“The Politics of Voyaging” examines the the narratives of exploration from 1577 to 1790 and the ways in which these can be claimed to be a language of difference between parts within the travelling community. As such it reads the narratives of the voyaging community with an attentiveness to their politics of performativity and truth. It asks who could narrate the voyage and how this line of in/exclusion was continually performed and subverted. Cues are taken from subaltern history and postcolonial theory which in various ways have historicized the taxonomies of empire. It will be argued that travel writing itself was part of a disciplinary episteme which sought to govern the space of the ship - a space which in new maritime history is often claimed to be heterogenous space of encounter and antagonism. Voyage narratives told political fables meant to educate and correct this often ambivalent community. However, such an episteme was continually challenged by competing poetics heard in gaps, slippages and discrepancies of the official account.