Black Sea History, 19th Century: Research and Writing

Friday, March 24, 2017
4:00pm - 6:00pm
707 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join the Black Sea Networks Initiative and the Harriman Institute for a talk with Gelina Harlaftis, Professor of Maritime History, Ionian University.

How does one write the history of a sea? The Black Sea regions share a political economy, trade, shipping, finance, industry, and cultures, linked together by land and sea-routes. During the nineteenth century, the area became the world's largest grain and oil producer. From the last third of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century, more than 24 port-cities sprang up on the coastline. These port-cities became centers of attraction for economic immigration from the whole region of central and south-eastern Europe, while more established mobile, entrepreneurial groups like Greeks, Jews, and Armenians took charge of external trade and shipping.

Maritime history is unusual in placing the sea, its ports and its entrepreneurs at the centre of analysis, looking beyond national borders. Based on two research projects that ran from 2007 to 2015 at Ionian University in Corfu, Harlaftis present the maritime history methodology that was used to research and write the Black Sea history. Some of the results will be presented, drawing on Eastern and Western European archives and academic networks with 20 universities and research centers from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey.

Gelina Harlaftis graduated from the University of Athens and completed her graduate studies at the Universities of Cambridge (M.Phil.) and Oxford (D.Phil.). She was President of the International Maritime Economic History Αssociation (2004-2008) and visiting Fellow at universities in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. She has led numerous research projects, the most recent being “The Black Sea and its port-cities, 1774-1914. Development, convergence and linkages with the global economy” within the operational programme "Thalis", co-financed by the European Union and the Greek Ministry of Education from 2012-2015 ( Her most recent books are Merchant ‘Colonies’ in the Early Modern Period (15th – 18th Centuries) (Chatto & Pickering 2012), with Viktor Zakharov and Olga Katsiardi-Hering,  World’s Key Industry with Jesus Valdaliso and Stig Tenold (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2012), Greek Shipping History, 1700-1821 with Katerina Papakonstantinou (Kedros, Athens, 2013, in Greek) and Greeks in the Azov, 18th-beginning of 20th century. New approaches in the history of the Greeks in South Russia with Evrydiki Sifneos, (National Research Foundation, Athens 2015).