The ocean has always been the harbinger of strangers to new shores. Migrations by sea have transformed modern conceptions of mobility and belonging, disrupting notions of how to write about movement, memory and displaced histories. Sea Log is a memory theater of repressive hauntings based on urban artifacts across a maritime archive of Dutch and Portuguese colonial pillage.

Colonial incursions from the sea, and the postcolonial aftershocks of these violent sea histories, lie largely forgotten for most formerly colonized coastal communities around the world. Offering a feminist log of sea journeys from the Malabar Coast of South India, through the Atlantic to the North Sea, May Joseph writes a navigational history of postcolonial coastal displacements. Excavating Dutch, Portuguese, Arab, Asian and African influences along the Malabar Coast, Joseph unearths the undertow of colonialism’s ruins. In Sea Log, the Bosphorus, the Tagus and the Amstel find coherence alongside the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Written in a clear and direct style, this volume will appeal to historians of transnational communities, as well as students and scholars of cultural studies, anthropology of space, area studies, maritime history and postcolonial studies.

chapter |12 pages


Writing Anthropocene

part I|1 pages


chapter 1|15 pages

Indian Ocean affect

chapter 2|10 pages

Sea of shock

chapter 3|10 pages

Ocean ontologies

chapter 4|24 pages

Contested visuality

part II|1 pages


chapter 5|7 pages

Cochin, Dhow City

chapter 6|15 pages

Dar es Salaam, socialist utopia

chapter 7|11 pages

Hanoi palimpsest *

chapter 8|14 pages

Bamiyan pillage

chapter 9|10 pages

New York

Archipelagoes of the unseen

chapter 10|6 pages

Deciphering the Indian Ocean