From ocean currents to explosive waves, the seas are relentlessly mobile. While this motion is often implicit in understandings of oceans, it also poses some conceptual challenges for scholars. This panel addresses oceanic mobility through empirical case studies and interdisciplinary conversations.
From ocean currents to explosive waves, the seas are relentlessly mobile. While this movement is often implicit in understandings of oceans (and their interactions with shores), it also poses some conceptual challenges for inevitably land-based scholars, working largely with territorial documents and static archives, that demand close attention. This panel will bring together scholars who engage with movement in their research. Some have already started conversations, across varied case studies. For example, Thomas Brandt approaches the ocean-as-archive via a historic Norwegian wave energy test site. He asks why has it proven so difficult to use ocean waves as a reliable source of energy, and considers the transformation of ocean space as a site of an alternative energy future. Peter Coates engages with notions of bio-commercial flows, biocultural heritage and animal-based local and global (human) connections and identities through a case study of eels in the Severn Estuary. And Marianna Dudley uses research into Hawaiian wave cultures to explore the rise of the recreational wave as a sporting arena, a bearer of heritage, and a new force in global nature conservation. Connecting these case studies is a consideration of how tides, flows, and waves have shaped the populations and ideas which thrive within and without them. We look forward to meeting others who also engage with motion and movement in relation to oceans and shores, to think through some of the challenges it presents us and start new conversations which address oceanic mobility as conceptual challenge, and push the fundamental centrality of motion as a feature of the 'blue humanities'.