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Symposium "Being in Transit"

Apr 02, 2013

PD Dr. Roland Wenzlhuemer organised an international symposium on "Being in Transit - Shipboard Travel and its Role in Nineteenth-Century Globalization". It was held from April 4th to 6th at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH).

The conference focused on the role of intercontinental ship passages in globalisation processes. The participants examined the phenomenon of transit and transition with regard to its sociocultural meaning. The time period encompasses the late nineteenth to early twentieth century.

The symposium began on April 4 at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg. The first day closed with a public keynote lecture by Gopalan Balachandran (Geneva) from 5 to 6.30 pm. The Professor of International History spoke about "Sites, Transits, Tran-Sites, Portals: Ideological Imaginaries and Social Geographies of Mobility". The participants further discussed topics such as a Historiography of the Sea, Ship Passages as Formative Phases, or the Ship as a Historical Arena.

The symposium was mainly funded by the Hengstberger Prize 2012, that was awarded to Roland Wenzlhuemer. The prize is enabling outstanding young scholars to organise international conferences at Heidelberg University.

The historian PD Dr. Roland Wenzlhuemer is principal investigator of the Cluster "Asia and Europe" where he also coordinates research projects B9 "Information Flows" and B17 "The Nation State & Beyond". In his habilitation thesis, he analysed the "Transforming Global Spaces: The Telegraph, Communication and Globalization in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century". In 2012, he has been awarded a Heisenberg Fellowship by the German Research Foundation that enables him to start a new research project on ship passages in the nineteenth century.


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  • The Clipper 'Grassendale' at sea, Hong Kong School 19th century (source: wikimedia commons)