New Book | Framing the Ocean

Posted in books by Editor on April 22, 2014

From Ashgate:

Tricia Cusack, ed., Framing the Ocean, 1700 to the Present: Envisaging the Sea as Social Space (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), 302 pages, ISBN: 978-1409465683, £70 / $120.

framing-the-ocean-1700-to-the-present-edited-by-tricia-cusackBefore the eighteenth century, the ocean was regarded as a repulsive and chaotic deep. Despite reinvention as a zone of wonder and pleasure, it continued to be viewed in the West and elsewhere as ‘uninhabited’, empty space. This collection, spanning the eighteenth century to the present, recasts the ocean as ‘social space’, with particular reference to visual representations. Part I focuses on mappings and crossings, showing how the ocean may function as a liminal space between places and cultures but also connects and imbricates them. Part II considers ships as microcosmic societies, shaped for example by the purpose of the voyage, the mores of shipboard life, and cross-cultural encounters. Part III analyses narratives accreted to wrecks and rafts, what has sunk or floats perilously, and discusses attempts to recuperate plastic flotsam. Part IV plumbs ocean depths to consider how underwater creatures have been depicted in relation to emergent disciplines of natural history and museology, how mermaids have been reimagined as a metaphor of feminist transformation, and how the symbolism of coral is deployed by contemporary artists. This engaging and erudite volume will interest a range of scholars in humanities and social sciences, including art and cultural historians, cultural geographers, and historians of empire, travel, and tourism.

Tricia Cusack’s publications include Art and Identity at the Water’s Edge (ed.) (Ashgate 2012); Riverscapes and National Identities (Syracuse University Press 2010); Art, Nation and Gender: Ethnic Landscapes, Myths and Mother-Figures (co-edited, Ashgate 2003), and numerous articles.

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Introduction: Framing the ocean, 1700 to the present: Envisaging the sea as social space, Tricia Cusack

Part I Exploring the Ocean: Colonial Crossings
1. From Mare Tenebrorum to Atlantic Ocean: A cartographical biography (1470–1900), Carla Lois
2. The Old World anew: The Atlantic as the liminal site of expectations, Emily Burns
3. Second encounters in the South Seas: Revisiting the shores of Cook and Bougainville in the art of Gauguin, La Farge and Barnfield, Elizabeth C. Childs

Part II Ships as Microcosms of Society
4. The artist travels: Augustus Earle at sea, Sarah Thomas
5. Sailors on horseback: The representation of seamen and social space in eighteenth-century British visual culture, Geoff Quilley
6. The ‘other’ ships: Dhows and the colonial imagination in the Indian Ocean, Erik Gilbert
7. Representation, commerce, and consumption: The cruise industry and the ocean, Adam Weaver

Part III Narratives of Shipwrecks, Rafts, and Jetsam
8. Shipwrecks, mutineers and cannibals: Maritime mythology and the political unconscious in eighteenth-century Britain, Carl Thompson
9. The sea as repository: Tacita Dean’s Teignmouth Electron, 1999 and Sean Lynch’s DeLorean Progress Report, 2010, Kirstie North
10. Reconstructing the raft: Semiotics and memory in the art of the shipwreck and the raft, Yvonne Scott
11. Plastic as shadow: The toxicity of objects in the anthropocene, Pam Longobardi

Part IV Natural and Unnatural Histories: Oceanic Imaginings
12. A ‘dreadful apparatus’: John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark and the cultures of natural history, Emily Ballew Neff
13. Mermaids and metaphors: Dorothea Tanning’s surrealist ocean, Victoria Carruthers and Catriona McAra
14. ‘Something rich and strange’: Coral in contemporary art, Marion Endt-Jones
15. ‘No fancy so wild’: Slippery gender models in the coral gallery, Pandora Syperek


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