Maritime Anthropology

CRD15 Elective 4 ECTS
Period -
Instructor Dr. Lara Hogg


The ocean and coastal areas of the world are intimately connected to human systems. This course will explore the social and cultural dimensions of coastal and marine management through the lens of anthropology focusing on contemporary and historical human cultures. We will examine the relationships between humans and the marine environment historically and cross-culturally while attempting to understand not only how we manage, but the worldviews and cultural specifics that dictate why we manage marine systems in the way we do. This module will consider the main issues facing maritime archaeologists and heritage managers. It will involve an in-depth examination of the archaeological record through the maritime technologies, histories of environmental change, the record from submerged landscapes and coastal sites. Further, using Iceland as a key study area, consideration will be given to how contemporary society choses to preserve and display maritime heritage, the conflicts of development vs. conservation, excavation vs. monitoring, legislation and current threats to the maritime zone. The course will introduce specific theoretical traditions, including: traditional and local ecological knowledge, maritime history and folklore, and the sociology of scientific knowledge. Students will become familiar with topics in coastal heritage, underwater archaeology, heritage preservation and engagement, socio-ecological systems and resilience theory, fisheries management, community-based management, human-animal relationships, and perceptions of the environment.


At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify primary academic and scholarly concepts used to understand the anthropological dimensions of coastal and marine systems.
  • Outline the range and scope of underwater archaeological evidence; Describe the main legislation, methods, principles and techniques of underwater archaeological investigation; Critically evaluate the record and data to contextually analysis the findings within the broader heritage framework.
  • Understand how maritime and coastal heritage is presented to the public, and be aware of positive and negative ways that heritage can be used, and how it can be disseminated. Students will be able to critique heritage representations and uses of heritage.
  • Collaborate with heritage organisations, government bodies, specialists and the public to disseminated maritime anthropological and heritage research and data.
  • Understand the challenges associated with coastal and maritime heritage and archaeology, and how to determine the best resolutions.
  • Be familiar with international rules and treaties regarding fisheries management, access to marine resources, and cultural heritage from various places around the world.
  • Foster interdisciplinary discussion of the contributions and challenges of applying anthropological perspectives to the study of fishery and coastal systems.
  • Communicate the main issues and aspects of a topic related to human-environment relationships to the public in oral and written form.