Haunted Shores: Aquatic Surfaces and Depths

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Haunted Shores

Date of conference: 07/04/2023-08/04/2023
(with recorded papers available from 03/04/2023)


“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.”
~ John Masefield

“[T]he ocean space is boundless yet oppressive, illuminated yet indiscernible, all surface yet all depth.” ~ Emily Alder

“There is only one Earth and it has one ocean. This is the only place in the solar system where we can survive. The ocean is also finite. There is no such thing as “sustainable blue growth” in a finite ocean. We must acknowledge that there are limits and learn to behave accordingly.” ~Peter Townsend

“It is raining in London. The rain washes the dirt into the gutters, and it swells streams into rivers, rivers into powerful things.” ~ Neil Gaiman

In “Introduction: oceanic studies”, Hester Blum has argued that the ocean is not merely an ‘organizing metaphor with which to widen a landlocked perspective’. The theoretical frameworks we employ to read land-bound texts, ecosystems, and interactions often fail to prove an efficient epistemological tool for understanding oceanic spaces. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Derek Walcott and Bram Stoker to Rivers Solomon, aquatic expanses have stimulated the darker corners of our imagination, stirred up primaeval fears and anxieties, and continue to be a source of discovery. Encountering these liquid depths, we reflect on a wild and romantic ideal, unknown resources, ecosystems under threat, a method of travel and communication, and a vast sense of time.

Following the success of our Seaweed-themed Conference in 2022 and our inaugural conference in 2021 on coastal Gothic, the Haunted Shores Network is pleased to present this cfp for April 2023. Drawing on the fluid interactions between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism in our conceptualisation of aquatic spaces, this conference seeks to build on the insights provided by the littoral Gothic to re-examine and expand the theoretical lenses and languages we employ when approaching the ocean in an interdisciplinary context.

We invite scholars at all stages of their careers, including ECRs and PGRs, from the humanities and sciences, to reflect on what aquatic surfaces and depths might mean to them and their research. We especially welcome researchers from the social and natural sciences, practical and industry approaches, and independent scholars to join the discussion.

Themes addressed in this conference include but are not limited to:

• Aquatic acoustics
• Climate change and coastal futures
• Colonial histories of the sea
• Displacements of land-bound
• Doldrums, temporality, emotions
• Ecological management of the ocean
• Littoral Gothic
• Literature of the Sea
• Piracy, violence at sea,
• Sea monsters and creatures
• Shipwrecks, flotsam, jetsam, and derelict
• Tides and sea-storms
• The maritime sublime
• Seabeds, oceanic depths, and the unknown
• Sea burials, decomposition, and ecosystems
• The aquatic supernatural

In the interest of opening global discussions, this conference will be held completely online. Speakers will be asked to provide a video or audio recording of their talk, which will be released on an interactive Teams channel. These papers will be available to preview before two days of live online activities, including keynote presentations, a live reading group, ECR/PGR advice sessions, and plenty of time to engage in live discussions.

Deadline for abstract submission: 31/01/2023 at hauntedshoresinfo@gmail.com
Abstract: 250 words and 100 words bio (include preferred pronouns where applicable)

Notification of acceptance: mid-February 2023
Submission of recorded papers: mid-March 2023