Summary of the 21st EASLCE Webinar: The Blue Humanities: Aquatic Materialisations Beyond the Sea

Host: Dr. Ursula Kluwick (Bern, Switzerland) 

Photo Enrico Mantegazza, Summary of the 21st EASLCE Webinar

On December 1st, 2022, the 20th EASCLE Webinar took place, hosted by Dr. Ursula Kluwick University of Bern) in two installments, focusing on the topic of “The Blue Humanities: Aquatic Materialisations Beyond the Sea.” An international group of scholars came together, eager to discuss various facets of the Blue Humanities. From the get-go of the introduction round, in which participants introduced their research interest and one “cultural object” that they associate with the sea, the coast, or any other aquatic space or phenomenon, the enormous variety of approaches, focuses, and personal positionality vis-à-vis the sea and water in general became apparent, and provided productive entry points into further discussion. Among many other themes and aspects, participants discussed questions of temporality concerning our understanding of bodies of water, for example as navigation systems and living spaces, the sea as a space of migration and death and the question of mourning, water as a more-than-human space of fish, whales, corals, water in its different states of aggregation, and the attention given to ice in climate change discourse. Another point that was discussed specifically with regards to John R. Gillis’ text “The Blue Humanities” and Steve Mentz’s “Ice/Water/Vapor” was the centrality of water (largely in terms of both the ocean and navigable rivers) in the literary imagination and the primarily Eurocentric views that these literary examples exhibit. In the discussion of Philip Steinberg’s and Kimberley Peters’ text  “Wet Ontologies, Fluid Spaces: Giving Depth to Volume through Oceanic Thinking,” participants specifically discussed ways in which fluidity, slipperiness, and non-linear temporalities pose specific challenges to concepts such as the Anthropocene, and allow for new complex engagements with questions, for example, of decentering the human, of considering ecosystems, and of politics and decolonial approaches within the Environmental Humanities. As usual, 90 minutes felt just about long enough to really dive into the midst of a number of interesting questions and provide various prompts for further discussion and reading. Participants also used the chat-function to share with each other further reading suggestions, which was a productive addition to the discussion itself.   


  • Ellen Arnold (University of Stavanger, Norway)
  • Bidisha Banerjee (The Education University, Hong Kong)
  • Giuilia Champion (University of Southampton, UK)
  • Monika Class (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Vera Fibilsan (University of Sheffield, UK) 
  • Monica Germana (University of Westminster, UK) 
  • Linda Hess (University of Augsburg, Germany)
  • Ellen Howley (University of Dublin, Ireland) 
  • Béné Meillon (University of Perpignon, France) 
  • Liz C. Miller (UC Davis, USA) 
  • Sophia Nicolov (University of Leeds, UK)
  • Lena Pfeifer (University of Würzburg, Germany) 
  • Anna Selby (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
  • Jamie Wang (The Education University, Hong Kong) 

Webinar Call


Photo Enrico Mantegazza

Summary of the 21st EASLCE Webinar: The Blue Humanities: Aquatic Materialisations Beyond the Sea



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