Robert C. Ritchie will be in conversation with Gary Griggs about Ritchie's fascinating new book, The Lure of the Beach: A Global History—a chronicle of humanity's history with the coast, taking us from the seaside pleasure palaces of Roman elites and the aquatic rituals of medieval pilgrims, to the venues of modern resort towns and beyond.
This is a free event. The featured book may be preordered below. You can make a donation to help support Bookshop Santa Cruz here. Thank you!
Ritchie traces the contours of the material and social economies of the beach throughout time, covering changes in the social status of beach goers, the technology of transport, and the development of fashion (from nudity to Victorianism and back again), as well as the geographic spread of modern beach-going from England to France, across the Mediterranean, and from nineteenth-century America to the world. And as climate change and rising sea levels erode the familiar faces of our coasts, we are poised for a contemporary reckoning with our relationship—and responsibilities—to our beaches and their ecosystems. The Lure of the Beach demonstrates that whether as a commodified pastoral destination, a site of ecological resplendency, or a flashpoint between private ownership and public access, the history of the beach is a human one that deserves to be told now more than ever before.
Robert C. Ritchie is Senior Research Associate at the Huntington Library and author of Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates.
Gary Griggs is Distinguished Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz. Giggs has taught at U.C. Santa Cruz for 53 years and served as the Director of the University’s Institute of Marine Sciences for 26 years where he led the development of the Coastal Science Campus. His work has focused on the coast of California and includes coastal processes, hazards, and the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. He recently published his 12th book.