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Since the early 1990s, I have been writing about problems and opportunities in governing the ocean as a space that simultaneously is constructed as a fecund (and/or endangered) space of nature, an empty space that facilitates movement, a frontier suitable for expropriation and territorialization, an arena for scientific research, a force-field for military adventures, and a laboratory wherein alternative futures are imagined and practiced.  The ocean remains my most active area of research and, in a sense the approach that I take to to my other research areas is informed from the insights that I’ve gathered over more than twenty years of research on the ocean.

Publications in this area include:

  • Three historical systems of ocean governance: A framework for analyzing the Law of the Sea (World Bulletin, 1996)
  • Focus section: Geography of ocean-space (The Professional Geographer, 1999) | Website with PDF links (behind paywall)
  • Navigating to multiple horizons: Toward a geography of ocean-space (The Professional Geographer, 1999) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • Lines of division, lines of connection: Stewardship in the world-ocean (Geographical Review, 1999) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • The maritime mystique: Sustainable development, capital mobility, and nostalgia in the world-ocean (Environment and Planning D: Society & Space, 1999) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • The Social Construction of the Ocean (Cambridge University Press, 2001) | Website
  • How does the world rein in stateless terrorists? (The Los Angeles Times, 2001) | Website (open access)
  • Coastal and marine geography: More than just flotsam and jetsam (with Norb Psuty & Dawn Wright; in Geography in America at the Dawn of the 21st Century, Oxford University Press, 2004) | Website
  • Calculating similitude and difference: John Seller and the “placing” of English subjects in a global community of nations (Social and Cultural Geography, 2006) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • Law of the Sea; Oceans (in Encyclopedia of Environment and Society, Sage, 2007) | Website
  • It’s so easy being green: Overuse, underexposure, and the marine environmentalist consensus (Geography Compass, 2008) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • Sovereignty, territory, and the mapping of mobility: a view from the outside (Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 2009) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • Oceans (in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Elsevier, 2009) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • Oceans (in Encyclopedia of Geography, Sage, 2010) | Website
  • Free sea (in Sovereignty, Spatiality, and Carl Schmitt: Geographies of the Nomos, Routledge, 2011) | Website
  • The Deepwater Horizon, the Mavi Marmara, and the dynamic zonation of ocean-space (Geographical Journal, 2011) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • Oceans (in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Geography, Oxford, 2013) | Website
  • Of other seas: Metaphors and materialities in maritime regions (Atlantic Studies, 2013) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • Mediterranean metaphors: Connections, separations, and fluidities in the ‘new mediterraneans’ of the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (in Water Worlds: Human Geographies of the Ocean, Ashgate, 2014) | Website
  • On thalassography (in Water Worlds: Human Geographies of the Ocean, Ashgate, 2014) | Website
  • Foreword (in Seascapes: Shaped by the Sea, Ashgate, 2015) | Website

Linking up with my interest in art and visual representation, I have been involved in a number of projects on cinematic representations of the sea, especially in the award-winning documentary The Forgotten Space. Projects here include authoring a review of The Forgotten Space in Society & Space, curating a viewing and discussion with Passenger Films,  and two book chapters:

  • Maritime cargomobilities: the impossibilities of representation (in Cargomobilities: Moving Materials in a Global Age, Routledge, 2015) | Website
  • Nonlinearity in the ocean documentary (in Documenting World Politics, Routledge, 2015) | Website

Most recently, I discussed the film as part of a panel discussion with film critic and cultural theorist Sukhdev Sandhu at Nottingham Contemporary (click above for video) which was paired with a gallery tour that I gave of the Aquatopia exhibit there (click below for video).

Linking my interest in ocean representation with my research in the history of cartography, I gave a talk in 2015 as part of the Perfect and Absolute Blank symposium at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, UK, where I presented on ‘Objects and Absences: A Sea of Curiosities’ to accompany an exhibit there by Fiona Tan.

I also have been involved in a number of initiatives with Vienna/London-based TBA21-Academy, and I have publications in two of their volumes Okeanos and Tidalectics.

Interview footage on the ISRC
Click image for video

During my final years at Florida State University, I focused much of my ocean research on linking up with scientists there to inform regional ocean management policy. The key vehicle for this was Florida State’s  Inter-American Seas Research Consortium (ISRC), which I co-directed with Felicia Coleman of the Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory.  For more on the ISRC, listen to this November 2011 story that ran on FSU Headlines, a radio program produced by FSU’s Office of Communications to highlight student and faculty accomplishments.  The radio program can also be heard here in alternate format, and there’s also a series of video interview clips.

My final activity with the ISRC involved convening the January 2013 workshop, “From the Arctic to the Caribbean: A Workshop on Economic  Opportunity, Environmental Risk, Emergency Management, and International Cooperation in the Offshore Oil and Gas Regions of North America” (poster | program | webcast). This project was funded by Florida State University’s College of Social Science & Public Policy and the Canadian Consulate in Miami and combined my expertise in Arctic and Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean issues with issues surrounding development, identity, and governance in the world’s mediterranean regions.

My current work in ocean geography is largely in three areascover

  1. A series of projects on the Arctic region, which I elaborate on the Arctic page of my website.
  2. A project on the governance of seabed mining. As part of this project, I am leader of the Seabed Resources work package of the European Commission-funded OceanGov (Ocean Governance for Sustainability) COST Action. I am presently working with Mara Conde Puigmal on grant proposals to further advance research in this area.
  3. A series of theoretical articles with Kimberley Peters in which we explore what it means to think of the world through a ‘wet ontology’. Publications to date in the ‘Wet Ontologies’ project include:
  • Volume and vision: toward a wet ontology (with Kimberley Peters, in Harvard Design Magazine, 2014) | Website
  • Wet ontologies, fluid spaces: giving depth to volume through oceanic thinking (with Kimberley Peters, in Environment and Planning D: Society & Space, 2015) | PDF (behind paywall)
  • A wet world: rethinking place, territory, and time (with Kimberley Peters, Society & Space open site, 2015) | Website
  • Territory beyond Terra (edited with Kimberley Peters and Elaine Stratford, Rowman & Littlefield International, 2018) | Website

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