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It's the getting there that counts!

National Curriculum Keywords: TBC

Gordon Carson

PhD student, Intrepid Explorers Chair, Geogrpahy Department, King's College London.


Gordon's research on the political geographies of Sabah and Sulu simultaneously satisfies his interests in the enduring effects of colonial-era territoriality and in seeing more of the world. He's a joint PhD candidate with National University of Singapore and returned to the academic world four years ago after more than a decade as a journalist.  Gordon is also chairing a number of the Intrepid Explorers seminars this term.


Relevant resources:

BBC Human Planet Explorer: The Bajau people in Sabah, Borneo

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Talk summary:

Sabah, one of the Malaysian states on the island of Borneo, is known around the world for the natural wonders of its interior; its abundance of wildlife, tropical rainforests and mountainous terrain. However, the majority of the state's 3 million people live on or near its coasts, with many depending on the sea to make a living as well as to maintain social, economic and political ties with their kin in neighbouring countries, particularly in the southern Philippines.


This seminar will feature tales of encounters with sea gypsies, a visit to a house built in two countries, and ventures into the water villages home to many of Sabah's undocumented residents. I will also talk about the insecurities I experienced conducting research immediately after an invasion of the east coast of Sabah which related to many of the issues my PhD is examining, including porous borders, trans-state militant networks, and the enduring power of particular versions of history in this maritime region.


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