Maritime Anthropology

Elective Course | 2 ECTS | Námskeið: CRD 15

Kennari: Dr. Catherine Chambers

Námskeiðslýsing í kennsluskrá

Um námskeiðið

The course focuses broadly on maritime human cultures but also specifically considers the Westfjords, and as a result incorporates several practical assignments involving cultural institutions, such as Byggðasafn Vestfjarða, Blábankinn, Ósvör, and Rannsóknasetur Háskólans á Vestfjörðum. I prefer to slightly adapt the course to students interests, and set an open assignment where they can explore what intrigues them most based on course readings and discussions. It is theoretical as well as practical combining the best of both.


Dr. Catherine Chambers is the Research Manager of the University Centre of the Westfjords. 


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 living and historical 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. 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, socio-ecological systems and resilience theory, fisheries management, community-based management, human-animal relationships, and perceptions of the environment.

On completion of the course, a student:

  • can explain academic concepts used to understand the anthropological dimensions of coastal and marine systems.
  • can describe the main legislation, methods, principles and techniques of underwater archaeological investigation
  • can explain how maritime and coastal heritage is presented to the public, and which conflicts occur regarding heritage and conservation
  • can explain international rules and treaties regarding marine resources and cultural heritage
  • can discuss challenges of connecting anthropological perspectives and the study of ecological systems.