Dr. Jonathan Stafford


  • 2018-2021: Arts and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Nottingham, Department of History
  • 2015-2018: Lecturer, Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University
  • 2011-2013: Associate Lecturer, Humanities, Kingston University
  • 2011-2015: PhD, ‘A Maritime Modernity: The culture of global travel aboard the steamships of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company’, Kingston University
  • 2009-2011: MA Cultural and Critical Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • 2002-2005: BA Hons Photography, Nottingham Trent University

Research Interests

  • Maritime History, Culture and Theory
  • Historical Geographies of Maritime Mobility, particularly in relation to Imperialism and Globalisation
  • The Visual and Material Culture of coastlines
  • History and Theory of Art, particularly representations of the maritime landscape
  • Social and Cultural Theory, particularly in relation to Modernity and Imperialism



  • Imperial steam: Modernity on the sea route to India, 1837–74 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2023)

Articles and book chapters

  • ‘Home on the Waves: Domesticity and Discomfort Aboard the Overland Route Steamship, 1842-1862’, Mobilities, 14 (2019), 578-595.
  • ‘Breaking Open the Container: The Logistical Image and the Spectre of Maritime Labour’, in Van Gelder, H and Streitberger, A, (eds.) ‘Disassembled Images’: Allan Sekula and Contemporary Art (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2019).
  • ‘A Sea View: Perceptions of Maritime Space and Landscape in Accounts of Nineteenth-Century Colonial Steamship Travel’, Journal of Historical Geography, 55 (2017), 69-81.


  • Stafford, J, and Umbach, M, ‘Photographs, Jews, and Nazis: The Politics of a Visual Archive, historically and today’, in Ashkenazi, O, and Kaplan, T, (eds.) Jewish History and Memory through Photography (New York: SUNY Press, 2023).


  • ‘Of its Time? The sea image as crisis and contemporaneity’ at 'Katastrophe und Zeitgenossenschaft: Zu den politischen Ikonographien des Schiffbruchs', Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, 6 November 2023
  • ‘Placing the Moral Spectator: Realism, Perspective and Affect in the Visual Culture of Shipwreck’ at 'Moral Seascapes: Critical Perspectives', Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, 15-16 June 2023
  • ‘“With all the eloquence of ineffable woe”: Spectacle and sympathy in the origin myth of British coastal lifesaving’ at the University of Exeter Maritime History Seminar Series, 19 October 2022
  • ‘Representing Maritime Logistics: Allan Sekula's infrastructural image’ at 'Infrastructural Narratives', Birkbeck, University of London, 15 October 2022
  • ‘Representing technological change at Sea: J.M.W. Turner and the steamship "revolution"’ at ‘ European Sea Spaces and Histories of Knowledge’, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 22-23 June 2022
  • ‘The visual culture of shipwreck and the moral spectator’ at ‘Moral Seascapes. Modern Transformations of the Imagery of Shipwreck’, Universität Wien, 20-21 May 2022
  • ‘Maritime Art and the Shipwreck Spectator as Moral Subject’ at ‘The Cruel Sea: Death and the Sea - Historical Perspectives’, Universität Düsseldorf, 23 April 2021
  • ‘Slow Modernity: The culture of time in colonial steamship mobilities’ at ‘Encounters: the coincidence of space, time, and subjectivity’, University of Cambridge, 16-18 September 2019
  • ‘The Myth of Social Acceleration: Monotony and global mobilities’ at ‘Mobilities and Transformation: Understanding Societies, Economies, and Environments on the Move’, the University of Salzburg, 1-2 February 2019
  • ‘Shipwreck and Workers: Allan Sekula, maritime logistics and representation’, at the Centre for Research in Visual Culture Seminar Series, University of Nottingham, 14 November 2018
  • ‘The Coastal Resort Town as a Counterculture of Modernity’ at the 17th International Conference of Historical Geographers, University of Warsaw, 15-20 July 2018
  • ‘Breaking Open the Container: The Logistical Image and the Spectre of Maritime Labour’ at ‘Disassembled Images: Contemporary Art After Allan Sekula’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, 2-4 March 2017
  • ‘Labour and the Sea: Capitalist Modes of Exploitation in the Nineteenth-Century Logistics Revolution’ at ‘The Arts of Logistics’, Queen Mary, University of London, 3-4 June 2016
  • ‘Writing the Ocean in the Age of Mechanical Propulsion’ at the London Group of Historical Geographers Seminar Series, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 12 January 2016