The Coastal History Blog

Welcome to The Coastal History Blog!

I am Dr Isaac Land, Professor of History at Indiana State University. I introduced the term “coastal history” in a review essay that was published in the Journal of Social History in 2007.  Since then, we have held the first coastal history conference (“Firths and Fjords” at the University of the Highlands and Islands, in Spring 2016) and there are plans afoot for an interdisciplinary Coastal Studies journal.  A volume edited by David Worthington, The New Coastal History, was published in October 2017.

What’s coastal history about?  You might take a look at one of my recent posts, Conference (and Roundtable!) Roundup for an overview and some definitions… and quibbles about definitions.  For a shorter statement, you can read my guest blog over at Firths and Fjords: Coastal History: Who, What, and Why?

There seems to be a convergence of energy and talent around these issues.  Notice the number of scholars in diverse fields who have suggested new vocabulary in recent years: there’s Christer Westerdahl’s “maritime cultural landscape,” the Norse term “kystkultur,” David Jarratt’s “seasideness,” Gerard Le Bouedec’s “paramaritime,” and Michael Pearson’s “littoral society.”  Even more recently, Alison Bashford called for a new subfield of “terraqueous history.”  In my chapter in The New Coastal History volume, I suggested that

“We are in the middle of the biggest reappraisal of how historians should approach watery topics since the days of Fernand Braudel.”

Stay tuned to this blog to watch it unfold.

Follow the link to view the posts: The Coastal History Blog archive or scroll down for the fully linked articles in publication order.

Want kindred spirits to know about your coastal history work?  Make sure to use the term, and cite other people who use it!  Also, take advantage of the hashtags #coastalhistory or #coastalstudies that are growing in popularity on Twitter.

We welcome your comments!  We also welcome proposals for guest posts, including by dissertation writers and Early Career Researchers.  Please familiarize yourself with the blog before proposing a guest post.  Guest posts that address conceptual issues or offer a synthesis of recent scholarship are especially welcome.  If you are interested in writing a guest blog, please contact Isaac directly at .


Blog 1: What Is the “Coast” in Coastal History?

Blog 2: What Makes Coastal History Distinct? (part 1 of 2)

Blog 3: What Makes Coastal History Distinct? (part 2 of 2)

Blog 4: Are Islands Insular?

Blog 5: What Are Beaches For?

Blog 6: The Political Economy of Sand

Blog 7: The Tolerant Coast

Blog 8: Rivers of the Anthropocene

Blog 9: Coasts of the Anthropocene

Blog 10: Crossing the Bay of Bengal

Blog 11: Women in Port

Blog 12: Women as Tavern Keepers

Blog 13: Gérard Le Bouedec’s sociétés littorales  

Blog 14: On Serendipity in Research

Blog 15: Imperial Russia Salutes its Navy (Julia Leikin guest post)

Blog 16: The Pious Coast

Blog 17: Iain McCalman’s Great Barrier Reef

Blog 18: Offshore and Offshoring

Blog 19: The Versatile Coast

Blog 20: Contemplating Time and Tide in the Sailor’s Magazine

Blog 21: The Cosmopolitan Port Town—Is There Any Other Kind?

Blog 22: Trained Researcher’s Eye… and What It Misses

Blog 23: Sailors on Bicycles

Blog 24: Port Geography at the Crossroads

Blog 25: The Encroaching Coast

Blog 26: Dibdin conference report

Blog 27: The Sailor’s Yarn

Blog 28: Jews and Muslims in Twentieth-Century France: The View from a Port Town

Blog 29: Are Islands Natural Prisons? (Katy Roscoe guest post)

Blog 30: Maritime Heritage and Social Justice

Blog 31: New Scholarship on the Press Gang part 1

Blog 32: New Scholarship on the Press Gang part 2

Blog 33: The Intolerant Coast  

Blog 34: Two Years of the Coastal History Blog

Blog 35: Firths and Fjords (David Worthington guest post)

Blog 36: A Pacific Blackbirding Narrative (Karin Speedy guest post)

Blog 37: A Cosmopolitan Bronze Age Port?

Blog 38: Sea Blindness, or Ocean Optimism? (part 1 of 3)

Blog 39: Sea Blindness, or Ocean Optimism? (part 2 of 3) A Tale of Four Tweets

Blog 40: Sea Blindness, or Ocean Optimism? (part 3 of 3) Epiphany among the Manta Rays

Blog 41: Beneath the Pavement—The Beach! (Elsa Devienne guest post on Urban Beaches Workshop at the University of London)

Blog 42: Conference (and roundtable!) roundup

Blog 43: Why the Coastal History of Brittany Matters (Harry Brennan guest post)

Blog 44: Preserving South Street Seaport

Blog 45: Crime Alley? Port Cities and Batman’s Gotham (guest post by Madison Heslop)

Blog 46: Watery New York

Blog 47: Elevated Waterfronts: Bird’s-Eye View Maps and Urban Coastal History (guest post by Sean Fraga)

Blog 48: The re-invention of the modern beach

Blog 49: Coastal dunes as historical subjects / As dunas costeiras enquanto objecto da história (guest post by Joana Gaspar de Frietas)

Blog 50: Catching a Wave – Seven Years of the Coastal History Blog

Blog 51: Following the Nile to Coastal History (guest post by Sam Grinsell)

Blog 52: The Fresh and the Salt – Ann Lingard’s Solway