I started this blog a little over a year ago after an inspiring “public engagement” workshop at the University of Delaware. I envisioned it to be a platform to share research, receive feedback on my dissertation, and, well, engage the “public” (whatever that means). I never thought I’d enjoy it as much as or learn as much as I have. It’s been fantastic! Many thanks to everyone who reads, comments, or has stumbled upon Ships on the Shore. Come back! Click around — there are a couple of hundred posts about everything “shipwreck” buried in the archives.
One of the most fulfilling/surprising aspects of doing this blog 4 or 5 times a week for 13 months has been finding the connections between my research on 19th-century shipwrecks and what’s happening in the world today. Just this year we’ve had the hoopla over the Titanic anniversary and the shipwreck and salvage of the Costa Concordia. Not to mention a gaggle of new archaeological “discoveries” and the whole Black Swan saga. Shipwrecks are everywhere, if you’re looking that is. No need to head to the dusty bins of history. But we do–most of us are as are fascinated historical shipwrecks as modern ones. Shipwreck tourism of one form or another is (nearly–there are a few naysayers) ubiquitous and this blog is another manifestation of it.
Why this collective fascination with costly, often deadly disasters? Why do people flock to shipwrecks? Why do disasters ‘draw’? What are the broader consequences of shipwreck tourism? These are deeply historical questions I’m trying to take a stab at through this blog and my dissertation. Fortunately, work on the blog has helped clarify the dissertation. Just this morning I stumbled upon video above. It’s a compelling, insightful meditation by Georg Keller about the tourism that has sprung up around the Costa Concordia. I’ve taken a few notes from it and I hope you enjoy it too.
Back to work…