Metamorphosis afloat: pirate ships, politics and process, c.1680–1730

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14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper follows some late-seventeenth and early eighteenth century pirate ships, focusing upon the moments when these most enigmatic and elusive of ocean-going vessels were appropriated and inhabited by mutinous mariners who literally risked their necks to take charge of them. This paper builds upon recent work in mobilities and oceanic studies which is developing more materialist perspectives as a means for better understanding the seas and ships as lived, dynamic spaces. By exploring some of the ways that pirate ships were crafted and modified, and then occupied, at the turn of the eighteenth century, this paper contributes new perspectives on the formation of piratical spaces and identities, and in the process, the role of mobilities and spatialities in creating spaces afloat. The paper argues for a greater acknowledgement of the role of process in the making of space and mobility at sea as a means of better understanding the complex geographies of the pirate ship and the experiences of those who sailed aboard them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-368
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2014


  • eighteenth century
  • historical geography
  • mobilities
  • piracy
  • politics
  • ship
  • space


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