'Outfitting the country boats as gunboats:' The role of technological interchange in the pre-industrial British Empire
My research explores the impact of locally-developed technologies on the day-to-day administration of the British Empire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with a specific focus on boats used to cross littoral zones, both from ship to shore, and inland on rivers. I am using comparative case studies to illustrate the essential role local boats--and the local expert boatmen and builders--played in the global success of the British empire-building project. These case studies include the use of djermes on the Nile during Napoleon's 1798-1802 Egyptian campaign; masula surfboats at Madras (modern Chennai); sampans in the Pearl River delta; and Kru canoes on the West Coast of Africa. The project further highlights the importance of littoral spaces and the technological adaptations that allowed people to live in and cross through them in a period of intensifying cross-cultural contact.
I graduated summa cum laude with a BA in history and anthropology from the University of Rhode Island in 2014, and as a Marshall scholar obtained an MA in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton (2016) and an MA in European History from University College London (2017). I am a member of the Oceangate Titanic Expedition Scientific team and a member of the joint URI-Israel Antiquities Authority Caesarea Harbour Excavation Project team.