On 23 May 2022, Scottish Shores had its first in-person get-together at Edinburgh Napier’s Merchiston Campus. Today’s workshop introduced the project’s core topics. The project team comprises experts in Scottish literature, Gothic studies, coastal Gothic, the Blue Humanities – but no-one specialises in all four. So, Scottish Shores had to begin by establishing our shared ground while opening up each subject up to new ideas.

Jimmy Packham led an exploration of coastal Gothic. We discussed an extract from Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black and a short story by Lucy Wood, ‘Flotsam, Jetsam, Lagan, Derelict’. These stories established the way coastal Gothic plays with liminal zones, elemental instability, using shoreline environments and encounters to confront the uncomfortable.

Giulia Champion introduced the Blue Humanities, a relatively new areas in the broader field of environmental humanities, which historicises and rematerialises the sea and puts the ocean at the centre of a distinctive ontology.

Finally, Monica Germana introduced Scottish Gothic, exploring the distinctiveness of Scottish Gothic literature, and the prevailing critical narratives used to make sense of it.

In closing, we started to link what we had learned about Blue Humanities and coastal Gothic with our primary area of enquiry: Scottish cultural productions, literary and beyond. 

We agreed to each propose an individual, focussed research paper to further the project’s investigation into specific topics and texts, for presentation at the next workshop.

The following texts were discussed:

Scottish Gothic:

Angela Wright, “Scottish Gothic” in The Routledge Companion to Gothic, edited by Catherine Spooner, Emma McEvoy, Routledge, 2007, 87-96.

Christine De Luca, “A Bed of My Own” in UnCanny Bodies, edited by Pippa Goldschmidt, Gill Haddow, Fadhila Mazanderani, Luna Press Publishing, 2020, 125-135.

Kate Horsley, The Monster’s Wife, Barbican Press, 2014.

Gothic Coasts:

Lucy Wood “Flotsam, Jetsam, Lagan, Derelict” in The Sing of the Shore, 4th Estate, 2018.

M. R. James “A Warning to the Curious”, 1925.

Susan Hill “The Sound of a Pony and Trap” in The Woman in Black, 1983.

Blue Humanities:

Melody Jue and Rafico Ruiz “Thinking with Saturation Beyond Water: Thresholds, Phase Change, and the Precipitate”, in Saturation: An Elemental Politics, edited by Melody Jue and Rafico Ruiz, Duke University Press, 1-26.

Elizabeth Deloughrey “Submarine Futures of the Anthropocene” in Comparative Literature, 69:1, 2017, 32-44.

Read the project leader’s introduction to the workshop here.