On the morning of May 7, 1965, the American freighter Cedarville collided with the Norwegian vessel Topdalsfjord in heavy fog in the Straits of Mackinac. Ultimately, ten crew members of the Cedarville died and a legal battle ensued implicating U.S. Steel---the company that owned the Cedarville---in the chain of events leading to the tragedy.
The Cedarville Conspiracy is the story of that doomed ship and its crew. It is also the first Great Lakes history to expose the heroism, villainy, courage, and confusion surrounding the Cedarville disaster.
In atmospheric, cinematic style, L. Stephen Cox's gripping page-turner dramatizes the events surrounding the collision between the Norwegian and American freighters. As the mortally wounded Cedarville began to list and sink, U.S. Steel refused to allow the crew to escape to safety, while the captain secretly donned his life jacket and abandoned the sinking ship. Ten seamen died in the frigid waters that morning as the captain and survivors swam to safety.
Researching the story, author L. Stephen Cox interviewed the surviving crew and their rescuers and attorneys, examined more than 20,000 pages of Coast Guard reports, and discovered deposition transcripts and other documentary evidence that detailed the deterioration of the ship, the captain's disregard of Great Lakes navigational rules, the company's participation in the decision to confine the men aboard the sinking vessel, and the subsequent efforts by U.S. Steel to manipulate the evidence.
Filipino seamen currently compose approximately twenty percent of the 1.2 million international maritime transportation workers. Ninety percent of the world’s goods and commodities are transported by ship. Taken together, these statistics attest to the critical role Filipino seamen play in worldwide maritime trade. In Filipino Crosscurrents, an interdisciplinary ethnography, Kale Bantigue Fajardo examines the cultural politics of seafaring, Filipino maritime masculinities, and globalization in the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora.
Drawing on fieldwork conducted on ships and in the ports of Manila and Oakland, as well as on an industrial container ship that traveled across the Pacific, Fajardo argues that Filipino seamen have become key figures through which the Philippine state and economic elites promote Filipino masculinity and neoliberal globalization. From government officials to working-class seamen and seafarers’ advocates, Fajardo’s wide-ranging analysis exposes the gaps in dominant narratives of Filipino seamen in national, regional, and global contexts.
Writing in a hybrid style that weaves together ethnographic description, cultural critique, travelogue, and autobiography, Fajardo invites readers to reconsider the meanings of masculinity and manhood.
In the 1940s, British shipping companies began the large-scale recruitment of African seamen in Lagos. On colonial ships, Nigerian sailors performed menial tasks for low wages and endured discrimination as cheap labor, while countering hardships by nurturing social connections across the black diaspora. Poor employment conditions stirred these seamen to identify with the nationalist sentiment burgeoning in postwar Nigeria, while their travels broadened and invigorated their cultural identities.
Working for the Nigerian National Shipping Line, they encountered new forms of injustice and exploitation. When mismanagement, a lack of technical expertise, and pillaging by elites led to the NNSL’s collapse in the early 1990s, seamen found themselves without prospects. Their disillusionment became a broader critique of corruption in postcolonial Nigeria.
In Nation on Board: Becoming Nigerian at Sea, Lynn Schler traces the fate of these seamen in the transition from colonialism to independence. In so doing, she renews the case for labor history as a lens for understanding decolonization, and brings a vital transnational perspective to her subject. By placing the working-class experience at the fore, she complicates the dominant view of the decolonization process in Nigeria and elsewhere.
Redburn is a fictional narrative of a boy's first voyage, based loosely on Melville's own first voyage to and from Liverpool in 1839. Hastily composed and little esteemed by its author, Redburn was more highly thought of by his critics, who saw it regaining the ground of popular sea stories like Typee and Omoo.
Melville so disliked the novel that he submitted it to his publisher without polishing it. This scholarly edition corrects a number of errors that have persisted in subsequent editions. Based on collations of the editions published during his lifetime, it incorporates corrections made in the English edition and emendations made by the present editors.
As with all the books in the Northwestern-Newberry series, this edition of Redburn is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
In the years before the Civil War, many Americans saw the sea as a world apart, an often violent and insular culture governed by its own definitions of honor and ruled by its own authorities. The truth, however, is that legal cases that originated at sea had a tendency to come ashore and force the national government to address questions about personal honor, dignity, the rights of labor, and the meaning and privileges of citizenship, often for the first time. By examining how and why merchant seamen and their officers came into contact with the law, Matthew Taylor Raffety exposes the complex relationship between brutal crimes committed at sea and the development of a legal consciousness within both the judiciary and among seafarers in this period.
The Republic Afloat tracks how seamen conceived of themselves as individuals and how they defined their place within the United States. Of interest to historians of labor, law, maritime culture, and national identity in the early republic, Raffety’s work reveals much about the ways that merchant seamen sought to articulate the ideals of freedom and citizenship before the courts of the land—and how they helped to shape the laws of the young republic.
Migrants made up a growing class of workers in late sixteenth- and seventeenth- century England. In fact, by 1650, half of England’s rural population consisted of homeless and itinerant laborers. Unsettled is an ambitious attempt to reconstruct the everyday lives of these dispossessed people. Patricia Fumerton offers an expansive portrait of unsettledness in early modern England that includes the homeless and housed alike.
Fumerton begins by building on recent studies of vagrancy, poverty, and servants, placing all in the light of a new domestic economy of mobility. She then looks at representations of the vagrant in a variety of pamphlets and literature of the period. Since seamen were a particularly large and prominent class of mobile wage-laborers in the seventeenth century, Fumerton turns to seamen generally and to an individual poor seaman as a case study of the unsettled subject: Edward Barlow (b. 1642) provides a rare opportunity to see how the laboring poor fashioned themselves, for he authored a journal of over 225,000 words and 147 pages of drawings. Barlow’s journal, studied extensively here for the first time, vividly charts what he himself termed his “unsettled mind” and the perpetual anxieties of England’s working and wayfaring poor. Ultimately, Fumerton explores representations of seamen as unsettled in the broadside ballads of Barlow’s time.