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Photo of Dr Elin Jones

Dr Elin Jones

Lecturer in Maritime History

I am a social historian of the maritime world, c. 1750 - 1850. My doctoral research examined shipboard society, exploring the ways in which built and natural environments shaped the lives of those who went to sea during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Using the records of courts martial, I reconstructed the quotidian experiences and expectations of naval shipboard residents and came to conclusions about understandings of work, labour, fraternity and domesticitiy, with far reaching implications for the history of masculinity on ship as well as on shore. I am currently preparing a monograph based on this research. 

One of the strands of my doctoral research focused on the ways in which maritime knowledge was formed and communicated on board British naval ships at the turn of the nineteenth century. Since joining Exeter, I have expanded on this initial focus to investigate the shifting meanings ascribed to seamanship in Britain during this period more widely. The results of this research will be published in the British Journal for the History of Science in late 2022/early 2023.

My new project continues to uncover the multivalent meanings of maritime knowledge, but seeks to understand what maritime labourers (sailors, fishers, watermen) knew about ecological change along Britain's waterways and coasts during the first Industrial Revolution, and how this knowledge was shaped by factors such as gender, age and socio-economic status. 

I am a member of the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies and the Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities at Exeter.

My office hours this term are Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00 and Thursdays 15:00 - 16:00 in Amory B370. 

My PGR pastoral office hour is Tuesdays 12:00 - 13:00 in Amory B370. 

Research interests

My research interests lie within the fields of social, environmental and maritime history, as well as the histories of labour, technology and technological change. I am interested in how studying maritime history can elucidate connections as well as divisions, and in how modern identities were formed through imagined and physical relationships with the sea. 



External impact and engagement

My doctoral research was conducted in partnership with the National Maritime Museum. Since completing my PhD in 2016, I have worked across various forms of public history with heritage organisations and museums, as well as on arts and history television programming. I was employed at University of Edinburgh as the public history co-ordinator of a Heritage Lottery Funded project on geographies of social housing, and have worked in research and production for BBC 1 and BBC 2 arts and history programming.

I am currently working with History & Policy and Lloyd's Register, developing a series of reports which reflect on risk and techological change at sea.