- Introduction: The Space of Aquapelago 10.21463/shima.aq.anth.int
- Aquapelagos and Aquapelagic Assemblages: Towards an integrated study of island societies and marine environments
Archipelago, aquapelago, aquapelagic assemblages, Island StudiesThe loose interdisciplinary field known as 'Island Studies' has recently recognised the need to formulate an address to archipelagos in addition to the more atomised or generalised studies that have typified its first two decades of operation. While this is a significant development in itself, it also serves to identify the necessity for a more holistic comprehension and analysis of the interrelation of marine and terrestrial spaces in areas of the planet in which small fragments of land are aggregated in marine spaces. In order to focus on the character and dynamics of the latter, this paper proposes a reconceptualisation of such spaces in terms of their constituting 'aquapelagic assemblages'; a term I propose to emphasise the manner in which the aquatic spaces between and around groups of islands are utilised and navigated in a manner that is fundamentally interconnected with and essential to social groups' habitation of land.
- Shima and Aquapelagic Assemblages: A Commentary from Japan
Archipelago, aquapelago, aquapelagic assemblage, shima, JapanThis commentary is a response to Hayward's article about aquapelagos elsewhere in this issue (2012), mainly elaborating on his passages concerning Japan by providing a response from that national context and adding some theoretical considerations pertinent to his concept of 'aquapelagic assemblages'. In order to bridge the two parts, I re-introduce and re-characterise the spatial idea of shima, which I initially proposed in an earlier article in this journal (Suwa, 2005), as a type of aquapelagic assemblage.
- Archaeology, Aquapelagos and Island Studies
Archaeology, archipelago, aquapelago, Mediterranean, MaltaThe burgeoning concept of the aquapelago is reviewed here in general terms and specifically in light of its applicability to archaeology, where a comparable debate has been taking place over the development of an archaeology of the sea to match that of the islands. The study of the sea in its own right is a promising approach, nonetheless we should still aim to address the continuum formed by islanders, land and sea.
- Getting Wet: A Response to Hayward's concept of Aquapelagos
Archipelago, aquapelago, maritimity, ocean, seaThis brief rejoinder explores some of the nuances of the archipelago as they connect and contrast with Philip Hayward's suggestions (elsewhere in this issue). In particular, it charts three sets of navigational forays into the implications of a stronger appreciation of the marine in island(er) lives.
- Seas As Places: Towards a maritime chorography
Aquapelago, chorography, local knowledgeThis short response to Hayward's proposal of the concept of aquapelagos elsewhere in this issue provides a context for such re-imaginings of place and human occupation and identifies chorography as a potential model for further exploration.
- The Constitution of Assemblages and the Aquapelagality of Haida Gwaii
Aquapelago, aquapelagic assemblages, actants, Haida Gwaii, Gwaii HaanasAquapelagos can be defined as assemblages of the marine and terrestrial spaces of groups of islands and their adjacent waters that are generated by human habitation and activity. This article explicates the nature of an assemblage (in this context) and addresses the manner in which assemblages are constituted at particular historical points and subsequently modified due to indigenous and/or exogenous processes, influences and/or events. It outlines the parameters of these modifications and the variegation of aspects of aquapelagality. The article uses the communally constituted locale of the Haida Gwaii aquapelago as a paradigmatic example with particular regard to historical factors and particularly those related to the establishment of the Gwaii Haanas marine conservation area and Haida heritage site. Discussion of these aspects illuminates key elements of the concept of the aquapelago.
- Naming the Aquapelago: Reconsidering Norfolk Island fishing ground names
Toponymy, fishing ground names, language aesthetics, linguistic fieldwork, toponymic ethnography, aquapelagoFishing ground names are an understudied taxon in toponymy. By reviewing the author's recent consideration of this toponym taxon, this article claims that an aesthetic appreciation of fishing ground names and their emplacement as linguistic and cultural ephemera is warranted within Island Studies and recent scholarship in aquapelagos.
- The Island/Sea/Territory Relationship: Towards a broader and three dimensional view of the Aquapelagic Assemblage
Aquapelagic assemblage, aquapelago, Channel Islands, Island Studies, maritories/merritoires, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, TrinidadThrough my research in geography I have developed a particular interest in insularity and territorialisation of marine spaces. By linking these two elements, the concept of aquapelagic assemblage has appeared at the right time and provides me with the opportunity of making a contribution to the exchanges about it in two directions. The first will pick up Philip Hayward’s remark that aquapelagic research “does not simply offer a surface model, it also encompasses the spatial depths of the water” (2012a: 5). This sentence reminds us of the stress on the issues that constitute – out of any specifically insular context – an important tendency in the appropriation process of marine space. Furthermore, the author, in a second article, has taken care to dispel doubts on a question which, he tells us, produced a reaction in a number of readers of his initial exposition of the concept – namely that the aquapelagic assemblage cannot simply be equated with archipelagic sites (2012b: 1-2). By promoting this concept, he establishes a distinction of a chorographic nature that deserves to be extended to more strictly insular and coastal contexts. I will return to this point in the second part of this article, principally with reference to examples of islands with which I am more familiar.
- Skimming the Surface: Dislocated Cruise Liners and Aquatic Spaces
Cruise ships, floating, aquatic spaces, aquapelagoModern, highly facilitated and luxurious cruise ships provide a highly particular type of environment and a very particular placement within oceanic and harbour spaces. In these regards they may be understood as floating entities effectively removed from their locales or, rather, as removed as they can be, barring issues of technological failure, accident and/or intrusion of extreme weather or geo-physical phenomena. Conceptualised as ‘floating pleasure palaces’, they are less like islands (with their complex gradations of connection to and social engagement with aquatic and sub- surface topographic space) and (increasingly) more like hovercraft that skim across aquatic surfaces. Indeed, in many recent examples, the access to and connection with the marine space that provides the medium for and rationale of ‘the cruise’ is marginalised. This essay begins to theorise the rationale implicit in such disconnections.
- Career Decision Making in Island Communities: Applying the concept of the Aquapelago to the Shetland and Orkney Islands
Orkney, Shetland, aquapelago, careers, migrationGeographical location plays an important part in the career decision making of young adults, both in terms of the economic opportunities provided by the local labour market, and in terms of framing the social and cultural context within which decisions are made. Despite employment and migration being key concerns within island settings, little research has been done into the role of island contexts within career decision making of young islanders. In order to conceptualise the role of island contexts, this paper explores the potential of the concept of the aquapelago – identifying how the notion of the aquapelago brings together three key aspects of island contexts: labour markets, migrations and cultural background. The paper concludes that the concept provides a useful reframing of island contexts, but suggests that a greater awareness of diversity between different island aquapelagos and different inhabitants within these aquapelagos may be necessary.
- Chorographing the Vanuatu Aquapelago
Chorography, water music, aquapelago, aquapelagic assemblage, sand drawing, multiscalar, VanuatuThis article applies the concept of aquapelagic assemblages to an understanding of artistic and cultural expression in Vanuatu. Using the radical interdisciplinarity of a chorography, I explore the ways that ni-Vanuatu cultural practices such as water music and sand drawing manifest themselves as components of aquapelagic assemblages. Building on Epeli Hau’ofa’s idea of the Pacific as a “sea of islands” (1993) this article continues a project that privileges the voices of ni-Vanuatu artists and cultural producers. A sand drawing is presented as a chorographic inscription of multiscalar Oceanian ontologies informing an analysis of the livelihood aspects of human and non- human (inter)relations in-between, throughout and with islands, shores, seabeds and waters. This chorographic approach foregrounds the multiscalar dimension of aquapelagic assemblages and the interdependence of different aquapelagic assemblages with 21st Century globalised industry, science, and development. A case study of the Leweton community, featured in the Vanuatu Women’s Water Music DVD, shows that the framework of aquapelagic assemblages has value for revealing the creative processes in generating innovations in local art forms and the step-by-step process of commodification of intangible cultural heritage.
- [Feature Review] Sea Otters, Aquapelagos and Ecosystem Services
Haida Gwaii, sea otter, aquapelago, aquapelagic assemblages, ecosystem servicesN.A Sloan and Lyle Dick’s Sea Otters of Haida Gwaii: Icons in Human-Ocean Relations (2012) provides an historical overview of sea otter populations in Haida Gwaii, their environmental context, the crucial role that human intervention has played in their decline and a discussion of the impacts of their possible reintroduction to the region. This review essay considers conceptual aspects of the volume with regard to the reviewer’s previous discussion of Haida Gwaii as a paradigmatic aquapelago (Hayward, 2012b) and outlines how an awareness of the sea otters’ role in particular historical ‘acts’ in the aquapelagic space can inform understandings of the constitution of such spaces.
- Observations on the Concept of the Aquapelago Occasioned by Researching the Maldives
aquapelago, performativity, amphibious history, the MaldivesIn my recent work on the Maldives (Bremner, 2016), I drew on Hayward’s notion of the aquapelago (Hayward 2012a, 2012b) to theorise the Maldives and to develop a new metageographical concept for architecture in today’s globalised world. In this short contribution to Shima debates, I will highlight my observations on the Maldives and the concept of the aquapelago occasioned by this work.
The following articles published in other journals also contribute to development of the concept of the aquapelago:
- The Aquapelago and the Estuarine City: Reflections on Manhattan Urban Island Studies n1 (2015)
- Sounding the Aquapelago: The cultural-environmental context of ni-Vanuatu women's liquid percussion performance Perfect Beat: The Pacific Journal of Research into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture v15 n2
- Aquapelagic Assemblages: Performing Water Ecology with Harmattan Theater 10.1353/wsq.2017.0021 WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, v45 n1 & 2, Spring/Summer 2017
Islands & Micronationality Anthology
- Introduction: Islands and Micronationality (v2) 10.21463/shima.im.anth.int
- Captain Calamity’s Sovereign State Of Forvik: Micronations and the Failure of Cultural Nationalism
Micronations, Forvik, cultural nationalism, Shetland, independence movementsMicronations are often viewed as humorous phenomena, but, when linked to serious political movements, they have the potential to exert real political influence. In 2008, Stuart Hill (known as Captain Calamity) founded the micronation of Forvik on a small island in the archipelago of Shetland (Scotland, UK). Arguing that Shetland had never become part of the Scottish state, Hill sought to use Forvik as the springboard for a Shetland-wide self-determination movement. Although Hill’s rationale was primarily economic, Shetland possessed a strong pre-existing sense of cultural distinctiveness and tendencies toward cultural nationalism, which came to be popularly associated with Hill’s project. The Forvik micronation, however, received virtually no popular support, and, since its founding, Hill has struggled to make his argument heard through an amused global media and a hostile court system. Ultimately, this micronation has been detrimental to the development of a genuine Shetland self-determination movement and has weakened Shetland’s culturally rooted resistance to wider Scottish nationalism. This study illustrates how, far from bolstering associated nationalist movements, some micronations may lower them into ridicule and defeat.
- Contested Space: National and Micronational Claims to the Spratly/Truong Sa Islands - A Vietnamese Perspective
Truong Sa, Spratly Islands, Bien Dong, South China Sea, Vietnam, micronationsThe archipelago located in the eastern Pacific Ocean around 4-11 degrees North and 109-117 degrees East, known in English language as the Spratly Islands, in Vietnamese as the Truong Sa Islands and in Chinese as the Nansha Islands, has been subject to contesting claims that have intensified in recent decades with the growing perception that the area has substantial sub-surface oil and/or mineral deposits that could prove a lucrative asset to whichever country can establish a definitive claim over and related exploitation of them. Following an account of Vietnam’s historical presence in the area, the article discusses some of the more fanciful micronational claims that have been made over the region and Vietnamese efforts to consolidate their claim to sovereignty in the face of contesting claims from other regional powers. [Editorial Note – Shima invites submissions offering other perspectives on disputed island and marine sovereignty issues in the South East Asia Pacific region.]
- Queer Sovereignty: The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands
Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, micronationThe Gay and Lesbian Kingdom (G&LK) seceded from Australia in 2004. Emperor Dale Parker Anderson declared independence upon raising the rainbow pride flag on Cato Island in the Coral Sea Island. The decision to secede was made as a response to the Australian government’s 2004 action in presenting the Amendment of the Marriage Act 1969. In giving my account I draw on a 2007 interview, correspondence with Emperor Dale and other ethnographic material concerning the G&LK. Among other articulations, I consider its secessionist move in light of Linda Bishai’s critique in Forgetting Ourselves (2004). This is that for all its liberationist motivation, secession is essentialist in its conception, and inherently anti-democratic; her prediction is that its preoccupation with state formation is making it irrelevant in the age of ‘rhizomatic’ community networks. In its micronationalist ‘queering’, however, I find secessionist politics more relevant in late modernity, not less, as the pluralising democratic politics of identity and representation are increasingly unable to contest key outcomes of ‘family values’ and ‘national values’ rhetoric in the 21st Century. [Editorial Note – This is a revised version of an essay that was originally published in the journal Cosmopolitan Civil Societies in September 2009]
- “This Mere Speck in the Surface of the Waters”: Rockall aka Waveland
Rockall, Waveland, Greenpeace, UNCLOSRockall is a tiny granite knoll isolated in the stormy waters of the North Atlantic. It is not habitable and has of itself no economic value. However, given its location it has been a prize insofar as at one time it was thought its possession could bring control of an exclusive economic zone. Iceland, Ireland and Denmark laid claim in addition to the UK, which had annexed Rockall in 1955, the last territory to be taken into the British Empire. In 1972 Rockall was declared to be part of Scotland. However the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (1982) now precludes rocks incapable of supporting life to be awarded economic zones. Interest in Rockall then reverted to symbolism especially in its occupation by Greenpeace in 1997 when the global state of Waveland was declared from Rockall’s summit, with Rockall itself as the capital. Greenpeace stayed on Rockall longer than anybody else and a claim has been established to it thereby, but Waveland itself collapsed with the failure of the company that serviced its online presence.
- North Dumpling Island: Micronationality, the Media and the American Dream
North Dumpling Island, Dean Kamen, micronationalityNorth Dumpling Island is a 3-acre stretch of land off the Atlantic Coast of the United States. The island has had five known owners since 1639, the most recent of whom is famed inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen. In 1986, Kamen launched a humorous campaign for the island’s secession in response to the State of New York’s denial of permission to build a wind turbine tower on his residentially zoned island property. The following article traces highlights of the media’s response to that campaign and discusses how Kamen has leveraged media publicity around his claims for micronationality to draw attention to his scientific and environmental initiatives, including a micronational model for sustainable energy consumption.
- In a Stew: Lamb Island’s flirtation with micronationality and the related consideration of a local representative body for the Southern Moreton Bay Islands
Lamb Island, micronation, South Moreton Bay, Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI), QueenslandThis research note profiles the background to the short-lived secessionist impulse on Lamb Island in Southern Moreton Bay, Queensland (Australia) in 2013, the role that the media played in disseminating news about the initiative, the manner in which it was represented and its local significance. Further to this, the note outlines the manner in which discussions concerning the viability of an independent council for the four inhabited Southern Moreton Bay Islands (Lamb, Karragarra. Macleay and Russell) relate to the impetus for Lamb Island’s flirtation with micronationality.
- Shards of the Shattered Japanese Empire That Found Themselves as Temporary Micronations
Micronations, Japan, Bonin/Ogasawara, Izu islandsIn this short research note, I present a couple of instances in the 20th Century when some Japanese islands temporarily became tiny independent political entities not because of a conscious push to make them so, but because the islands went overlooked in the midst of international political maneuvering. In a manner of speaking, the islands were small and insignificant (and, being islands, not part of mainland Japan) isolated enough that when world leaders drew broad sets of lines on a map, it was easy to overlook the fact these islands had fallen through the cracks.
- “Give Me Fish, Not Federalism”: Outer Baldonia and Performances of Micronationality
Atlantic Canada, Outer Baldonia, micronation, performance, environment, diplomacyIn 1949 Russell Arundel, an American businessman and sport tuna fisherman, asserted the sovereignty of a small island off the south coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Arundel drafted a Declaration of Independence for the ‘Principality of Outer Baldonia’ and declared the nascent micronation to be a space of recreation, relaxation and tuna-fishing. International newspapers began to cover the story, and a critical letter in the Soviet Liternaya Gazeta prompted a flurry of tongue-in-cheek responses from Baldonian ‘citizens’. Although ownership of the island was transferred to the Nova Scotia Bird Society in 1973, the history of Outer Baldonia reveals a great deal about the types of social performances that correspond with declarations of micronational sovereignty. This article explores how the events surrounding the creation of Outer Baldonia reflect mid-20th Century elite attitudes towards nature and wilderness, as well as non-state diplomacy in the Cold War era.
- Islonia: Micronationality as an expression of livelihood issues
Islonia, Dry Island, micronation, absurdity, livelihood, shima, aquapelagoThis article describes the manner in which the owner-inhabitants of Dry Island, off the coast of the Western Scottish Highlands, claimed micronational status (as ‘Islonia’) in 2013, examines their reasons for claiming this status and identifies the results of the venture. Drawing on these characterisations, the article discusses the expression of local livelihood issues in micronational discourse and the manner in which local issues pertaining to Dry Island/Islonia can be understood with regard to the concepts of shima and aquapelagism advanced within Island Studies.
- Fleeting and Partial Autonomy: A historical account of quasi-micronational initiatives on Lundy Island and their contemporary reconfiguration on MicroWiki
Lundy, temporary autonomous zones, micronations, virtual micronations, MicroWikiMicronations are small territories that have been identified as independent by individuals or communities without recognition of that status by either the nation states within whose borders they fall and/or relevant international bodies. The term is of comparatively recent coinage and has largely been used to refer to entities that have claimed autonomous status since the 1960s. As a result, discussions of the phenomenon (such as those included the 2014 theme issue of Shima on islands and micronationality – v8n1) have tended to avoid engagement with the pre-history of the concept and have not examined how and why certain locations (and, especially in this context, types of islands) have leant themselves to quasi-micronational ventures at particular historical points. This article discusses the manner in which the history of the (now indisputably) English island of Lundy has seen a number of quasi-micronational incidents and outlines the shifting nature of their bases and manifestations. The article’s analyses emphasise the significant role that geography and, particularly, (in)accessibility play in forging micronational endeavours. The final section expands this frame of reference to discuss the imaginative reconfiguration of quasi-micronational initiatives on Lundy through the virtual micronation of the ‘New Kingdom of Lundy’ constituted within the online MicroWiki arena.
- Micro Nation – Micro-Comedy
Television, online television, comedy, micronations, Pullamawang IslandThis article considers how the concept of micronationality served as a launching pad for a broadcast comedy, the 2012 Australian television series, Micro Nation, set on the fictional island of Pullamawang. I argue that by setting the series within a fictional micronational environment, the creators were able to develop a distinct type of situation for the comedy, embedding the theme of relative size and isolation as a key aspect of the show’s content and utilising unusual production and broadcast techniques. The article’s analysis draws on literature from Television and Broadcast Studies, Island Studies and Genre Studies and reflects on the media representation of micronations more generally.
- Sark And Brecqhou: Space, Politics and Power
Brecqhou, politics, power, Sark, spaceSark is a British Crown Dependency that could be described as a type of micronation. It has been a fief of the Crown since the 16th century, and in the 21st Century instituted a form of democratic government. While not part of the UK, nor a sovereign state in its own right, Sark is a self-governing territory within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and has substantial political autonomy, with its own legislature and judicial system. Sark’s political context comprises a binary existence as a jurisdiction spanning two populated islands: Sark and Brecqhou. This inter-island setting is complicated by Brecqhou having a special relationship with some privileges within the Fief of Sark, and offers a further level of quasi-micronationalism. This article discusses the history of Sark’s and Brecqhou’s inter- island relations. In the context of examining this island binary and the background to the contested ownership of Brecqhou and challenges to Sark’s political system, emphasis is placed on reframing the islands’ intertwined history and locality in connection with notions of space, politics and power. There have been various disputes over Sark and Brecqhou for many centuries, and in recent years the current owners of Brecqhou have argued that the island does not fall under Sark’s jurisdiction. This article shows that Sark exists in several ways within different island groupings and political relationships, and argues that closer analysis of this island context contributes both a case study of inter- island relations to Island Studies, and more broadly to re-thinking the political geography of islands in the context of spatial and power relationships.
- Brecqhou's Autonomy: A Response to Henry Johnson’s ‘Sark and Brecqhou: Space, Politics and Power’ (2014)
Brecqhou, Sark, Barclay Brothers
- The Sark/Brecqhou Dyad: Jurisdictional Geographies and Contested Histories
Sark, Brecqhou, politics, power, spaceOver the past few decades, the islands of Sark and Brecqhou have featured in much media and legal discourse. Such factors as jurisdictional contestation, tension and criticism have arisen either between the owners of the private island of Brecqhou and the jurisdiction in which it is located, or as a result of other factors that have an association with Brecqhou on the larger island of Sark. As a type of microstate with a contested history and distinct traditional ways of life, the jurisdictional geographies in the Sark/Brecqhou dyad are of particular interest to the field of Island Studies. I use the term ‘Sark/Brecqhou dyad’ as a way of emphasising the distinct physical, political and social binaries that exist between the islands of Sark and Brecqhou. It is argued that key to understanding some of the points of contestation within and between this island dyad is a comprehension of some of the ways jurisdictional geographies and contested histories have been (re)interpreted. This article is an extension of my earlier article on the subject (Johnson 2014), and one that offers clarification, or one interpretation, of several significant points that help in comprehending this particular case of inter- and intra-island dynamics.
- [Correspondence Received] Sark and Breqhou (Continued)
- Operation Atlantis: A case-study in libertarian island micronationality
Operation Atlantis, micronations, seasteading, libertarianismThis article discusses Operation Atlantis, a project by a millionaire pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Werner K. Stiefel, to build a libertarian micronation off the coast of the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It reviews the history and motivations behind Operation Atlantis and discusses how it relates to contemporary libertarian new-nation ventures. Operation Atlantis developed in parallel to ‘back-to-the-land’ communities, which used small-scale technology to return to a ‘natural’ state through simplicity and self-sufficiency. But the main influence on Stiefel’s project was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957), a novel inscribed with her Objectivist philosophy that tells the story of a group of millionaire industrialists who find refuge in a hidden community, Galt’s Gulch, also referred to as Atlantis. Interestingly, in recent years, a number of new offshore micronational projects sharing common influences and purposes and, in their own way, reviving the legacy of Operation Atlantis, have been launched in the United States. The Seasteading Institute is a non-profit working to build floating island nations. Designed as a ‘post-political’ manufactured space, Stiefel’s Operation Atlantis and seasteading borrow aspects of the cruise ship. To better understand the motivations behind Operation Atlantis and similar projects and to situate them within Island Studies, it is helpful to adopt Hayward’s concept of aquapelagos and uncover the disconnection between libertarian offshore micronations and the aquatic environment they intend to occupy.