Maritime Hunger

Maritime Hunger: Food Insecurity and Power in the Early Modern Atlantic World is Rachel Herrmann’s second book project, and it’s in the early stages of development. In this research she examines hunger on oceans and rivers circa 1607 to 1850. She posits that if hunger created similarities among people around the Atlantic, dearth also tied people together and created conflict as they crossed water.

This work asks big questions: How were maritime discourses of hunger distinct from landed ones? How did notions about food security change over time? What happened when hungry voyagers disembarked and made contact with indigenous canoe men on the Upper Guinea Coast, in North America, and the Caribbean? How did hunger allow sailors and enslaved Africans to collaborate on the Middle Passage? And how does maritime hunger continue to challenge a narrative of powerful Europeans?

This project has won funding from the Eccles Centre for American Studies and the University of Southampton. Thinking through these questions has led to a special forum on maritime and landed frontiers, which Rachel Herrmann is co-editing with Dr. Jessica Roney (Temple University) for the William and Mary Quarterly. This forum has arisen as a result of a conference they co-organized, “On Edge: New Frontiers in Atlantic History,” at the University of Southampton in June 2016.