Cover image for Maritime Animals: Ships, Species, Stories Edited by Kaori Nagai

Maritime Animals

Ships, Species, Stories

Edited by Kaori Nagai


$125 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09537-0

Available as an e-book

240 pages
6" × 9"
12 b&w illustrations

Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures

Maritime Animals

Ships, Species, Stories

Edited by Kaori Nagai

Maritime Animals provides a readable, highly entertaining, fascinating look at the roles animals and other non-human agents played in the making of the maritime world.”


  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
  • Subjects
This volume explores nonhuman animals’ involvement with human maritime activities in the age of sail—as well as the myriad multispecies connections formed across different geographical locations knitted together by the long history of global ship movement.

Far from treating the ship as a confined space defined by the sea, Maritime Animals considers the ship’s connections to broader contexts and networks and covers a variety of locations, from the Canadian Arctic to the Pacific Islands. Each chapter focuses on the oceanic experiences of a particular species, from ship vermin, animals transported onboard as food, and animal specimens for scientific study to livestock, companion and working animals, deep-sea animals that find refuge in shipwrecks, and terrestrial animals that hunker down on flotsam and jetsam. Drawing on recent scholarship in animal studies, maritime studies, environmental humanities, and a wide range of other perspectives and storytelling approaches, Maritime Animals challenges an anthropocentric understanding of maritime history. Instead, this volume highlights the ways in which species, through their interaction with the oceans, tell stories and make histories in significant and often surprising ways.

In addition to the editor, the contributors to this volume include Anna Boswell, Nancy Cushing, Lea Edgar, David Haworth, Donna Landry, Derek Lee Nelson, Jimmy Packham, Laurence Publicover, Killian Quigley, Lynette Russell, Adam Sundberg, and Thom van Dooren.

Maritime Animals provides a readable, highly entertaining, fascinating look at the roles animals and other non-human agents played in the making of the maritime world.”
“With each chapter focusing on relationships between humans, ships, and different animal species, Maritime Animals redefines the scope of what we see as maritime into a less anthropocentric conceptualization of ocean-based interactions. Through animal case studies, the authors present the maritime world as a complex ecology of human and nonhuman interactions, mediated through the technologies of ships. This book makes valuable contributions in particular to animal studies, environmental history, ecocriticism, and maritime history.”
“The ten chapters in Maritime Animals challenge academic norms, be it through the unusual species being written about (snails, worms, reptiles), or via the uncanny theorizations of space and time, as explored from the perspective of nonhuman species. This collection pushes maritime studies into new directions, including a better appreciation of relationships between animals and shipping, history and ecology, pests and colonialism.”
“In a rare feat for edited collections, there is no weak essay among the bunch. Every contribution is both interesting and a delight to read. From animals intentionally brought onto ships to those which came of their own accord, from horse to sponge, this volume offers us a vision of how broad animal studies can be.”

Kaori Nagai is Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Kent. She is the author of Empire of Analogies: Kipling, India and Ireland and Imperial Beast Fables: Animals, Cosmopolitanism, and the British Empire.

List of Illustrations



Kaori Nagai

1. Islands, Oceans, Whaling Ships, and the Mutable Ontologies of the Galápagos Tortoise

David Haworth and Lynette Russell

2. Shipworms and Maritime Ecology in the Age of Sail

Derek Lee Nelson and Adam Sundberg

3. Sheep from Cowes: Using a Shipboard Diary to Explore Animal Mobilities

Nancy Cushing

4. Weapons, Commodities, Subjects: Stories of Horses at Sea

Donna Landry

5. Repatriating Castaways: Travel Tales of the Tuatara

Anna Boswell

6. Rattus- Homo- Machine: Rats as Seafarers in the Nineteenth Century

Kaori Nagai

7. “Beloved Member of Our Team”: The Sled Dogs of the St. Roch

Lea Edgar

8. The Decontextualized Deep: Fathoming the Whale

Jimmy Packham and Laurence Publicover

9. The Encrusting Ocean: Life- Forms of the Spongy Wreck

Killian Quigley

10. Drifting with Snails: Stories from Hawai‘i

Thom van Dooren

List of Contributors


Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction