—on shipping—

Charmaine Chua @CharmaineSChua on twitter

Everyone is talking about the big ship getting stuck in the #Suez Canal. Here’s a critical logistics reading list on the politics of how we got here -why ships are so huge, why there is a manmade canal cutting through a continent, why global supply chains seem so brittle, & more.

On the rise of the logistics revolution that shaped the martial politics of global trade from the 1960s to present, read @debcowen’s seminal The Deadly Life of Logistics pdf

This talk I gave at @SonicActs, also the partial subject of of my book manuscript, thinks through the irrational rationalities of obsessions with monstrous ships in the logistics industry, and the corresponding effects on global infrastructure video

@LalehKhalili’s wonderful Sinews of War and Trade is a tour de force history of the making or ports & shipping infrastructure in the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. Ch. 1, “route-making” has an important section on the Suez Canal pdf

On Barak’s “Powering Empire” is a powerful (literally) account of how the age of empire was driven by coal-powered steamships, leading to the globalization of carbon energy today. pdf

If you’re worried about ships hijacked by pirates as they reroute around the Cape of Good Hope, Jatin Dua’s “Captured by Sea” is essential reading; an account of the entanglements of insurance regimes and global capital with the history of Somali Piracy: book

In a study of the Panama Canal, @martindanyluk interrogates the interspatial global competition premised on attracting cargo traffic to ports and canals, representing capital’s tendency to produce “fungible space”: book

@outsidadgitator’s classic and crucial @Endnotes essay is a must-read on “counterlogistics” and the possibilities of repurposing global logistical circuits for the communist prospect; text

…which should be followed by Alberto Toscano’s excellent, comradely response: text

Years ago, I rode on an Evergreen container ship going from the Port of LA to KaoHsiung, Taiwan for 48 days. A series of five posts written onboard explores the everyday life of transoceanic shipping and its banal cruelties. (read from the bottom to top) text

Of course, Tim Mitchell’s Carbon Democracy is not to be missed; an agenda-setting account of the global shift from coal to oil and the rise of fossil-fueled capitalism grounded in global shipping mobilities pdf

Newly published, Alejandro Colas and @LiamCampling’s masterful Capitalism and the Sea covers an incredible geography and history of the political economy, ecology, and geopolitics of the global ocean. pdf

Edited by @martindanyluk, @debcowen, @LalehKhalili, and myself, this special issue of @societyandspace charts an agenda for critical logistics research, with excellent pieces by wonderful contributors such as @RafeefZiadah and Wes Attewell book

Finally, for those in the US interested in the consequences and effects of global just-in-time shipping on inland warehousing logistics, Juan De Lara’s “Inland Shift” is a wonderful account of the entwinements of race, space, labor and logistics: pdf

And Phil Neel’s “Hinterland” is a beautifully written account of the transformation of the geography of the US and China into a network of coastal hubs and logistical heartlands: pdf

A lot of wonderful work was not covered here; for those who want to dive deeper into global logistics and the ocean, I recommend @ProfPeterCole’s Dockworker Power; and the work of Katy Fox-Hoddess, Dave Featherstone, Elizabeth Sibilia, Phil Steinberg, & Hege Hoyer Leivestad.

What the ship stuck in the Suez Canal reveals about global trade—@CharmaineSChua & @MichaelBluhm at @thesignal: text

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