Saturday, 6 February 2010

Sailors: sex, race at San Diego conference

Sex is not exactly a topic much discussed in the maritime historiography world. Gender, yes - recently and to some extent. Instead sexual activity on ships is what gets talked about in the bar outside of formal proceedings. For example, 'twas in an Oslo beer tent after a maritime conference that a colleague first recited to me the ribald 'Good Ship Venus' with its references to friggin' in the riggin' etc.

But Sailors, Sex and the Sea was the topic of the special panel innovatively organised by Prof Lisa Norling at the American Historical Association conference, in San Diego, Jan 9 2010: Oceans, Islands, Continents. The papers in our panel were:
You can read the summaaries at

Sitting in that grand marble palace, the Hyatt, we had a fascinating session comparing the different ways sexuality was handled in these different worlds.

As always, some of the most enjoyable moments were networking on the side. So it was fascinating to sit in a seafront restaurant overlooking the bay and talk with Lisa, Matthew, and Jeff Bolster, whose work, including Black Jacks, on race and seafarers is so important a counterpart to our work on gender.

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