Book Review – ‘The New Coastal History: Cultural and environmental perspectives from Scotland and beyond’ by Jamin Wells

By Jamin Wells, published March 2021


Our coasts matter. They are among the most populated, sought after, contested, and dynamic landscapes in the world. They are also among the least understood, at least by historians. The 17 essays in David Worthington’s tightly edited volume, begin to fill this gap in the scholarship while making an impassioned case for readers to ‘accept the emergence of a new and coequal subfield’ (p. 32).

This volume is the product of the first academic conference on coastal history, held at the University of Highlands in Dornoch, Scotland, in Spring 2016. The New Coastal History makes a strong case for the need, value, and potential of ‘asking coastal questions’ about the past that serious students of the human relationship with the sea should contend with. Time will tell whether adopting the trappings of an independent subfield with a specialized argot is the most effective way to ‘mainstream coastal history.’ Either way, this collection will be a touchstone for years to come.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Period | North Sea | Irish Sea | Eighteenth Century | Other (Twentieth C) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

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