Large ocean wave crashing
In recent years, oceans have become increasingly central to our contemporary sense of environmental crisis, as emphasised by recent phenomena such as The Blue Planet II
This module helps students understand how literature has engaged with oceans as central to histories of imperialism and the development of global capitalism which shape our contemporary world.
Book Beach Ocean Modernity Poetry

In this module 

We will encounter a diverse array of literary engagements with the ocean, ranging from Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad to contemporary writers like Amitav Ghosh and M. NourbeSe Philip. 
We’ll explore how these ocean imaginaries reveal shifting and intertwined cultural, global and ecological relations.
It is not an overstatement to claim that this module radically changed my thinking; both about the sea and literature. In class, we shared so many rich ideas that emerged through detailed analyses of selected passages and a great selection of additional theoretical arguments which we read and dissected together.  
There was also a wealth of secondary source material made available to us, I felt I was given a treasure chest of ideas to work with!  What made the module so stimulating was the creative way the literature has been curated for us. Exciting environmental issues, ocean themes, and experimental writing strategies threaded through from week to week, constantly expanding insights into oceanic ways of thinking and being.  
Elizabeth Perrotte, Graduate

Real-world experiences

Students have opportunities to consider representations of the sea across a range of different cultural forms, including journalism, wildlife documentary, museum curatorship, visual art exhibition and more.
By engaging with emergent and complex areas of academic debate, this module enhances students' skills and confidence in high-level critical thinking and debate. Students also design their own essay topic, developing their skills in project management and independent research.
Kehinde Wiley Narrenschiff, 2017. Installation view: Kehinde Wiley: In Search of the Miraculous, solo exhibition, Stephen Friedman Gallery (2017–2018). Copyright Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo by Mark Blower. 
Shoal of small fish swimming together over seafloor with seagrass, Atlantic ocean.

The Future

Taking this module gave me the confidence to attempt to think independently with theoretical tools.  The module has stimulated a new passion for studying literature; this is a gift for the rest of my life.  Furthermore, the learning experience of the module has already translated into professional practice.  I have been translating ideas about the ocean environment from the books and poetry we studied into some talks I have been giving both in art history and environmental education.
Elizabeth Perrotte, Graduate

Academic staff

Mandy Bloomfield leads and teaches this module, which is underpinned by her research on how literature engages with changing cultural imaginaries of the sea in a time of globalisation and environmental crisis. 
Mandy Bloomfield (cropped)

Mandy Bloomfield

Mandy Bloomfield is known internationally for her work in ecocriticism and environmental humanities. Her most recent publications include an article on poetry and ocean plastics “Widening Gyre: A Poetics of Ocean Plastics.” Configurations, 27.4 (2019): 501–523 and a forthcoming piece on Pacific Ocean poetics, entitled “'From This Invisible Archipelago:' The Oceanic Ecopoetics of Craig Santos Perez" to be published in the journal Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment