In maritime narratives of humans, ships and the sea, animals are too often absent, or marginalised in passing references, despite the fact that ships once carried, and were populated by, all kinds of animals. Horses, mules and other ‘military’ animals crossed the sea to their battlefields, while livestock were brought on-board to be killed and eaten. Sailors and passengers kept animal companions, ranging widely from cats and parrots to ferrets and monkeys. Animal stowaways, such as rats, termites and shipworms, did tremendous damage to ships’ structures and stores, especially during the age of sail. Moreover, countless animals – seabirds, dolphins, porpoises, etc. – would visit and accompany ships, filling many sea narratives with the wonder of oceanic animal encounters.
April 25-27th, 2019
Thom van Dooren
William Gervase Clarence-Smith
Featuring films by Jessica Sarah Rinland
This conference seeks to shed fresh light on maritime history by placing animals centre stage. Papers are sought which uncover all aspects of animals’ involvements (and entanglements) with ships and their activities. It calls upon the power of story-telling to repopulate maritime history with animals, by telling, and listening to, surprising stories about them.
For the conference programme and registration details, please visit the Museum conference website.
The conference is organised by the Kent Animal Humanities Network. For further information, visit our website.
Image © National Maritime Museum, London