Day 1: Keynote by Alex Drace-Francis (University of Amsterdam)

Only 24 hours left before we go in medias res and start off the conference “Knowledge Exchange. Europe and the Black Sea Region, ca. 1750-1850” with a keynote by Alex Drace-Francis on “A sea of information: networks and routes of knowledge and power, c. 1700-1850”. Alex Drace Francis is Associate Professor for Literary and Cultural History of Modern Europe at University of Amsterdam.
“In European and world history, the period 1700-1850 has been seen as a period of enlightened discovery and dissemination of knowledge; but also as one in which knowledge systems facilitated and perpetuated unequal and divisive systems of imperial control. Few of these interpretations take serious account of the changing power relations and systems of knowledge production in the Black Sea region. The history of knowledge about this region can be interpreted in several ways: as a contested frontier between empires (principally Ottoman and Russian), as a site of Western (British, French, but also Habsburg) imperial intervention; but also as a place where innovation took place through the initiative of local populations. In this lecture Dr. Drace-Francis will seek to compare a series of cases of knowledge diffusion in, to and from the Black Sea region, relating them to existing theories of imperialism and knowledge in the modern period.”