My name is Rachael Squire and I am a PhD candidate in Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway University of London. This blog will follow the course of my PhD as I get to grips with exploring the geopolitics of ‘man in the sea’ – how the sea and its depths have been inhabited, inscribed, and utilised by militaries (such as the US and the UK). I’m particularly interested in questions relating to ‘the body’ (both human and non-human), mimetics and the militarisation of nature, and the experimental context of the Cold War. My case studies will potentially include endeavours such as SEALAB and the US Navy Marine Mammal Program.
The PhD (a working abstract)
Whilst the discipline of geopolitics has traditionally been wedded to terrra firma, geographers such as Phil Steinberg and Kim Peters have set about looking seaward. My thesis sits within this maritime turn and seeks to critically engage with the geopolitics of man’s interaction in seapace – not just on it. Drawing on the work of Stuart Elden and others engaging with territorial volume and verticality, I seek to position the sea as more than a mere surface to be horizontally crossed or vertically passed through. Rather, my thesis will consider sea-space as both an integral element of the territorial volume but also as a significant geopolitical volume in and of itself that has been inhabited and appropriated by man (sic). Using a combination of secondary sources, archival resources, interviews with former divers, scientists, and submariners in the UK and the US, I thus seek to explore the geopolitics of ‘man in the sea’ through projects such as SEALAB, the intersection of science, the natural world, and the military, and the sea in the imaginations of writers and directors.