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Placing Joseph Banks in the North Pacific

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The South Pacific was a fulcrum of Joseph Banks's maritime world and global networks. The North Pacific was a distance and intangible fringe. This article is concerned with how Banks should be ‘placed’ in the North Pacific. It tracks how Banks's activities have been delineated in terms of languages and categories of global and local, and centre and margin, and then considers the historical and geographical specifics apposite to his connection to the North Pacific. In this setting, ideas of place (as location and assignment) and capital (as a circulatory and everyday practice of exchange and opportunism) come into view and question the distinction between science and commerce in Banks historiography. The article considers a diverse group of non-Indigenous figures – explorers, traders, cartographers, scientists, collectors – operating in the North Pacific in the 1780s and 1790s whose initiatives and missives passed across Banks's desk, and assesses their place in Banks's archive by drawing on Peter Sloterdijk's ideas about the interiorising and exteriorising logic of capital.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal for Maritime Research
Early online date9 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Joseph Banks, North Pacific, Capital, Centres of calculation

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