EASA Anthropology of the Sea(s) Network

Future events

Webinar Series 2024 Programme

Thursday 4th April, 5-7 PM (CET)

Cecilie V. Ødegaard (University of Bergen), Marianna Betti (University of Bergen)
discussant: Michael Watts (University of California, Berkeley)

In this talk, we explore how automated and digitalized technologies in the shipping industry affect ways of relating to the ocean. New technologies in this industry can be seen as both enhancing and simplifying the ocean and the human-ocean-ship relationship, through digital and mechanized mediations that reconfigure ‘oceanic engagements’ not only onboard vessels (i.e. through digital representations of ocean effects on the materialities of the ship), but also on land (i.e. in simulation training and control rooms). We use these reflections and observations to think about work life, (in)visibilities, and knowledge transfers at the crossroads between sea and land.

Cecilie Ødeegard is Professor of social anthropology at the University of Bergen. As PI for the ASMOG project her current research explores the re-makings of labour and nature practices with the proclaimed energy transition and the introduction of automated technologies in the maritime sector. Ødegaard has also done research in the Andes (Peru) and the Arctic (Svalbard) with a thematic interest in (post)carbon politics, rewilding, territorial frontiers, and indigeneity.

Marianna Betti is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen. Her previous research for her Ph.D. focused on oil and gas exploration and extraction in Turkana, Kenya. Presently, Betti is studying the transportation of energy (LNG) by sea and exploring the implications of automation in the maritime sector. Her research encompasses a range of topics, including the integration of green technology in shipping, changes in work identity, and the dynamics of communication and engagement between land and sea. She is the vice principal investigator in the ASMOG project led by Prof. Cecilie Vindal Ødegaard.

Link to register

Past events

Presentation by C. Anne Claus (American University) in discussion with Gaia Cottino (University of Genoa).

Seafoods are an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine (washoku) for transnational audiences. This status is enshrined in UNESCO's 2014 World Heritage distinction—one that declares fish to be an integral part of washoku. Within Japan, however, a cultural transition away from fish is well underway. Since 2011 domestic meat consumption has surpassed that of fish, a development that has been tied to loss of oceanic affection after the traumatic earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in March of that same year. This talk analyzes efforts to reinvigorate fish-centered gastronomy through projects that aim to increase fondness for the oceans.

C. Anne Claus is Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology, American University, USA. An interdisciplinary scholar in anthropology and environmental studies, her work centers the ocean. She has published research on transnational environmentalism, coral reef conservation, and societal conceptions of disasters. Her new research project investigates seafoods, sustainability, and cooking practices in Japan.


Join us for the next webinar with Hege Høyer Leivestad from the University of Oslo, who will give a presentation entitled "Cargo capitalism: the port revisited". She will discuss it with Jatin Dua from the University of Michigan.

Abstract: What happens if we use cargo as an ethnographic prism for understanding the dynamics of global capitalism? Our accounts of ports have for long embraced romanticized narratives of trade and transit and, more recently, presented dehumanized accounts of massive infrastructures. This presentation asks what can be gained from approaching the port through mobile cargo and the forms of human and material (dis) connections it can carry.

Bio: Hege Høyer Leivestad is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. She has published on mobility theory and methodology, homemaking and social class, logistics and shipping. Hege’s current book project deals with labour and port-city relationships in Algeciras, Spain.


02 February 2024 Inaugural webinar with Stefan Helmreich, with a presentation entitled Ocean Waves Dangerous, Domesticated, and Diagnostic.

Ocean waves of relentless approach have long been objects of apprehension and fear. From mariner folklore to literature to Hollywood films, oncoming waves — both outsized and unremitting — have been forces and symbols of, variously, nature unbound and social planning unprepared. How do coastal engineers and marine scientists understand such entities? This talk centered attention on how ocean waves become objects of measure, monitoring, and modeling and in the process, entities whose frightening dimensions might yield to prediction and control. The talk offered case studies from wave research centers in the Netherlands, Oregon, and Bangladesh. Amplified waves emerge as avatars of the Thallasocene, forces and forms diagnostic of the age of a rising ocean.


May 22 2023 Rome
Informal Meeting - our first informal meeting offered a space to meet ourselves and discuss about future plans and network projects.

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