Sailing School cover image, colorful 18th-century manuscript illustration of mariner's compass

Meet the navigators who traversed the early modern oceans, and the men who trained them…

Margaret E. Schotte has written an award-winning comparative study of navigators in early modern Europe. Sailing School: Navigating Science and Skill, 1550-1800 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) investigates how early modern sailors developed mathematical and technical expertise in the age of exploration and the print revolution.  Read more.

Simon Schaffer (University of Cambridge) praises Sailing School as a “careful and innovative book… [that] convincingly challenges received models of the transition from practice to print and from experience to theory in early modern Europe.”

“The first truly transnational history of nautical training” and “a brilliant contribution to maritime history and the history of knowledge.” – Karel Davids (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

“An original, perceptive and scholarly addition to work on the history of navigation and seafaring.” – Richard Dunn (Royal Museums Greenwich)

“This fascinating study traverses with ease between the worlds of print, teaching, and book learning and the worlds of seafaring, navigational practice, and instrumentation. … An outstanding, highly original piece of scholarship, this will be the standard, go-to book for years to come.” – Pamela O. Long (Independent historian and MacArthur Fellow)

Available from Johns Hopkins University Press, Amazon, or your local bookstore can place an order.

 What’s New?  Margaret Schotte is the PI for a collaborative project, “Sailing for the French: Labour, Trade, and Mobility in the Indian Ocean World.” This research, supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2022-27), focuses on reinterpreting 18th-c. merchant records using ArcGIS and digital humanities. Stay tuned for news about our findings!