Scott Thomas Erich

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10109

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Erich, Scott (New York, Graduate Center, City U. of) "Economic Change and Fisheries Governance in the Gulf of Oman"

SCOTT ERICH, then a graduate student at City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2021 to aid research on “Economic Change and Fisheries Governance in the Gulf of Oman,” supervised by Dr. Mandana Limbert. During the research period of this grant, which took place during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the grantee identified and examined four textual genres about the division of oceanic ‘territory’ off the coasts of southeastern Arabia: colonial archival materials, national and international governing frameworks, religious and juridical texts, and social media discourses among fishermen. Research found that claims to property and rights at sea in the region are constituted through extraction. In other words, the waters of Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf are governed primarily because of their capacity as places to extract natural resources. Oceanic ‘territory,’ in this reading, becomes a meaningful category only where the objects of extraction — pearls, sponges, fish, and oil — are concerned. The discovery (and in some cases, mere prospect) of offshore oil marked a decisive shift in maritime governance in the region, when, beginning in the late colonial period, the sea started to be divided up into proprietary spaces and exclusive zones. Even so, fishermen today contest these boundaries and zones through in their daily work, and through self-organized groups that petition the government for rights and benefits.