The material culture of seafarers and the circulation of intimate things

Prof. Uma Kothari1

1University of Manchester, Manchester, UK


Sea mobilities have always connected people, places and things and the volume of goods conveyed by ship is ever-increasing. While the maritime transportation of goods has tended to focus on ships’ cargoes, an exploration of the material geographies of seafaring reveal the movement and circulation of a range of other more personal and intimate objects. The possessions seafarers take on their journeys such as keepsakes and photographs of family, the gifts they buy in port, and the books and clothing they are given at Missions to Seafarers around the globe combine to facilitate dwelling at sea, fostering relationships with home and places visited


Professor of Migration and Postcolonial Studies, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She is the co-founder of the Manchester Migration Lab and principal investigator on an ESRC funded project on Everyday Lives and Environmental Change. Current research include Everyday Humanitarianism and Solidarity and A Cultural History of Seafarers. She is co-editor of the Frontiers of Development book series, Oxford University Press and is Vice President of the European Association of Development Institutes. She is on the advisory board of In Place of War, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

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