Thinking from the Southern Ocean

Presented by Charne Lavery

Monday, 28 May, 2018 - 15:00

The Southern Ocean is the wildest, least-known ocean, where winds and currents circulate without continental breaks and in which debris from the lost Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 remain undiscovered. It is largely beyond national sovereignty, eludes scientific knowledge, and, partly as a result, stubbornly resists imaginative grasp. This is significant as it becomes clear that the Southern Ocean plays a determining role in regulating global climate, in an Anthopocenic time of global climate change and declining fish stocks. This paper considers representations of the Southern Ocean in relation to the global South, bringing together environmental questions with those of troubled human histories. In particular it is concerned with forms of imagining as they are recorded in literary work, taking a sample of the rare mentions of this ocean in the work of African writers such as Yvette Christianse and Marguerite Poland, alongside Conrad, Verne and Melville, and in relation to mediations of events such as the orange roughy gold rush in the southern Indian Ocean, the discovery of the largest-yet squid off Antarctica, and deep ocean exploration. In so doing, taking the Comaroffs’ provocation to develop ‘theory from the South’ literally further south—towards a more posthuman, oceanic, multispecies perspective.

  • Seminars will be held in the WISER seminar room from 3:00 to 4:30pm.
  • Participants must read the paper prior to the seminar.
  • The paper will typically only be available on the Friday preceding the seminar.

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