Phil Hubbard
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The strange coast
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This chapter considers the low-lying coast between Dymchurch and Dungeness, the south-eastern tip of Kent and England. It focuses on coastal anxieties relating to sea level change and flood inundation, showing how this anxiety can reinforce ideas of the coast as a protective margin. Drawing on ideas of hauntology, the chapter considers the relicts of past landscapes destroyed by coastal erosion and flood, and argues that they also augur the future. Noting that global environmental change represents an existential threat to this corner of England, the chapter proceeds to contrast the forms of exclusionary nationalism often associated with the coast with the more open and inclusive politics embodied in Derek Jarman’s garden at Dungeness, in the shadow of the nuclear power station. Offering a queer critique of nationalism, Jarman’s garden is presented as encapsulating a more progressive sense of place, with its embrace of the alien representing an alternative to the insularity ushered in by Brexit.

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Identity and belonging at the edge of England


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