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Oceanic Humanities

November 7th-8th, 2019

A symposium and opening event for the new initiative, Humanities: Land Sea Spacelaunched by the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research

In tandem with urgent calls for the protection of oceans, seas, and coastal communities from the effects of global warming and pollution, humanities and humanistic social science disciplines have been experiencing an ‘oceanic’ or ‘blue’ turn. Recent work in history, literary studies, philosophy, cultural geography, anthropology, communication, and the arts has produced a vibrant body of research exploring relationships between marine spaces, species, and people. New conversations have emerged between the humanities and the natural sciences, sparking imagination and critical engagement with respect to issues and topics marginalized by land-based scholarship. This symposium seeks to foster cross-disciplinary conversations among faculty, invited speakers, and students at Texas A&M, as well as the broader community, with respect to the histories, poetics, and conservation futures of the planet’s oceans.

Oceanic Humanities formally launches the new Glasscock Center initiative, Humanities: Land Sea Space, which aims to cultivate and celebrate humanities-led cross-disciplinary work focused on the broad, over-lapping themes of land, sea, ocean, sky, atmosphere, and space.



(Symposium Poster .jpeg)

Thursday, 7 November

Location: Memorial Student Center 2300B

1:45pm                            Registration          Coffee and tea available

2:00-2:15pm                   Opening remarks

Emily Brady (Director, Glasscock Center and Professor, Philosophy)

Session 1                        Histories

Chair: Kevin Crisman (Nautical Archaeology/Anthropology, Texas A&M)

2:15-3:00pm                   Kevin Dawson (History, University of California, Merced)

“History Below the Waterline: Enslaved Salvage Divers Harvesting Seaports’ Hinter-Seas, c.1540-1840”

3:00-3:45pm                   Alistair Sponsel (Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology, Cold Spring Harbor Lab)

"Barriers and Guardians: A Brief History of Ideas and Emotions about Coral Reefs"

4:15-5:30pm                   Opening Keynote Lecture

Helen Rozwadowski (History and Maritime Studies, University of Connecticut)
“Visualizing the Undersea:  Science, Technology, Culture, and Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Representations”

        Chair: Emily Brady (Director, Glasscock Center and Professor, Philosophy)

5:30-6:30pm                  Reception

Friday, 8 November

Location: Memorial Student Center 2300D
9:00am                           Coffee and tea available

9:30-10:45am                Keynote Lecture

Laura Winkiel (English, University of Colorado, Boulder)
“Jean Rhys and the Sargasso Sea”

Chair: Jessica Howell (Glasscock Center / English, Texas A&M)

10:45-11:00am              Break          Coffee and tea available

Session 2                        Poetics

        Chair: Dennis Berthold (Professor Emeritus, English, Texas A&M)

11:00-11:45am              Jennifer Hill (English, University of Nevada, Reno),

“Displacement: Oceanic Meanings”

11:45am-12:30pm        Siobhan Carroll (English, University of Delaware)

"Jane Austen's Oceanic Ecologies”

12:30-1:30pm                 Lunch

Session 3                        Conservation Futures

Chair: Diego Gil Agudelo (Director of Research / Marine Sciences, Texas A&M, Galveston)

1:30-2:15pm                   Pamela Plotkin (Texas Sea Grant/Oceanography, Texas A&M)

        "Sea Turtle Conservation for the Anthropocene Ocean"

2:15-3:30pm                   Kim De Wolff (Philosophy, University of North Texas)

"New Texas and the Synthetic Frontiers of Ocean Plastic Pollutions”

3:30-3:45pm                   Break          Coffee and tea available

3:45-4:30pm                   Panel discussion and closing remarks

Chair: Susan Egenolf (English, Texas A&M)

6:30pm                           Film showing: Anote's Ark, followed by a discussion chaired by Gary Varner (Philosophy, TAMU).

Visit the film's website to view a trailer.

This event is free and open to all.

Please also visit the pop-up exhibition related to the Oceanic Humanities at the Cushing Library. The pop-up exhibition begins November 7th.