Katharine Anderson

Department of Humanities

Associate Professor

Office: Norman Bethune College, 303
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 22026
Emailkateya@yorku.ca

Katharine Anderson teaches the History of Science and Technology in the modern period (18-20th centuries). Her own research is focused on the environmental sciences. She is currently interested in scientific expeditions and the ocean environment in 1920s and 1930s; weather ships; and nineteenth century voyage narratives.

More...

Katharine Anderson teaches in the Department of Humanities at York University. In 2015-16 she is teaching HUMA 1910 9.0 "Science and the Humanities" and STS 3400 Thinking with Things: STS and Material Culture. She is a member of the graduate programs of STS, Humanities and History and of the Institute for STS at York. Her research areas of interest include scientific exploration, the history of weather and climate, science and the oceans in the early twentieth century, the history of scientific instruments and the study of material culture as a bridge between and among disciplines associated with STS. Her current major research project investigates the oceans as a site of scientific research, showing how these spaces were defined, observed and imagined in the 1920s and 1930s. It uses various expeditions of the inter-war period as a focus for understanding the place of the oceans in the development of scientific practices and disciplines, and it asks how ideas about the oceans shaped and were shaped by the technological, political and cultural shifts after world war one. Current writing projects are: 1. a monograph on the ocean as a site of scientific research, showing how these spaces were defined, observed and imagined in the 1920s and 1930s. 2. a volume of essays, Soundings and Crossings: Doing Science at Sea 1800-1980 (Science History Ltd forthcoming 2016), co-edited with Helen Rozwadowski (UConn) 3. an article on global meteorological practices and the history of international scientific networks 4. articles on scientific voyage narratives Recent publications include Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of the Adventure and Beagle 1826-36, (London:Pickering and Chatto, 2011) and [with M. Frappier, E. Neswald, H. Trim] "Reading Instruments: Objects, Texts and Museums" Science and Education (2011).

Degrees

PhD, Northwestern University
MA, University of Massachussets at Amherst
BA, McGill University


Research Interests

History , Science and Technology , History of Science, Victorian Studies, Environmental History

Current Research Projects

Marine Observations Networks

Summary: 
A. the study of marine observation practices and exchange networks after the coming of radio to the breakdown of scientific exchange in WWII B.the study of ships logs as resources to track hurricane frequency during WWII

Description: 
This project analysed ships’ logs during 1939-45 in the Atlantic to consider how historical records might be used to study hurricanes. A preliminary study of marine records from this period connects to growing body of historical research on logs, and on hurricanes and climate change. It also contributes to the study of meteorology’s history as an international, observational science. But the chief innovation of the project is to ask how the perspectives and questions of the historian of science might shape our understanding of science and of climate change. An analysis of logs offers a unique opportunity to examine the intersection of historical and scientific studies. It seeks to build a foundation for shared work and to promote familiarity with the assumptions, practices, languages and scholarly products peculiar to different disciplines.

Project Type: Funded

Reading Instruments: Objects, Texts and Museums

Summary: 
material culture; gravitational measurement; geophysical prospecting; A.H. Miller; scientific instruments; research methods

Description: 
This collaborative paper discusses the place of artefact study as a link between past and present practices in the sciences, and as a link between different kinds of pedagogical practice and students. It focusses on a case study of the Eotvos Gravimeter used at the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa in the late 1920s and 1930s by A.H. Miller (1886-1992) and the later life of the instrument in the Canadian Science and Technology Museum.

Project Type: Self-Funded
Role: collaborator

Collaborator: Elisabeth Neswald (Brock), Melanie Frappier (Dalhousie), Henry Trim (UBC)

Ocean Worlds 1890-1939

Summary: 
This historical project will become a book about ocean worlds, showing how the ocean was defined, observed and imagined in the 1920s and 1930s. It uses the definition of particular spaces in the ocean - such as coral reefs and deep water life - as a focus for understanding a key period in modern oceanography, ecology and natural history.

Description: 
In this era, the wider context for marine scientific work included the development of the Pacific after World War One, the rise of internationalism, the popular audience for biology, and the rapid development of both fisheries research and ecology. This will become Like other studies in the history of ecology and the environment, this project investigates how ideas about natural worlds – here, watery ones – shaped and were shaped by modern cultural and political life.

Project Type: Funded
Role: PI

Narrative of the Beagle Voyages

Summary: 
Annotated edition with a critical introduction of the 1839 Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of HMS Adventure and HMS Beagle. 4 vols. by Philip Parker King and Robert Fitzroy (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011).

Description: 
HMS Beagle has entered the collective imagination as the ship that carried Charles Darwin to the Galapagos, triggering his later work on the theory of natural selection. However, the Beagle also played a vital role in the development of modern hydrography, cartography and meteorology in both the voyage of 1831-36 and an earlier one of 1826-29 in an expedition led by Phillip Parker King in the Adventure. The work of the Beagle under her captain, Robert FitzRoy, was to chart South American coastlines, many of which had not previously been mapped, and to build a global chain of meridian distances. On this voyage FitzRoy pioneered the use of Francis Beaufort’s new system for identifying wind force, the basis of the modern Beaufort scale. FitzRoy’s further, unofficial goal on this voyage was to return three Fuegians to their native shores, and establish a Protestant mission in the desolate, southern fringes of the continent. It was a pivotal experience of civilization and savagery for both Darwin and FitzRoy. The separate accounts of the voyages by King, FitzRoy and Darwin were published in the four-volume Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle Between the Years 1826 and 1836 (1839). Darwin’s volume has never been out of print. In contrast, this set presents the first critical edition of the remaining texts from 1839: FitzRoy’s account of the second voyage, his detailed appendices, and the account of the 1826-29 voyage authored by Phillip Parker King, captain of HMS Adventure. Together they give an unparalleled example of British scientific exploration. It will generate new scholarly approaches to the Beagle voyages and be crucial for those interested in Darwin, Maritime Studies, History of Science, and Empire.

Project Type: Self-Funded
Role: Editor

All Publications

Books

Fitzroy, R and P.P.King, The Narrative of the Voyages of Adventure and Beagle 1826-1836. Edited and annotated by Katharine Anderson. 4 vols. (London Pickering and Chatto, 2011)

Predicting the Weather: Victorians and the Science of Meteorology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Book Chapters

'Cloud spotting: past & present.' Weather Local Knowledge and Everyday Life: Issues in Integrated Climate Studies. Ed. Vladimir Jankovic and Christine Barboza. Rio de Janeiro: MAST, 2009.

'Mapping Meteorology.' Intimate Universality: Local and Global Themes in the History of Weather and Climate. Ed. James R. Fleming, Vladimir Jankovic and Deborah R. Coen. Science History Publications/USA, 2006. 69-91.

'Almanacs and the Profits of Natural Knowledge.' Culture and Science in the Nineteenth Century Media. Ed. Louise Henson et al. Burlington: Ashgate, 2004. 97-112.

'Instincts and Instruments.' Nineteenth Century Psychological Thought: The Transition from Philosophy to Science. Ed. C. Green, T. Teo and M. Shore. Washington: American Psychological Association, 2001. 153-74.

Journal Articles

“Beyond the Glass Cabinet: The History of Scientific Instruments” in Revista Electrónica de Fuentes y Archivos del Centro de Estudios Históricos. Edition Digital No 4. Dossier: Los archivos de la ciencia: Prácticas científicas, cultura material y organización del saber. Issue guest edited by Irina Podygny on current methods in history of science. 2013. http://www.refa.org.ar/

Anderson, Frappier, Neswald, Trim. "Reading Instruments: Objects, Texts and Museums" Science and Education (2011).

'Coral Jewellery/ Victorian Things: A Forum on Material Objects' Victorian Review An Interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Studies. 34 (2008).

'Does History Count?' Endeavour 30 (December 2006) 150-55.

'Looking at the Sky: Visual Methods in Victorian Meteorology.' British Journal for the History of Science 36 (2003): 301-32.


Katharine Anderson teaches the History of Science and Technology in the modern period (18-20th centuries). Her own research is focused on the environmental sciences. She is currently interested in scientific expeditions and the ocean environment in 1920s and 1930s; weather ships; and nineteenth century voyage narratives.


Katharine Anderson teaches in the Department of Humanities at York University. In 2015-16 she is teaching HUMA 1910 9.0 "Science and the Humanities" and STS 3400 Thinking with Things: STS and Material Culture. She is a member of the graduate programs of STS, Humanities and History and of the Institute for STS at York. Her research areas of interest include scientific exploration, the history of weather and climate, science and the oceans in the early twentieth century, the history of scientific instruments and the study of material culture as a bridge between and among disciplines associated with STS. Her current major research project investigates the oceans as a site of scientific research, showing how these spaces were defined, observed and imagined in the 1920s and 1930s. It uses various expeditions of the inter-war period as a focus for understanding the place of the oceans in the development of scientific practices and disciplines, and it asks how ideas about the oceans shaped and were shaped by the technological, political and cultural shifts after world war one. Current writing projects are: 1. a monograph on the ocean as a site of scientific research, showing how these spaces were defined, observed and imagined in the 1920s and 1930s. 2. a volume of essays, Soundings and Crossings: Doing Science at Sea 1800-1980 (Science History Ltd forthcoming 2016), co-edited with Helen Rozwadowski (UConn) 3. an article on global meteorological practices and the history of international scientific networks 4. articles on scientific voyage narratives Recent publications include Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of the Adventure and Beagle 1826-36, (London:Pickering and Chatto, 2011) and [with M. Frappier, E. Neswald, H. Trim] "Reading Instruments: Objects, Texts and Museums" Science and Education (2011).

Degrees

PhD, Northwestern University
MA, University of Massachussets at Amherst
BA, McGill University

Research Interests:

History , Science and Technology , History of Science, Victorian Studies, Environmental History

Current Research Projects

Marine Observations Networks

Summary: 
A. the study of marine observation practices and exchange networks after the coming of radio to the breakdown of scientific exchange in WWII B.the study of ships logs as resources to track hurricane frequency during WWII

Description: 
This project analysed ships’ logs during 1939-45 in the Atlantic to consider how historical records might be used to study hurricanes. A preliminary study of marine records from this period connects to growing body of historical research on logs, and on hurricanes and climate change. It also contributes to the study of meteorology’s history as an international, observational science. But the chief innovation of the project is to ask how the perspectives and questions of the historian of science might shape our understanding of science and of climate change. An analysis of logs offers a unique opportunity to examine the intersection of historical and scientific studies. It seeks to build a foundation for shared work and to promote familiarity with the assumptions, practices, languages and scholarly products peculiar to different disciplines.

Project Type: Funded

Reading Instruments: Objects, Texts and Museums

Summary: 
material culture; gravitational measurement; geophysical prospecting; A.H. Miller; scientific instruments; research methods

Description: 
This collaborative paper discusses the place of artefact study as a link between past and present practices in the sciences, and as a link between different kinds of pedagogical practice and students. It focusses on a case study of the Eotvos Gravimeter used at the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa in the late 1920s and 1930s by A.H. Miller (1886-1992) and the later life of the instrument in the Canadian Science and Technology Museum.

Project Type: Self-Funded
Role: collaborator

Collaborator: Elisabeth Neswald (Brock), Melanie Frappier (Dalhousie), Henry Trim (UBC)

Ocean Worlds 1890-1939

Summary: 
This historical project will become a book about ocean worlds, showing how the ocean was defined, observed and imagined in the 1920s and 1930s. It uses the definition of particular spaces in the ocean - such as coral reefs and deep water life - as a focus for understanding a key period in modern oceanography, ecology and natural history.

Description: 
In this era, the wider context for marine scientific work included the development of the Pacific after World War One, the rise of internationalism, the popular audience for biology, and the rapid development of both fisheries research and ecology. This will become Like other studies in the history of ecology and the environment, this project investigates how ideas about natural worlds – here, watery ones – shaped and were shaped by modern cultural and political life.

Project Type: Funded
Role: PI

Narrative of the Beagle Voyages

Summary: 
Annotated edition with a critical introduction of the 1839 Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of HMS Adventure and HMS Beagle. 4 vols. by Philip Parker King and Robert Fitzroy (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011).

Description: 
HMS Beagle has entered the collective imagination as the ship that carried Charles Darwin to the Galapagos, triggering his later work on the theory of natural selection. However, the Beagle also played a vital role in the development of modern hydrography, cartography and meteorology in both the voyage of 1831-36 and an earlier one of 1826-29 in an expedition led by Phillip Parker King in the Adventure. The work of the Beagle under her captain, Robert FitzRoy, was to chart South American coastlines, many of which had not previously been mapped, and to build a global chain of meridian distances. On this voyage FitzRoy pioneered the use of Francis Beaufort’s new system for identifying wind force, the basis of the modern Beaufort scale. FitzRoy’s further, unofficial goal on this voyage was to return three Fuegians to their native shores, and establish a Protestant mission in the desolate, southern fringes of the continent. It was a pivotal experience of civilization and savagery for both Darwin and FitzRoy. The separate accounts of the voyages by King, FitzRoy and Darwin were published in the four-volume Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle Between the Years 1826 and 1836 (1839). Darwin’s volume has never been out of print. In contrast, this set presents the first critical edition of the remaining texts from 1839: FitzRoy’s account of the second voyage, his detailed appendices, and the account of the 1826-29 voyage authored by Phillip Parker King, captain of HMS Adventure. Together they give an unparalleled example of British scientific exploration. It will generate new scholarly approaches to the Beagle voyages and be crucial for those interested in Darwin, Maritime Studies, History of Science, and Empire.

Project Type: Self-Funded
Role: Editor

All Publications

Books

Fitzroy, R and P.P.King, The Narrative of the Voyages of Adventure and Beagle 1826-1836. Edited and annotated by Katharine Anderson. 4 vols. (London Pickering and Chatto, 2011)

Predicting the Weather: Victorians and the Science of Meteorology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Book Chapters

'Cloud spotting: past & present.' Weather Local Knowledge and Everyday Life: Issues in Integrated Climate Studies. Ed. Vladimir Jankovic and Christine Barboza. Rio de Janeiro: MAST, 2009.

'Mapping Meteorology.' Intimate Universality: Local and Global Themes in the History of Weather and Climate. Ed. James R. Fleming, Vladimir Jankovic and Deborah R. Coen. Science History Publications/USA, 2006. 69-91.

'Almanacs and the Profits of Natural Knowledge.' Culture and Science in the Nineteenth Century Media. Ed. Louise Henson et al. Burlington: Ashgate, 2004. 97-112.

'Instincts and Instruments.' Nineteenth Century Psychological Thought: The Transition from Philosophy to Science. Ed. C. Green, T. Teo and M. Shore. Washington: American Psychological Association, 2001. 153-74.

Journal Articles

“Beyond the Glass Cabinet: The History of Scientific Instruments” in Revista Electrónica de Fuentes y Archivos del Centro de Estudios Históricos. Edition Digital No 4. Dossier: Los archivos de la ciencia: Prácticas científicas, cultura material y organización del saber. Issue guest edited by Irina Podygny on current methods in history of science. 2013. http://www.refa.org.ar/

Anderson, Frappier, Neswald, Trim. "Reading Instruments: Objects, Texts and Museums" Science and Education (2011).

'Coral Jewellery/ Victorian Things: A Forum on Material Objects' Victorian Review An Interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Studies. 34 (2008).

'Does History Count?' Endeavour 30 (December 2006) 150-55.

'Looking at the Sky: Visual Methods in Victorian Meteorology.' British Journal for the History of Science 36 (2003): 301-32.