The Oceanic South

Presented by Charne Lavery & Meg Samuelson

Monday, 28 May, 2018 - 15:00

This paper proposes the oceanic south to navigate various conceptions of southness, while registering a more turbulent alterity and materiality than they sometimes admit. We present the southern hemisphere’s blue expanses as its defining feature, and elaborate from this a framework that brings into agitated contention the extractive economies of the north, the persistent legacies of settler colonialism in the south, and other interlocking itineraries. Tracking a drift into the Southern Ocean in the fiction of J. M. Coetzee, we take this “most neglected of oceans” as a vantage point from which to draw the contours of the oceanic south and engage its troubled surfaces and lively depths. Thinking through the roiling and hostile yet fecund nature of this ocean, we follow “the lives of whales” as they sound through various fictions of the south and conclude with the figure of an unsettling planetarity that makes no claim to universality.

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