History of Ocean Science, Technology and Medicine
Historians of science have recently begun to examine role of the oceans themselves in human activity, not just as a pathway between places that matter, but as a place with a history of its own, with which humans have always interacted. In turning their gaze to the other two thirds of the earth's surface, scholars thus acknowledge the oceans as a changeable and changing place, affecting and affected by human activities. This "oceanic turn" is playing out in the humanities broadly, as scholars in many disciplines explore the role of the oceans in human endeavors including labor, culture, politics, industry, law, or literature. Spanning many different periods and regions around the world, this group will examine broad conceptions of oceans across history.
Penelope K. Hardy is a historian of science and technology and an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She studies the historical intersection of technology and the ocean sciences. Her current book project examines a series of nineteenth- and twentieth-century ocean-going research vessels and the cultures and practices surrounding their use.
Daniella McCahey is a historian of science and a lecturer at the University of Idaho. She studies the relationship between science and the environment in Polar Regions, especially islands, coasts, and ice shelves. Her current book project examines British and New Zealand science in Antarctica during the IGY and she has also begun a research project on the environmental history of South Georgia.
Katharina Steiner is a historian of science and currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She studies the connection between science and art, the working cultures of science, and the relationship between ideas, scientific tools, and scientific products. Her current book project explores how the social organization of science shaped marine biological research programs in the late nineteenth century, using the Naples Zoological Station as a case study.