Elin Jones

Elin Jones

 

Elin is currently working on a CDA project with the National Maritime Museum and Queen Mary University London, where she is based in both the History and Geography departments. This project focuses on the material and spatial worlds of the officers and crew of the Royal Navy between the years 1756 and 1815. Her aim is to unpack the ways in which these worlds intersected with the social, cultural, and professional understanding of the men who boarded men-of-war during this period, and to examine how masculine identities in this period were mediated through objects and spaces, both on ship and on shore. Naval officers shopped for, exchanged, and appropriated their material possessions in a series of arenas. Elin’s project hopes to examine such material artefacts and arenas in order to place naval officers as denizens of sea and land, rather than culturally marooning them as seafaring exceptions. This will also provide a route to understanding the complex relationships of the Navy with broader histories of the eighteenth-century. Elin’s work thus far has involved analyses of cabin furniture, the sea-chest, and navigational instruments, and will in the future include weaponry, tools, and the material reifications of punishment on board the ship. An understanding of how these objects function in a socio-cultural framework accompanies an employment of the tenets of historical geography, which seeks to unravel the ways in which gender, space, and authority intersect. The ship in itself was a material object which contained within it overlapping spaces of leisure, work, and domesticity. Unravelling how these spaces were formed, used, and discussed is therefore central to creating a more three-dimensional understanding of the naval officer and rating than the one currently held. As part of the 100 Hours Project, Elin hopes to expand her reading of material objects in to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and to apply her understanding of material culture and historical geography to new objects and spaces. Analysing the object’s geographical trajectory, cultural meanings, relationships with individuals and institutions; all will form part of a contribution to the 100 Hours Project, and to a greater understanding of the part of the material world in historical analysis.

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