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Blue Planet, Black Lives: Matter, Memory, and the Temporalities of Political Geography

Steinberg, Philip (2022) 'Blue Planet, Black Lives: Matter, Memory, and the Temporalities of Political Geography.', Political Geography, 96 . p. 102524.


This article considers how the ontological challenges posed by the ocean's materiality and the porous boundaries of marine ecologies and economies aligns with scholarship emanating from Black and Caribbean thought to rethink the linear histories and unitary identities that underpin modernist narratives. Focusing on the debate in Bristol, England in 2020 and 2021 concerning the disposition of the toppled statue of slave trader Edward Colston, the article engages postcolonial Caribbean theory and art to problematise the linear temporalities associated with solid land and the singular histories that are narrated through fixed memorialisations. As an alternative, the temporality of the ocean is called upon, because of its specific role in the histories of Colston, Bristol, and British imperialism, but also because of the ways in which oceanic ontologies complicate accepted divisions between past, present, and future, between scales of experience and explanation, between rootedness and connection, and between life and death.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 12 November 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2021 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:10 October 2021
Date deposited:11 October 2021
Date of first online publication:12 November 2021
Date first made open access:12 November 2023

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