13 October, 2006


I haven't quoted any juicy academic nonsense for a while, so here's a treat, a fishy sort of codswallop, from Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, 'The Mediterranean and "the New Thalassology"', American Historical Review, 111.3.
Peripheries become cores, and it is arguably one of the main attractions of the newly created or identified areas that they tend to be politically neutral. Apart from ignoring national boundaries, they subvert imperial hierarchies that privilege some powers' involvement in the areas in question. Thus, for instance, in the "new" Atlantic historiography, a "white," a "black," a "green" (Irish), and even a "red" (Marxist) Atlantic may coexist in equilibrium. Sea history also helps to expose the "myth of continents" and the precedence that historians have given to land over water as the support of social life.
Racism, sexism and orientalism have been long exposed in the scholarly world; but not until now has seaism been revealed for the sham it truly is. Shame on you, historians, with your fascist deference to land-dwellers! Meanwhile, this month's prize for Most Inappropriate Use of the Word 'Obviously' goes to David Marsh, in his essay 'Alberti's Momus: Sources and Contexts':
Obviously, the Hispanic predilection for outlining works for students antedates the pedagogical efforts of Spanish educators like Vives and Loyola. In the 1430s, Alonso García, bishop of Burgos, persuaded Pier Candido Decembrio to divide his translation of Plato's Republic into similar chapter and headings.


Anonymous said...

Very good, Conrad. The first laugh I've had today. Congrats on the language books. I have some periodicals you might find of interest when next we meet.


Anonymous said...

It also made me laugh out loud. But I have been thinking about it and, unusally, you have made an error. It is not 'seaism' but 'landism' - or, as Mr R suggests – 'terraism'

Conrad H. Roth said...

I disagree. If Orientalism is prejudice against the Orient, then seaism is prejudice against the sea. Unfortunately an analogy to 'racism' and 'sexism' cannot be constructed--for these are 'to show prejudice regarding the categories of race / sex'--and there is no category to which both sea and land belong, unless perhaps you would favour 'elementism'.