CFP: The Problem of Piracy II: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Plunder by Sea across the World from the Ancient to the Modern

4-6 August 2021, Online Conference

The study of piracy brings with it several interpretational problems and questions. As a global phenomenon that has lasted millennia, even defining piracy historically is difficult. Its meaning depended on distinctive legal and customary perceptions of predation at sea by diverse communities, kingdoms, and empires. Scholarship on piracy and maritime predation has blossomed in recent years, but scholars still struggle to look at it with broad enough perspective. In August 2021, the second conference of the Problem of Piracy Network will explore the problem of piracy and its study across various chronological, geographical, and disciplinary barriers.

The Problem of Piracy Network formed in 2019 to investigate these and other questions in an inclusive, collegial environment. We welcome anyone studying any aspect of piracy and maritime predation from any time, place, or discipline. The network brings together a wide range of postgraduate, early career, and senior researchers from various disciplines. In addition to holding conferences, the network hosts online seminars and seeks publication opportunities for exceptional work.

The 2021 conference will be held entirely online to avoid any travel issues. The online conference will occur across three half-day sessions from 4-6 August 2021. The half-day sessions will be scheduled at different times across the three days in order to accommodate different time zones. Once we have compiled a prospective programme of papers, we will then confirm the time of each half-day session in order to best accommodate all participating speakers. The half-day sessions will include formal panels while also incorporating time for (optional) informal discussions in the form of breaks between panels. There will also be opportunity for a book launch event during the conference.

Possible themes, are not limited to, but include:

Non-Atlantic / non-European maritime predation (especially in the Indian and Pacific Oceans)

Perceptions of piracy and maritime predation

Suppressing piracy

Law of the sea 

Sovereignty and maritime predation

Gender and the sea

The pirate as a cultural figure

We welcome proposals for both individual papers of twenty minutes and three-paper panels that discuss any aspect of piracy and maritime predation occurring across the world’s oceans from the ancient to the modern period.

Abstracts of 250 words along with a short biographical note should be sent to John Coakley, Nathan Kwan, and David Wilson at by 10pm (UTC) on 31 March 2021

Contact Info: 

Contact the Co-Directors of the Problem of Piracy Network – John Coakley,Nathan Kwan, and David Wilson – at

Contact Email:


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