New & Noteworthy Items

Dr. St. Martin's article published in Society & Space

Read Kevin St. Martin's newest article on new productions of ocean space that are informed by growing global practices of information-gathering, geocoding, and synthesizing via networks of scientific and political actors. The article, titled "Ocean Data Portals: Performing a New Infrastructure for Ocean Governance," was co-authored with collaborators at Duke University, Eckerd College, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, and is forthcoming in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

The article considers a “third phase” of ocean enclosures taking place around the world. This phase has involved an unprecedented intensity of map-making that supports an emerging regime of ocean governance where resources are geocoded, multiple and disparate marine uses are weighed against each other, spatial tradeoffs are made, and exclusive rights to spaces and resources are established. The discourse and practice of marine spatial planning inform the contours of this emerging regime. This paper examines the infrastructure of marine spatial planning via two ocean data portals recently created to support marine spatial planning on the East Coast of the United States. Applying theories of ontological politics, critical cartography, and a critical conceptualization of “care,” we examine portal performances in order to link their organization and imaging practices with the ideological and ontological work these infrastructures do, particularly in relation to environmental and human community actors. We further examine how ocean ontologies may be made durable through portal use and repetition, but also how such performances can “slip,” thereby creating openings for enacting marine spatial planning differently. Our analysis reveals how portal infrastructures assemble, edit, and visualize data, and how it matters to the success of particular performances of marine spatial planning.

Kevin EPD Article Image
Asking "What worlds are created through the ocean data portal maps," Dr. St. Martin and his colleagues show the tension created in new  visualizations of the ocean that depict dynamic actors on static maps.

The article has been published online in advance of its print edition, which will be forthcoming later in 2019. The full article can be viewed here: