The age of revolution in the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and South China Sea : A maritime perspective
journal contributionposted on 20.03.2014, 10:58 by Clare Anderson
This essay explores the history of empire and rebellion from a seaborne perspective, through a focus on convict-ship mutiny in the Indian Ocean. It will show that the age of revolution did not necessarily spread outward from Europe and North America into colonies and empires, but rather complex sets of interconnected phenomena circulated regionally and globally in all directions. Convict transportation and mutiny formed a circuit that connected together imperial expansion and native resistance. As unfree labour, convicts might be positioned in global histories of the Industrial Revolution. And, as mutinous or insurgent colonial subjects, they bring together the history of peasant unrest and rebellion in south Asia with piracy in south-east Asia and the Pearl River delta. A subaltern history of convict transportation in the Indian Ocean thus has much to offer for an understanding of the maritime dimensions of the age of revolution.