About this collection

Icaraí Beach, Caucaia, Brazil, 2016.

Coastal History is at home in the shallow waters (bays, coves, estuaries, firths, fjords, inlets), but it also speaks to interstitial watery realms (straits and portages; reticulated systems of lakes, rivers, or inland seas; archipelagoes or island clusters). With its focus on the local, the adjacent, and the domestic, it is grounded in the specificities of physical places, searching at the same time to relate these to the wider world. Coastal History is especially well-suited to investigating the range of subject matter that is sometimes overlooked as “not-quite-oceanic,” yet “not-quite-terrestrial.” Its ambition is to embrace the entire array of human or more-than-human elements imbricated in these hybrid spaces.

In recent years, historians have proposed a host of new conceptual frameworks in this area, from Michael Pearson’s “littoral societies,” Isaac Land’s “coastal history,” Alison Bashford’s “terraqueous history,” and John Gillis’ discussion of the ecotone in The Human Shore. But there is still a fresh open debate about what Coastal History might include. Anthropocene coasts, in particular, present interpretive challenges as heavily engineered environments where human and natural agencies exist in a state of dynamic tension. Whether or not coasts can ever be managed, or sea level rise mitigated, it is impossible to study shorelines today without confronting fundamental questions of value, meaning, responsibility, praxis, and social justice in a time of global crisis.

Information on how to contribute.


Isaac Land. Professor of History at Indiana State University, he originated the term coastal history in a 2007 review essay and has maintained The Coastal History Blog since 2013.


Joana Gaspar de Freitas. Coordinator of Project Sea, Sand, People. An Environmental History of Coastal Dunes, founded by a European Research Council Grant. Researcher of the Center of History, at the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon.



26 results
Environmental Dimensions of the RMS Leinster Sinking
Connolly, Claire, Singer, Rita, Smith, James L. Arcadia, Autumn 2021, no. 32
Disconnectivity in the Age of Globalization: Coastal Ecology, Telegraphy, and Empire in the Sunda Strait, 1863–1883
Toivanen, Mikko Arcadia, Summer 2021, no. 28
Development or Dunes? The Long Struggle to Protect Perth’s Scarborough Beach Coastal Reserve
Gulliver, Robyn Arcadia, Summer 2021, no. 20
Sea Where there Once was Land: Redcar, England
Richer, Suzi Arcadia, Spring 2021, no. 18
The Remarkable Ray of Dublin’s Ringsend
Scherer, Cordula Arcadia, Autumn 2020, no. 41
From Nature to Infrastructure: Vallisaari Island in the Helsinki Archipelago
Bhowmik, Samir Arcadia, Summer 2020, no. 28
The Consequences of “Flying Sands” in the Cávado River Mouth (1700–1750)
Lopes, Ana Isabel Arcadia, Summer 2020, no. 27
The Polluted Past of the Whaling Town Hachinohe
Holm, Fynn Arcadia, Spring 2020, no. 16
The 1096 Eichō Earthquake and Tsunami
Buhrman, Kristina Arcadia, Spring 2020, no. 14
The Aura River Ice Jam in Turku, March 1903
Norrgård, Stefan Arcadia, Spring 2020, no. 10
The Hub’s Archipelago: The Connected Histories of Boston and Its Harbor Islands
Šimková, Pavla Arcadia, Spring 2020, no. 7
Seed Oysters in Entangled Worlds: Ecological Disturbances, Knowledge Making, and Potentialities in Miyagi, Japan
Yoshida, Mariko Arcadia, Autumn 2019, no. 47
Facing Changes, Changing Targets: Sperm-Whale Hunting in Late Eighteenth-Century Brazil
Vieira, Nina, Hayes, Patrick, Matthews, Al Arcadia, Autumn 2019, no. 44
How a Catastrophic Flood of the Gürbe River Triggered the Rethinking of Local Flood Protection
Salvisberg, Melanie Arcadia, Summer 2019, no. 27
Defending the Shoreline: From Cannon to Beach Nourishment in Gulf Islands National Seashore
Casey, Alanna Arcadia, Summer 2019, no. 19
Living on Coral Time: Debating Conservation in the Anthropocene
Braverman, Irus Arcadia, Spring 2019, no. 1
Beauties and Beasts: Whales in Portugal, from Early-Modern Monsters to Today’s Flagship Species
Brito, Cristina Arcadia, Autumn 2018, no. 21
Dike 14, Cleveland, Ohio: Containing Pollution in the Age of Ecology
Stradling, David Arcadia, Summer 2018, no. 15
The Lost Lakes of Bangalore
Nagendra, Harini, Unnikrishnan, Hita Arcadia, Spring 2018, no. 13
Creating Safety, Courting Disaster on the Lower Shinano River, Japan
Brown, Philip C. Arcadia, Autumn 2017, no. 26
Small-Scale Fisheries versus Whale-Watching Tourism: The Story of Puerto López
Barragán Paladines, María José Arcadia, Spring 2017, no. 3
Molluscan Explosion: The Dutch Shipworm Epidemic of the 1730s
Sundberg, Adam Arcadia 2015, no. 14
The 1969 Flood and Coastal Erosion on Cape Pitsunda
Yakushenko, Olga Arcadia 2014, no. 13
A Muddy Transnational Park: The Wadden Sea
Wöbse, Anna-Katharina, Ziemek, Hans-Peter Arcadia 2014, no. 10
The North Sea Flood of 1953
Hall, Alexander Arcadia 2013, no. 5
The Great Flood of 1962 in Hamburg
Mauch, Felix Arcadia 2012, no. 6