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Johanna Beamish publishes dissertation

Aug 16, 2018

Cluster associate member Dr. Johanna Beamish published her dissertation Im Transit auf dem Ozean – Schiffszeitungen als Dokumente globaler Verbindungen im 19. Jahrhundert with Campus in August. The book analyses the transit experience of passengers aboard intercontinental vessels by examining newspapers written and edited aboard ship.

Im Transit auf dem Ozean, published with Campus, follows intercontinental passages of the 19th century from the moment of embarking until the final arrival at the destination port.  By focusing on passages through the British Empire, the study analyses how these voyages ‘towards the other end of the world’ were experienced and described by the passengers themselves. To do so, Johanna Beamish draws upon source material that has virtually been overseen by global historians so far: the newspapers that were written and edited by the passengers themselves, while in total isolation aboard the ship.

This source material allows us a glimpse into the social microcosm of the vessels themselves, while at the same time reflecting the experience of the passengers of being in transit: Shipboard periodicals not only deal with everyday issues aboard the ship, but simultaneously reflect on the place of departure and mirror the expectations for the place of arrival. The passengers compiling the amateur newspapers do no longer belong to their place of departure, but have not yet reached their place of arrival; they are in a state of limbo. Accordingly, these historical actors were caught between the worlds and formed global connections through their very own movement across the globe, while at the same time meticulously chronicle their very own global transit experiences.

Dr. Johanna Beamish was a member of the Cluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context and conducted her Phd project "Experiencing transit in a globalizing world: Shipboard periodicals aboard intercontinental vessels in the 19th century" within the research group MC12 Floating Spaces: Ships as Floating Transcultural Spaces. She defended her Phd in November 2016 and has been working for the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad since January 2015.


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