Seminar ‘Always watching for distant sails’? New England Women and the Sea, 1790-1890

Subject Fields: American History / Studies, Maritime History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Women’s & Gender History / Studies

Date and Time: 18 May 2021 | 5.15pm – 6.30pm– UK

In 1896, American author Sarah Orne Jewett observed that, in a small village on the Maine coast, the men and women alike had ‘a far-off look that sought the horizon…always watching for distant sails.’ As Jewett made clear, boys and girls learnt their ‘far-off look’ from different vantage points: boys from the decks of ships, girls from the rocky shores. Everyone knew that only men went to sea.

Seafaring has indeed been one of the most sex-segregated of all types of work for centuries, and maritime history has most often followed men to sea. But, to fully understand maritime worlds of the past, we must look beyond just what happened on boats and ships. Sailors and fishermen who plied the oceans depended on women performing overlooked yet essential labour, both unpaid and paid, on land. In this free online talk, Dr Lisa Norling will explore the history of New England shipping, fishing and whaling from the vantage point of women ashore, from Maine and Massachusetts to coasts frequented by American ships on the other side of the world.

How were New England families, communities and local economies held together by women during the 1800s? Why is it so important to study their lives? Was the gendered divide between land and sea as clear-cut as popular culture, literary canon and much historical writing has suggested?

This event is free and open to everyone, and will take place via Zoom. You can join the event via our webpage.

There is no need to book; please click on the button below shortly before 5.15pm on the day.

Join the event

Contact Info: Lucy Dale

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Invitation Roundtable Series Women and Empire: Indigeneity

Harvard Graduate Conference on International History

March 27, 2-4PM Eastern Time

Please join the Con-IH 2021 Coordinating Committee for our Spring 2021 virtual roundtable series on Gender and Empire. Please see more information below on our next roundtable, Indigeneity, taking place March 27, 2-4PM Eastern.

Shannon Pōmaikaʻi Hennessey (University of Hawai’i at Mānoa), “When Loving You Meant Loving America: Interracial Sex, Marriage, Family, and Hawaiʻi’s Statehood

Alison Russell (UM Amherst), “The Posterity of Cherokee Women”: Exploring Cherokee Women’s Place in the Constitution of 1827”

Michael Kirkpatrick Miller (Cornell), “Religion and Masculinity in Maluku”  

Commentators: Dr. Maile Arvin (University of Utah), PhD/JD Student Sarah Sadlier (Harvard), and Dr. Veronika Kusumaryati(Georgetown)

Register in advance for Panel 4:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.Contact Info: 

Catey Boyle, PhD Candidate in History, Harvard University

Co-facilitator, Harvard Graduate Student Conference in International History (Con IH): Gender and Empire, Spring 2021Contact Email: cfboyle@g.harvard.eduURL:

Seeking panelists for AHA 2022: “Slavery and Sexual Economies in the Atlantic World”

 From H-Atlantic, March 1, 2021

We are seeking to put a panel together for the 2022 AHA on the sexual economy of slavery in the Atlantic World (broadly construed) from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Currently, one paper will analyze sex and plantation management in nineteenth-century Martinique and another will examine the urban sexual economy and enslaved prostitution in nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro. To complete the panel, we are looking for two more papers that explore sex, slavery, and the economy from any region in the North or South Atlantic. We are also seeking a scholar who would be interested in serving as panel chair and commentator. 

If interested, please send a paper title and short (300 word) abstract by March 1, 2021 to Deirdre Lyons at 

Contact Email: