The ocean has always been the harbinger of strangers to new shores. Migrations by sea have transformed modern conceptions of mobility and belonging, disrupting notions of how to write about movement, memory and displaced histories. Sea Log is a memory theater of repressive hauntings based on urban artifacts across a maritime archive of Dutch and Portuguese colonial pillage.
Colonial incursions from the sea, and the postcolonial aftershocks of these violent sea histories, lie largely forgotten for most formerly colonized coastal communities around the world. Offering a feminist log of sea journeys from the Malabar Coast of South India, through the Atlantic to the North Sea, May Joseph writes a navigational history of postcolonial coastal displacements. Excavating Dutch, Portuguese, Arab, Asian and African influences along the Malabar Coast, Joseph unearths the undertow of colonialism’s ruins. In Sea Log, the Bosphorus, the Tagus and the Amstel find coherence alongside the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Written in a clear and direct style, this volume will appeal to historians of transnational communities, as well as students and scholars of cultural studies, anthropology of space, area studies, maritime history and postcolonial studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Writing Anthropocene
Preface: Decolonial Periplus
1. Indian Ocean Affect
2. Sea of Shock
3. Ocean Ontologies
4. Contested Visuality
Part II: Periplus
5. Cochin, Dhow City
6. Dar-Es-Salaam, Socialist Utopia
7. Hanoi Palimpsest
8. Bamiyan Pillage
9. New York: Archipelagoes of the Unseen
10. Deciphering the Indian Ocean
May Joseph is Professor of Social Science and Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute, where she teaches a walking history of coastal New York. Joseph is Founder of Harmattan Theater and has produced site specific performances along Dutch and Portuguese maritime routes. Joseph’s other books include Ghosts of Lumumba (2019), Fluid New York: Cosmopolitan Urbanism and the Green Imagination (2013) and Nomadic Identities: The Performance of Citizenship (1999).