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Title: 'The Last of the earth's frontiers' : Sealab, the aquanaut, and the US Navy's battle against the sub-marine
Author: Squire, Rachael
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 6457
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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From 1957-1969, at the height of the Cold War, the US Navy in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research conducted a series of pioneering experiments designed to enable 'man' to live and work for extended periods of time beneath the sea. Led by Capt. Dr George Bond, the projects (Project Genesis, Sealab I, Sealab II, and Sealab III) involved sending teams of divers, or 'aquanauts' as they were known, to live in hyperbaric chambers and undersea habitats positioned at various depths for days and weeks at a time. Whilst the gaze of publics and scholars were often pointed to Outer Space, we see here an extraordinary demonstration of a Cold War belief that humans should not be constrained by their terrestrial roots. This thesis engages with this set of case studies to make a number of interventions in geographical scholarship. The first attends to literature on the intersections of science, the military, and technology during the Cold War, arguing that novel insights can be produced into this complex at the bottom of the sea. The second deals with questions surrounding temporality, embodiment, technology, and volume in relation to the constructs of territory, terrain, and the elemental. In the third instance it draws on literature from cultural geography, anthropology, and sociology to argue for geopolitical practices that are more open to experimentation and playfulness. Finally, the thesis concludes by offering the framework of 'extreme geographies' as a means of furthering engagements with 'hostile' spaces within the field of political geography scholarship and beyond.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available