Institutt for arkeologi, historie, kultur- og religionsvitenskap

Deeply suspended in time. Oceanic remembering, (im)possible mourning, and the tempestuous temporalities of the Joola’s last voyage

Velkommen til foredrag med ph.d.-kandidat Louis-Emmanuel Pille-Schneider.


Forskergruppen for Miljøhumaniora inviterer til foredrag med ph.d.-kandidat i sosialantropologi, Louis-Emmanuel Pille-Schneider. Foredraget blir holdt på engelsk.

Moored in Les Veilleurs de Sangomar [The Watchmen of Sangomar] by Senegalese author Fatou Diome (2019), our article contributes to literature on oceanic excess(es) at the interface of critical ocean geographies, Black studies, and the blue humanities. On the sadly memorable night of September 26. 2002, an estimated 1863 people lost their lives to the Atlantic Ocean in Gambian territorial waters in the shipwreck of the Joola.

The Senegalese State-operated passenger ship shuttled between Ziguinchor, chef lieu of Casamance, the enclaved southern-most region of Senegal, and Dakar to the north, capital city of the country. Still today, this strikingly invisibilized collective tragedy remains an open wound in the history of Senegal. In the country’s seascape already bearing the scars of Portuguese and French colonization, of the transoceanic enslavement of African lives, and of the recurrent and often deadly ocean-borne attempts of people to reach Europe aboard pirogues in search of a better life, the story of the Joola adds to the deeply layered history of the Atlantic as an agent of lethal Black mobilities.

In this article, we argue that 20 years after the Joola capsized on a stormy night, the ocean-in-excess continues leaching into the lives of survivors and deceased’s relatives. Concurrently, the materiality of the ocean volume – or an excess oceanity, in the absence of the wreckage’s raise and thereby no halt being put to the Atlantic Ocean and its currents’ uninterrupted harming of the bodies it withholds, hinders any mourning closure. In the wake of the Joola’s last voyage, the Atlantic Ocean is thus being enacted as a deep volume of painful, necessary remembering, a volume of (im)possible mourning, in which tempestuous temporalities of past, present, and future in the liminality of oceanic im/materiality seem unreconcilable in the absence of (due justice for) the drowned.

Anyone interested is welcome!