Lecture 3. Ship I

This lecture presents some of the key ways in which early boats and ships have influenced architecture and organization of space starting some 3000 BCE. Boats and ships are the oldest and most enduring technology of globalization. They not only facilitated repeated attempts of people to spread out of Africa. They produced new type of urban centers, port cities / exchange hubs, trading centers, special building typologies like warehouses and shoreline factories designed especially for export. Today, in our contemporary context, ships have become meaningless vessels: pure instruments of exchange of goods, military surveillance, and naval warfare. But in early fishing communities (Haida), industrial centers (Lothal), imperial temples (Pharaonic Egypt), as well as the contemporary endangered agrarian villages (Toraja) economic function of the ship was integrated into worship rituals of cosmological beliefs of return, animation of all objects and beings with the same spirit, and other spiritual meanings. Ships were sacred, community building, spatial entities. They were meaningful. This lecture is the first of a pair of lectures on ships. Ship II discusses the radical transformation in the role of ships from Renaissance onwards with the growing European hegemony of the world, the development of slave trade, plantation economy, colonization of Americas and Australia.

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