Antony Adler is a doctoral candidate in the History of Science. His dissertation project, The Ocean Laboratory: Exploration, Fieldwork, and Science at Sea, presents a comprehensive transnational history of the changing practices of scientific oceanic fieldwork from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century using British, French, and American case studies. By tracing this history, he hopes to show how scientific field practices have shaped our understanding of the natural world, how scientists have altered the natural world to conform to the requirements of accepted scientific practice, and how the field gained acceptance as a legitimate space for scientific observation and analysis.
Adler’s dissertation research has involved a stay at the French Marine Biological Laboratory at Roscoff in northeastern Brittany and a visit to the private archives of the Prince of Monaco. Closer to home, he engages his passion for the history of oceanography with the Sea History Insight Project (S.H.I.P.), a self-curated oral history project comprised of a series of short interviews with professional oceanographers that he films and makes accessible on his website.
This year, Adler completed extensive archival research in Europe, visiting archives in the United Kingdom, France, and Monaco during the summer of 2013, supported by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant and a history of science fellowship from the American Geophysical Union. His article “The Ship as Laboratory: Making Space for Field Science at Sea,” was published in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of the History of Biology. He presented a dissertation chapter on the scientific appropriation of the seashore as part of a history of oceanography workshop in Halifax, NS, in June 2014. His article, “The Capture and Curation of the Cannibal ‘Vendovi’: Reality, and Representation of a Pacific Frontier,” which originated as his MA thesis, will appear in the Journal of Pacific History in late 2014.