Over the last decade or so, geographers have begun to critically engage with the maritime realms of the past and the present, signalling something of a shift from the territorial focus which had dominated the discipline for so long. The worlds of sailors and ships, slaves and merchants, dockworkers and ports, and even the sea itself have been explored through the lens of geography. This has led to the foregrounding of new debates and perspectives in relation to existing concerns within the discipline and has reworked understandings of processes such as imperialism and slavery. It has also offered new points of departure from which geographical research can emerge. Geographers have, among other things, begun to engage with the politics of maritime networks (Lambert 2005), the spatial constitution of maritime networks (Ogborn 2008), explore forms of subaltern agency and identity constituted by maritime workers (Featherstone 2008), and interrogate the spatial imaginaries of the ocean (Steinberg 2001).
Much of this work has been positioned in relation to productive theoretical and empirical attempts to ‘historicise the ocean’ (Klein and MacKenthun 2004); a paradigm shift in historical studies which advances a major challenge to existing work in social and political history. This work has included pioneering work on various forms of Atlantic radicalism (Linebaugh and Rediker 2000; Rediker 2004, 2007, Scott 1986), an historical ethnography of the HMS Bounty mutineers (Dening 1992), an account of slave- ship sailors (Christopher 2006), and work on the presence of Africans in the Atlantic (Bolster 1997; Gilroy 1992). This work has led to an important revisioning of nation- centred histories of radical movements and forms of social practices and opened up new ways of engaging with subaltern identities, agency and practices.
While drawing on this body of work for inspiration, this conference seeks to critically engage with the work that has been advanced in maritime geographies thus far and prompt new research agendas in the process. The programme of events spanning three days will include keynote talks, papers and workshops dealing with methodological and theoretical issues.
- How does a focus on maritime connections refigure terracentric conceptions of nation and empire?
- What are the sites/spaces of the ship?
- How does a focus on the littoral refigure notions of space and place?
- What are the dynamic spatial practices of maritime workers/ sailor’s politics/ organising practices?
- What are the geographies of pirates and piracy?
- How does thinking in explicitly spatial terms reconfigure the terms of debate of existing work on maritime histories?
- How are maritime spaces constituted through transnational and multi- ethnic relations?
- What are the gendered spatial practices of maritime worlds?
- What human/ non- human configurations are constituted through maritime networks?
- What productive methodologies are engendered by an attention to maritime geographies?
Abstracts of around 250 words should be submitted to William Hasty (firstname.lastname@example.org) and David Featherstone (email@example.com) by May 31st 2010, including the following information: name, affiliation, contact email, and technical requirements (data projector, audio equipment, etc...).