Empire in Disarray: The making of the Danish Atlantic world of the late seventeenth century

Project Details


The project Empire in Disarray aims to decenter the history of the making of the Danish transatlantic empire in the late seventeenth century. By closely studying the experiences and actions of “marginal” or “subaltern” actors such as convicts, pirates and common sailors, the project will al- low for a new understanding of the social disarray that continually frustrated company efforts at constituting itself as a centre. It will be argued that these groups radically shaped the early years of the Danish Atlantic. From the conflicts and disarray surrounding them, it becomes obvious how em- pire-building was never a unified or continuous practice. Instead, it was the workings of many in- terlocking, but often mutually antagonistic networks. The actions of these hitherto little studied groups brought the company to the brink of destruction, but also integrated the Danish colony of St. Thomas into regional maritime circuits.

Effective start/end date01/04/201431/03/2016


  • Piracy
  • Convicts
  • Empire
  • Mutiny
  • Shipwreck
  • Slavery
  • Colonialism


  • 2 Conference presentations
  • 1 Conference organisation or participation
  • 1 Organisation or participation in workshops, courses, or seminars

Negotiating Status and Scope of Action

Johan Heinsen (Participant)
15 Jun 201717 Jun 2017

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

Kriminalitetens kulturhistorie, 3. seminar

Johan Heinsen (Speaker)
6 May 2016

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Johan Heinsen (Speaker)
4 May 20165 May 2016

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Atlantic Studies Early Career Essay Prize

Johan Heinsen (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Other prizes

Research Output

  • 3 Journal article
  • 1 Book chapter
  • 1 Net publication - Internet publication
  • 1 Working paper

Scandinavian Empires in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Heinsen, J. L., 17 May 2018, A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies. Anderson, C. (ed.). Bloomsbury Academic, p. 97–122 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Dissonance in the Danish Atlantic: Speech, violence and mutiny, 1672-1683

Heinsen, J. L., 10 Mar 2016, In : Atlantic Studies. 13, 2, p. 187-205

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Expert essay: Danish-Norwegian Empire

Heinsen, J. L., 6 Jun 2016

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearch