Biennial Whaling History Symposium - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Biennial Whaling History Symposium

Gaps in Analysis and New Perspectives on Whaling, World Cultures, and Contemporary Issues.

Biennial Whaling History Symposium

Gaps in Analysis and New Perspectives on Whaling, World Cultures, and Contemporary Issues

April 27–28, 2019

Members $85 | Non-members $95  |  Students (with ID) $65

Whaling history, particularly American whaling history, has largely proceeded along familiar pathways including voyage events, technology, genealogy, race and gender, social history, and the arts.

The groundbreaking book by James A. Estes, et al., Whales Whaling and Ocean Ecosystems (Los Angeles, 2006) examined the effects of whaling on ocean ecosystems through the rigorous processes of the hard sciences with 31 chapters devoted to the ecological impact of whaling and its contemporary ramifications. Likewise, the Whaling and History Symposium hosted periodically by the Kommandør Chr. Christensens Hvalfangstmuseum in Sandefjord, Norway provided a rich variety of historical perspectives and published the proceedings in handsome hardbound formats.

man in crows nest

The annual Whaling History Symposium held at the Kendall Whaling Museum and later at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, also took a broad-based look at multiple aspects of world whaling history although the proceedings were never published.

The 2019 Biennial Whaling History Symposium had similar goals to these cross-disciplinary formats, presenting broad-ranging, but highly focused scholarly insights, addressing important, but often overlooked, historical perspectives, and producing a publication. Download the Symposium Schedule PDF or view the schedule to the right.

Caption: Anonymous. [There she blows!], wood engraving. In J. Ross Browne, Etchings of a Whaling Cruise. New York: Harper & Bros., 1846. 


Saturday, April 27

8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. | REGISTRATION AND COFFEE

9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Welcome: Michael P. Dyer, New Bedford Whaling Museum

Keynote presentation: Michael Moore, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; “Food for Thought: How we all Kill Whales”

10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Bathsheba Demuth, Brown University; “The Ethical Lives of Whales: Bowhead Hunts and Adaptations in the Bering Strait, 1848-1968”

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Haureh Hussein, Trier University, Germany; “Quaker Whaling Families and their Connections in the Pacific, 1790-1840”

12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

A) Richard Donnelly, Independent Scholar and Marine Arts Specialist; “A Whaling Collector’s Eye”

B) Judith Lund and David Caldwell, New Bedford Whaling Museum; “Connecting All Things Whaling:”

C) Jordan Goffin, Providence Public Library; “The Whaling Collections of the Providence Public Library”

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | LUNCH

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Bradley W. Barr, NOAA/Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Maritime Heritage Program; “The Inconvenient, Forgotten, and Uninherited Whaling Heritage Landscape of Iceland”

2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Anthony B. Dickinson, Memorial University of Newfoundland – St. John’s Campus, Canada; “Modern Industrial Whaling in North America: The Newfoundland and Labrador Experience”

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | BREAK

4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Barbara L. Coffey, Princeton University; “The Booms and Busts of the Whaling industry: Financial Review of a Century of Whaling Voyages”

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
Paul Medeiros, Boston College; “Makeshifts & Bustles: Observing Whaling with Dana and Thoreau”

5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. | RECEPTION

Dinner on your own

Sunday, April 28

8:30 a.m. | COFFEE

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Susan Lebo, State Historic Preservation Division, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Kapolei, Hawaii; “Sailing Under Hawaiian and Foreign Flags: Emergence of Honolulu’s Whaling Fleet in the 1850s”

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

A) Timothy Walker, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Caroline Ummenhofer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; “Assessing Historic Changes in Climate in the Indian Ocean Using American Whaling Logbooks and other New England Maritime Archival Sources, Circa 1785-1910”

B) Eric Dawicki, Northeast Maritime Institute; documentary film “The Ocean Knows No Borders”

10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Daniel Quiroz, University of Chile; “The Yanqui Influence on the Development of Whaling in Chile (1830-1930): Pelagic & Shore Operations”

11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | CLOSING
Michael P. Dyer, New Bedford Whaling Museum