Maritime historian Phillip Reid was granted an NCIS Conference Support Grant in 2022 to enable him to attend the American Historical Association (AHA) conference in Philadelphia (7-8 January 2023). He reports that all went well, and that "we had a lively, smooth-running session Sunday morning at AHA on "Maritime Microhistory and Public History: Global Perspectives." Thanks to Prof. Robert Harms (Yale) for chairing (far right in photo); Prof. Harms works on Africa, and if you have not read his 2002 The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade (Basic Books), treat yourself. We were honored that he graciously agreed to chair our session (and have dinner with us), and he ran the kind of old-school tight-ship session that I appreciate. Adrian Shubert and Boyd Cothran (York, far left and center in photo, respectively) gave us a preview of their forthcoming book on the 1853 Indian-built East Indiaman Edwin Fox, whose career spanned the entire second half of the nineteenth century, and whose largely-intact remains are preserved at Picton, New Zealand. She carried convicts and coolies, settlers and troops, and their hopes and terrors, as she sailed through a period of  imperialist globalization. Look for their book from University of North Carolina Press in November of this year.
Julia Stryker (Texas at Austin, second from left in photo), drawing on her own experience, made a strong case for the continuing value of the huge collection of nineteenth-century British Merchant Navy crew agreements held at MUN, where she and I both studied under Neil Kennedy (thanks Neil!). Yes, there is "hard data" here, but there are also countless stories worth teasing out of the terse notations typical of official records. Julia will defend her doctoral dissertation at UT this spring, and we all wish her the best.
I gave a talk on Sultana, and focused much of it on how the replica at Chestertown is used for teaching and experiential learning. Information on my forthcoming book on this vessel's history may be found here .
Finally, thanks to those of you who attended; attendance was quite respectable, especially for an 0900 session on Sunday morning, the last day of the conference! And thanks to AHA for including our session, and from me personally, for contributing partial funding for my travel.The National Coalition of Independent Scholars covered the lion's share of my expenses through a Conference Support Grant, for which I am grateful; I was proud to represent NCIS at the conference.
I had time to attend two additional sessions while I was there: #217--Archaeoastronomy and History:Perspectives from Africa, North America, West Asia, Oceania, and Europe, on Saturday afternoon; and #254--The Revolutionary Archive: New Directions, on Sunday midday after my own session. I was also able to have dinner Saturday night with my co-panelists and our chair; the professional benefits of meeting other scholars at conferences must not be gainsaid. I'll tell anyone who'll listen that it got my first book published, straight-up.
Thank you for the support. It made this possible.

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