Category Archives: ships

How the (closure of the) Suez Canal changed the world

The segment of my January/February container-ship journey I am most anticipating is passing through the Suez Canal.  Here is what Horatio Clare writes about his passage through Suez: Unfinished wars lie under all our horizons.  The chart on which Chris plotted our … Continue reading

Posted in infrastructure, Middle East, militaries, political economy, ports, shipping conditions, ships, transport, war | 4 Comments

Hitching a lift on a US aircraft carrier

The Super Hornet bombers that dropped 8 500-pound JDAM bombs on Islamic State forces in Iraq had flown from the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush, afloat in the Persian Gulf.  It is one among at least 5 Navy ships and 3 ships … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, militaries, readings, ships, war | Leave a comment

The Cargo Cults of USA – Part I

John McPhee has taught David Remnick and Richard Stengel and a few other famous journalists to write, and apparently he is a fixture of The New Yorker, but his work is so much more interesting that those of his proteges, and … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, infrastructure, labour, logistics, political economy, readings, shipping conditions, ships, transport | Leave a comment

The Port of Beirut

This gallery contains 23 photos.

More Galleries | Tagged | Leave a comment

“A foretaste of annihilation”

Joseph Conrad’s The Shadow Line is an odd novella.  A ghost story, a beautifully symmetrical tale, a strange little fable, or a metaphor for the First World War (as Wikipedia seems to say)? A young man is given command of  his first … Continue reading

Posted in literature, ports, seafaring, ships, the sea | Tagged | Leave a comment

“no sailor’s card”

Imagine a trans-textual “proletarian” protagonist, one that has travelled the world, gets stuck into adventures aboard ships and on land, and has a laconic easy sarcasm and a way with words.  A kind of working class Marlowe with a better … Continue reading

Posted in bureacuracy, labour, literature, ports, readings, seafaring, shipping conditions, ships, the sea | Tagged | Leave a comment

The ship as the heterotopia par excellence

How wonderful is it that Foucault considers the ship the perfect heterotopia: Brothels and colonies are two extreme types of heterotopia, and if we think, after all, that the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that … Continue reading

Posted in empire, imperialism & colonialism, political economy, seafaring, ships, the sea | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“war, commerce, and transit”

“Let us have the courage to be crude: let us sweep the spirit of subtlety down the sewer along with the flags and the great warriors.” Paul Nizan Paul Nizan’s star burned bright and brief.  He was a classmate of Jean-Paul Sartre‘s … Continue reading

Posted in empire, imperialism & colonialism, literature, Middle East, ports, readings, ships, war | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The ship

Come end of January 2015, I will be on this ship:

Posted in ships, the sea, transport | Leave a comment

“a seaman in exile from the sea”

Do you remember that haunting Conrad quotation from Heart of Darkness that says “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a … Continue reading

Posted in literature, Melville, readings, seafaring, ships, the sea | Tagged , , | Leave a comment