The Ship in Geography and the Geographies of Ships

William Hasty, Kimberley Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Although interest in the maritime world has been growing steadily within human geography over the past decade, the ship remains a largely neglected figure in its own right. In spite of facilitating the emergence of modern geographical study and being bound intricately to the movement of ideas, goods and people around the globe, past and present, the ship is an elusive, often invisible, and largely forgotten space. In this paper we seek to move the ship from the margins to the centre of geographical research. To do so, we firstly explore the potential of the ship for making geographical knowledge and as a means of understanding the world. We then go on to review studies from within the discipline and also from further afield which employ the ship as a vehicle for knowing and understanding colonialism, commerce, trade and conflict; embodied and resistant performances, and residual materiality, demonstrating the place of the ship in geography. We then contend that the ship could have a greater role in the discipline if it were not only utilised to make empirical and theoretical inroads in relation to broader geographic themes, but if it were the focus of study itself. Here we argue that geographies of ships would allow scholars the opportunity to reframe the history of the discipline, whilst also raising new questions and lines of enquiry relating to mobilities and more-than-human geographies, enriching wider academic projects beyond the discipline through employing the ship as a vehicle for novel empirical examinations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660–676
Number of pages16
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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