Negotiating Waters: Seas, Oceans, and Passageways in the Colonial and Postcolonial Anglophone World

André Dodeman, Nancy Pedri (Eds.)

by Alex Zukas (National University in San Diego), Irina Kantarbaeva-Bill (University of Toulouse, France), Caitlin Charman (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Jean-Luc Tendil (University of Avignon, France), Rhonda Semple (St. Francis Xavier University), Marie-Géraldine Rademacher (University of Tokyo, Japan), Lisa Moore (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Svetlana Stefanova (International University of la Rioja, Spain), Neela Cathelain (Tufts University), Suhasini Vincent (University of Paris 2, France), Claire Perrin (Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, France)

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This book examines how seas, oceans, and passageways have shaped and reshaped cultural identities, spurred stories of reunion and separation, and redefined entire nations. It explores how entire communities have crossed seas and oceans, voluntarily or not, to settle in foreign lands and undergone identity, cultural and literary transformations. It also explores how these crossings are represented. The book thus contributes to oceanic studies, a field of study that asks how the seas and oceans have and continue to affect political (narratives of exploration, cartography), international (maritime law), identity (insularity), and literary issues (survival narratives, fishing stories).

Divided into three sections, Negotiating Waters explores the management, the crossings, and the re-imaginings of the seas and oceans that played such an important role in the configuration of the colonial and postcolonial world and imagination. In their careful considerations of how water figures prominently in maps, travel journals, diaries, letters, and literary narratives from the 17th century onwards, the three thematic sections come together to shed light on how water, in all of its shapes and forms, has marked lands, nations, and identities. They thus offer readers from different disciplines and with different colonial and postcolonial interests the possibility to investigate and discover new approaches to maritime spaces. By advancing views on how seas and oceans exert power through representation, Negotiating Waters engages in important critical work in an age of rising concern about maritime environments.

André Dodeman and Nancy Pedri

Part 1: Controlling Water

Chapter 1 Negotiating Oceans, Islands, Continents, and British Imperial Ambitions in the Maps of Herman Moll, 1697-1732
Alex Zukas

Chapter 2 Journeys to the Source of the River Oxus: Victorian Desires, Colonial Texts
Irina Kantarbaeva-Bill

Chapter 3 “Newfoundland’s Robinson Crusoe?”: Mobility, Masculinity, and the Failure of Ecological Management in Michael Crummey’s Sweetland
Caitlin Charman

Part 2: Crossing Water

Chapter 4 William Braford’s Of Plimoth Plantation: Crossing the Ocean, Travelling between Two Poles of Being
Jean-Luc Tendil

Chapter 5 “Whatever Passes through the Paths of the Sea” (Psalm 8:8): Shipboard Liminality and the Sea Voyage as the Crucible of Missionary Identity from the 1820s to the 1920s?
Rhonda Semple

Chapter 6 Crossing the Sea: Marie Stopes’ Expedition to the Northern Wilds of Japan as Expression of Transcontinental Contacts and Cultural Exchange
Marie Géraldine Rademacher

Interlude: Interview with Lisa Moore

Part 3: Reimagining Water

Chapter 7 Waterways and Ships as Heterotopias of Memory in Caryl Phillips’ Narratives
Svetlana Stefanova

Chapter 8 The Poetics of Water in Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy
Neela Cathelain

Chapter 9 Material Ecocriticism: Maritime Trade, Displacement, and the Environment in Amitav Ghosh’s Fictional Waterscape
Suhasini Vincent

Chapter 10 Negotiating Water in Times of Drought: An Ecocritical Study of Cli-fi Novels Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife and Benjamin Percy’s Dead Lands
Claire Perrin



André Dodeman is Associate Professor at Grenoble Alpes University (UGA) in the Foreign Languages department. He defended his PhD thesis on Canadian writer Hugh MacLennan and his novels in November 2008 under the supervision of Professor Marta Dvorak (Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle). He has written articles on Hugh MacLennan, Mordecai Richler, David Adams Richards, and Farley Mowat. Current interests include Canadian literature and film, postcolonial theory, and teaching creative writing.

Nancy Pedri is Professor of English at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Her major fields of research include word and image studies, photography in literature, and comics studies. She has edited and co-edited several volumes, including one on photography in fiction for Poetics Today, photography in comics for Image & Narrative, and another on mixed visual media in comics for ImageText. She has published many articles in her fields of interest, and her co-­‐authored book, Focalization in Action that examines the focalization concept in a broad range of comics will be published with Ohio State University Press. Her co-­‐authored article, “Focalization in Graphic Narrative,” won the 2012 Award for the best essay in Narrative.

Postcolonial, history, fiction, oceanic studies, environment, migration, cartography

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Negotiating Waters: Seas, Oceans, and Passageways in the Colonial and Postcolonial Anglophone World





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


9 B&W

Publication date

January 2020