Research seminar in cultural anthropology: Figures of the Strait: trade and circulation at a maritime crossroads with Hege Høyer Leivestad

  • Date: –12:00
  • Location: Join Zoom Meeting
  • Lecturer: Hege Høyer Leivestad, Stockholm University
  • Organiser: Institutionen för kulturantropologi och etnologi
  • Contact person: Mats Utas
  • Seminarium

The Strait of Gibraltar – where only 14 kilometres separate Europe from Africa at the narrowest point- is a seascape shaped by the conjunction of maritime routes. In an area of intensive trade and geopolitical tension, the Strait is a symbolic crossroads that tells a long history of circulation through contested space.

In this talk I approach the Strait from its northern shores, from a border area that hosts Spain’s largest container port and that Spanish media repeatedly describes as a haven for contraband. At the centre of this talk we find the ethnographic encounters with three material figures of mobility that stand against the backdrop of discourses about global trade and regional relations. The Asian Megaship, the Tangier Ferry and La Narcolancha not only serve to support local and national understandings of self and others, but also echo transnational ideas about global trade and critical border areas.

Hege Høyer Leivestad is Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at Stockholm University. Leivestad also works as a Researcher in the ERC funded project PORTS at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. She is the author of the monograph Caravans: Lives on Wheels in Contemporary Europe (Bloomsbury 2018). Her current book project The Port: Life and Labour at a Maritime Crossroads, is based on fieldwork in a Spanish container port.