Women at the Helm: Storm Stories and Environmental Sustainability

Amy E. Skillman (Goucher College)

Storm stories are the heart of the genre of seagoing narratives. They are empowering stories about facing the elements and overcoming fear. Yet women’s storm stories have lived on the periphery of the genre. Until the 20th century, women longing to go to sea had to “pass” as men and run the risk of discovery. They were associated with selkies and sirens – creatures of the sea who threatened male dominion on the planet. This paper draws on storm stories from women - stories of communion rather than conquest - to offer new imaginaries to counter the forces threatening the ocean.

Part of 02-12 Folklore and the Environment, Thursday, October 13, 10:30 am–12:30 pm