Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Professor Kris Lane gives keynote address on the future of "pirate studies"

April 17th, 2020

Professor Kris Lane, France V. Scholes Chair in Colonial Latin American History at Tulane University, served as a keynote speaker at the Inaugural Piracy Studies Conference, which took place February 28th -29th at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville. Members of the international collective Grupo de Estudio Internacional “Piratería de la Edad Moderna Temprana” organized the conference in order to cultivate interdisciplinary dialogue on the intersections between maritime piracy and the history and culture of Latin America in the 15th through 19th centuries.

In his plenary address, “Of Time & Sea Bandits: Shifting Facets of Pirate Studies & New Directions,” Professor Lane explores the parameters of the burgeoning field of “pirate studies,” offering thoughts on its development and possible ways forward. This talk is available to view online (password: piratas).

Presentation Abstract
As one of the world’s oldest and most notorious professions, piracy has been an object of sustained fascination and horror across time and cultures. Always freighted with myth, sea banditry has inspired poets, bards, novelists, painters, playwrights, and filmmakers. The task of disentangling its ambivalent nature and twisted legacy has also attracted theologians, political and legal theorists, sociologists, anthropologists, literary critics, and historians. One may rightly apply the term “pirate studies” to this diverse and growing field of investigation, but what holds it together and what tensions strain its limits? What theoretical approaches to the study of piracy have risen and fallen over the years, and what new directions might we set out to explore?