problems and possibilities. This is an exciting project."
—Peter Burke, Emmanuel College of the University of Cambridge