Centre for the Novel research seminar

Centre for the Novel research seminar

This is a past event

Prof. Timothy Baker, 'Towards a Queer Maritime Theology: Sex, God, and the Sea in Recent Neo-Victorian Fiction'

Abstract: A number of contemporary novelists have offered queer perspectives on the sea. The sea is not simply a setting for queer expression, but invites a broader thinking of relationality and boundaries. The connection between water and relationality is likewise apparent in contemporary theological perspectives.

This paper examines how thinking of queerness, the sea, and relationality together, from both literary and theological perspectives, can illuminate ways in which contemporary novelists challenge traditional notions of God, nature, and history. Ian McGuire’s The North Water (2016) and Hannah Kent’s Devotion (2021) do not simply add to the body of neo-Victorian fiction that looks at globalisation and science in relation to oceanic travel by adding queer characters.

This paper argues further that the novels illustrate theologian Jacob Erickson’s ‘fragile hunch that sexuality, ecology, and divinity are all intimately implicated in each other’. Examining these novels from a variety of perspectives, including queer theology, blue humanities scholarship, and contemporary ecocriticism reveals the capacity of contemporary historical fiction to think through and with important questions in contemporary theory, and reveal new forms of relation.

Professor Timothy Baker
Lower Ground Seminar Room, The Sir Duncan Rice Library

There is no need to register for in-person attendance. To attend online via Teams please email helena.ifill@abdn.ac.uk for the link.

This is open to all.