Underwater Ruins and the Uncanny
Amsterdam University Press
Drawing on a broad theoretical range from speculative realism to feminist psychoanalysis and anti-colonialism, this book represents a radical departure from traditional scholarship on maritime archaeology. Shipwreck Hauntography asserts that nautical archaeology bears the legacy of Early Modern theological imperialism, most evident through the savior-scholar model that resurrects—physically or virtually—ships from wrecks. Instead of construing shipwrecks as dead, awaiting resurrection from the seafloor, this book presents them as vibrant if not recalcitrant objects, having shaken off anthropogenesis through varying stages of ruination. Sara Rich illustrates this anarchic condition with 'hauntographs' of five Age of 'Discovery' shipwrecks, each of which elucidates the wonder of failure and finitude, alongside an intimate brush with the eerie, horrific, and uncanny.
Sara Rich is a maritime archaeologist, art historian, artist, and author of speculative fiction. She is currently Assistant Professor of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies at Coastal Carolina University.