Maritime, Coastal and Riverine Histories & Cultures


Dr David Worthington, Dr Kathrin Zickermann

Maritime, Coastal and Riverine histories & cultures [image provided courtesy of Sue Jane Taylor]This research grouping tracks inland waterways to the sea, showing how histories and cultures have been created around, and influenced, rivers, deltas, estuaries, ports and intertidal spaces en route to the ocean.

Both Zickermann and Worthington take an early modern, European focus. Zickermann analyses the commercial and maritime networks of Scottish merchant families, her work broadening to focus on the development of northern European ports, while Worthington’s contribution has been mainly in the area of coastal history, assisted by the innovative, collaborative Royal Dornoch PhD Studentship.

We developed and launched, in 2017, the first ever taught programme in this area, our MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures, available both locally and globally. The early appeal of this has been reflected in the inspirational Fulbright Specialist Programme visit to Dornoch of Dr Julie Brown, a scholar of coastal and maritime literature from Clatsop Community College, Oregon, USA.

Riverine history is developing rapidly as a subfield, being the focus of PhD student, Jane Thomas’s research. Port history meanwhile, is a long established area. Moving to the coast, our work shows that, while ‘navies’, ‘battles’ and ‘empires’ are crucial to the macro-history of such spaces, focusing exclusively on these can under-represent local agency and the foreshore. In response, we organised the first-ever conference and publishing the first book length publication and a blog on the coastal history theme.

The Riverine, coastal and maritime histories and cultures alliance combines research of global importance with groundbreaking, original and innovative teaching, public engagement and co-curation.