Wet Ontologies

Although there was very little work on the human geography of the ocean when I began working on the topic in the mid-1990s, 25 years later a significant number of scholars are engaging with the geography of the ocean: its mobility, its depth, its voluminous materiality, its political status (mostly) outside sovereign territory and its economic function that is is so crucial to state power. Noting this advance in the discipline, in 2012 Kimberley Peters and I began discussing how we could take the human geography of the ocean to another level: using the ocean’s materiality to think through not just the geography of the ocean (as a bounded socio-natural space) but, more broadly, to inform a new perspective on the world writ large. Thus emerged our ‘Wet Ontologies’ project, which date has resulted in three articles, one companion website, and a closely related book.

  • 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
  • The ocean in excess: toward a more-than-wet ontology (with Kimberley Peters, in Dialogues in Human Geography, 2019) | PDF (behind paywall) [For the entire debate surrounding this article — with contributions from Stefan Helmreich, Charity Edwards, Gordon Winder, Jon Anderson, Sasha Engelmann, and Christopher Bear, as well as the authors’ response, see the entire issue of Dialogues]
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