Category Archives: seafaring

The poetry of medieval maritime travel

I have been reading Arab navigation manuals and travelogues, and there is such poetry in the navigation manuals in particular. It is the liminality of the navigation texts in particular – between art and science, familiar and wholly other.  I … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, seafaring, the sea, Travels, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Medieval Arab Naviation

“More interesting is the testimony of Ibn al-Mujawir who reports that in 626 A.H./1228-9 A.D. a ship arrived in Aden from Qumr (Comoros or Madagascar); the art of navigation of the people of Qumr impressed him as superior to that … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, ports, seafaring, the sea, Travels, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fouq El-Nakhl: Masaculinities aboard the ship

“and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick   The first incident of its kind happened last night.  Hopefully, also the last.  I was in the wheelroom in the dark, keeping easy … Continue reading

Posted in infrastructure, labour, Middle East, political economy, ports, seafaring, shipping conditions, transport | 1 Comment

About Today: Steaming the security seas

10 February 2015 Everything anticipated our entry into what I can only call security seas. There are ships that do not send signals: they turn out to be warships of a sort, small, compact, going only at 7 knots with … Continue reading

Posted in empire, imperialism & colonialism, militaries, piracy, seafaring, transport, Travels, war | Leave a comment

A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes: The factory at sea

9 February 2015 20.00 “Going forward and glancing over the weather bow, [… the] prospect was unlimited, but exceedingly monotonous and forbidding; not the slightest variety that I could see.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick For the next few days, we … Continue reading

Posted in Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, labour, literature, Melville, Middle East, political economy, readings, seafaring, shipping conditions, transport, Travels | Leave a comment

Stand-Up Beer Hall

Stand-Up Beer Hall Walter Benjamin Sailors seldom come ashore ; service on the high seas is a holiday by comparison with the labour in harbours, where loading and unloading must often be done day and night. When a gang is then given a … Continue reading

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Pirates Pirates Pirates

They are EVERYWHERE!  Here is Michael Dirda writing about campy pirates: Many [film pirates] are also distinctly camp. The first pirate most of us encounter is Captain Hook, who, as played by Cyril Ritchard in the Mary Martin version of Peter … Continue reading

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