Hello! My name is Giulia Champion and, like Lauren Nixon, I have also recently joined Haunted Shores as a Research Associate and here’s a few words about me and my research. I am looking forward to read and hear more about everyone at Haunted Shores.
I am a “plague doctor” as my friend and colleague Dr Freya Verlander calls everyone who, like the two of us, has submitted and passed their viva during the Covid-19 pandemic. I submitted my thesis at the University of Warwick in April 2020 during the first lockdown and passed my viva exactly a year ago at the end of July 2020. The pandemic seems to have exacerbated the isolation that has always been an element of the academic experience, especially that of PhDs and ECRs. I remember that submitting my thesis online and turning off MS Teams after my viva felt quite anti-climactic, and I will be sad to miss yet another graduation given that I have also missed my BA and MA ones! However, the pandemic has also given us a space in which we can actually connect virtually more easily having normalised online conference and teaching, which in some cases require commuting and travelling, often at a level that can be barely afforded as a PhD or ECR. In particular, the Haunted Shores: Coastlands, Coastal Waters and the Littoral Gothic Symposium was one of the most effective and inclusive online events I had been to since the normalisation of virtual conferences. Taking place in March 2020, it housed so many fascinating and exciting recorded presentations on a MS Teams space allowing for an incredible intellectual and human exchange across disciplines and internationally. For this reason, I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to join the developing Haunted Shores Network. It not only espouses my personal ethics and values, but also my research priorities and interests aiming to be an international and interdisciplinary research networking which is welcoming and supporting of academics at all stages of their career and in particular of ECRs (from PGT to post-PhD).
Moreover, its focus on all things Gothic, spectral, and coastal, and on issues pertaining to climate crisis intersect with my own research interests. Indeed, during my thesis I researched monstrous figures along with speculative and Gothic manners to discuss extractivism in all its forms: from seeing the Atlantic trade as an extraction of peoples to be exploited through enslaved labour on plantations, to focusing on contemporary neo-liberal extraction of oil and other natural resources. My thesis considered how the acceleration and exacerbation of anthropogenic climate change on the American continent can be traced through the history of colonialism and imperialism. And in this vein, the hauntings I considered are those of extinction, whether past, present, or future. An example that is very famous is that of the Caribbean Monk Seal: you can see more on this in the important and beautiful work of Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert here. I am waiting impatiently for the publication of her forthcoming book entitled Extinctions: Colonialism, Biodiversity and the Narratives of the Caribbean (see more here).
As my research has further evolved at the intersection of the Blue and the Energy Humanities and as a member of the Haunted Shores Network, I seek to investigate haunted shores and haunted depths in the cultural representations, ethical issues, and material impacts of offshore and deep-sea extractivism. In particular, I wish to see how Eco-Gothic and Eco-Horror as such permit us to identify eco-anxieties informing our perception of the deep sea, and comparatively and contrastingly considering Latin American and Caribbean narratives decolonising and demystifying the deep.
I am immensely grateful to Dr Emily Alder, Dr Joan Passey and Dr Jimmy Packham for creating a space in which I can engage with other scholars on topics about which I am so deeply passionate (pun intended). To Dr Lauren Nixon for her amazing work in developing this network and to all present and future members of the Haunted Shores Network, I simply cannot wait to meet you all!