1st network meeting (2-4 Dec 2021)

Unfortunately, we had to cancel the first network meeting in its physical form at short notice due to Covid. Originally we wanted to meet at the Historical Institute of the Technical University of Braunschweig, to where Christian Kehrt had invited us .

Thankfully, Martin Thomas joined us online to speak about his work on expedition history. Originally, we had planned a screening of the film “Etched in Bone” at a cinema in Braunschweig. Martin did produce and direct the film about an Australian-US-American expedition to Arnhem Land in Australia together with Béatrice Bijon. Martin showed us parts of the movie online and shared his ideas about the history of the expedition with us.

The history of expeditions

We are a network of mainly historians who are interested in expeditions. From December 2021 to June 2023, we will meet in four workshops to share and discuss our insight about the politics, the actors, and the epistemology of expeditions during Modernity and Contemporary History. We aim to tackle several questions. Some of these are: 

How should we research and tell the story of an expedition? Where does an expedition start, and where does it end? How do politics shape expeditions? How do they change politics in turn? Who are the people who went on an expedition, and why? Which narratives about nation, empire, race, gender, or nature do they tell themselves and the public? How does the media portray these travelers and the people they met? How is nature represented? What and who do these stories written from the view of the metropole leave out? How can we bring left-out accounts and people back into the story? How is knowledge produced on an expedition? How are things collected or represented in the field? How is data processed, stored, used, or forgotten? What role does technology play? On which infrastructures do expeditions rely? And how do all these things change over time? Is there anything specific about expeditions that challenges or underpins periodizations such as Early Modern History, Modern History, High Modernity, Cold War History, or Contemporary History?

This blog will document our activities and provide material for further reading.

The network is made possible by funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG. If you have questions or comments, please contact our coordinator Eike-Christian Heine.