Environmental Exchanges: Kristie Flannery

Oceans as Archives: sea animals, the sacred, and the history of empire in the Pacific 

Dr Kristie Flannery (ACU) 

This presentation by Dr Kristie Flannery is part of Environmental Exchanges, a seminar series organised by the Centre for Environmental History to showcase innovative new research that engages with key themes in environmental history. Throughout 2022, the Centre will be hosting seminars that engage with this year's theme of Oceans in original and compelling ways. Please note that this seminar will be held in hybrid format, both in-person in RSSS Room 5.72 at the ANU and online via Zoom. You can register to attend, either online or in-person, here



The Navarre-born Francisco Javier (1506-1552) devoted more than a decade of his life to evangelizing across the Indo-Pacific world. One of the founders of the Jesuit missionary order, the spiritual conquistador is credited with converting tens of thousands of people to Catholicism across Southern India, the Maluku islands, Japan and China, and is recognized as a Saint in the Catholic Church. Early modern narratives of the saint’s life recount many miracles –  extraordinary events that cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws and are therefore attributed to divine agency. Inspired by an interdisciplinary ocean as archive methodology, this paper examines the miracle of the crab, which is one of the most widely known and celebrated supernatural episodes associated with Javier. It considers the crustacean's agency, its role in the creation of Catholic imperial marine imaginaries, and records hidden transcripts of resistance to the European colonization of archipelagos. 

About the Speaker:

 Dr. Kristie Patricia Flannery is a historian of the global Spanish empire and the early modern world. She graduated with a Ph.D. in History from the Unversity of Texas at Austin and is currently a research fellow at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Australian Catholic University. 


Image: Francsico Solimena, 'The Miracle of the Crab', via Wikimedia Commons

Date & time

Thu 20 Oct 2022, 12–1.30pm


Meeting Room 5.72, RSSS Building, 146 Ellery Crescent, Canberra


Dr Kristie Flannery


Centre for Environmental History


Dr Rohan Howitt


Updated:  2 September 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications