Jo Stanley’s GenderedSeas – A Blog that fully embraces an inclusive maritime history

This short article presents one of the longest running and most outstanding Blogs that cover the greater topic of maritime history.[1] This blog has a special focus on the different roles and perceptions connected with all genders. The Blog is called: GenderedSeas – http://genderedseas.blogspot.com

Who runs the Blog and what is it about?

The Blog is created by a single author, the distinguished maritime historian Jo Stanley. She is a free historian and works with different universities, museums and partners in public history to further our knowledge about maritime history and uncover forgotten stories.

Jo Stanley has published many books on the history of women at sea, covering a vast range of space and time. Her works are cornerstones for all projects which – like my Blog here – set out to explore maritime history. Although she doesn’t limit herself to a certain era, her work is mostly focused on the 19th, 20th and 21th century. Beyond historiographical work in the narrow sense, Jo Stanley has also written fiction and is very much interested in uncovering modern life stories.

Her list of publications includes the amazing read: Bold in her breeches. Women pirates across the ages. Paperback ed. London: Pandora 1996.

The topic of the Blog and Stanley’s leading questions are best described in her own words:

„This blog looks at maritime history from a different perspective. A ship is not just a ship. The sea is not just the sea. Using a cultural studies approach, this blog explores the impact of women, LGBT people, working-class people and people from a range of ethnic backgrounds, on the sea and shipping. And it questions the ways that the sea and ships in turn affect such people’s lives and mobility.“

This description clearly shows why Jo Stanley’s Blog and the project „Identifying Maritime Women“ have a lot in common. Yet Stanley explores the question of gender more extensively  and also expands it to work on all fields of the classic trias of intersectionality: Race, Class and Gender.

What can be found on that site?

Jo Stanley established her Blog in the year 2008 and has since published more than 200 articles on this platform. Many of these articles are rather short updates on her own projects as well as those of her fellow partners, however others are longer and present original work.

The topics she delves into are mostly focused on modern times or actual events. Stanley published many articles on the cruise industry since the nineteenth century, exploring the role of women on board as well as the history of gay or queer seamen. She followed her interest in this field right into contemporary history by writing several articles about the sinking of the ship Costa Concordia.  Similarly, Stanley connects her insight into historical female pirates with articles of modern-day piracy in Somalia from a gendered perspective.

The bulk of her articles deals with presentations of websites, exhibitions, reviews of books, plays or movies and above all personal stories about the achievements of seafaring women and LGBTQ people.

But there is more. Additionally, Stanley not only offers insight into many of her own projects, but also into those of her partners,  and thus allows readers to learn about the job of a free historian working in the field of maritime and public history.

I’d like to highlight two of her articles as starting points for explorating the site.

The first one is about enslaved women and their forced migration:

http://genderedseas.blogspot.com/2014/12/enslaved-women-on-ships.html

The second one is a review of a play about female pirates from a feminist viewpoint.

http://genderedseas.blogspot.com/2012/05/piratical-theatricals-and-1970s.html

TLDR:

All in all, Jo Stanley accomplishes remarkable work on her Blog http://genderedseas.blogspot.com. She broadens and enriches maritime history as a whole, after it has long been understood as nothing but the recorded deeds of heroic male captains and hardy sailors with a lass in every harbor.

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[1] I thank Ariana Baray for proofreading this article.


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