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The Australian National University

Into the maelstrom: historicising the Southern Ocean

Date and time

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 16:15 - 17:30

Venue

McDonald Room, Menzies Library, ANU

Speakers

Joy McCann, Centre for Environmental History, ANU

Contacts

person icon Benjamin Jones
The ice islands seen on the 9th of Jany., 1773 [picture] / drawn from nature by W. Hodges, engraved by B.T. Pouncy. National Library of Australia.

The Southern Ocean is the most remote, physically challenging, and least known of the world’s oceans. Its surface winds, ice and fog frame heroic narratives of maritime and Antarctic exploration, and its depths are the domain of the ocean sciences, yet there has been little detailed examination of the natural and cultural dimensions of this ocean environment and its place in Western and Indigenous histories.

Drawing on the records of British voyages of maritime exploration and natural history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this paper explores emerging scientific and cultural perceptions of the Southern Ocean environment both above and below its surface. It considers how historical analysis can offer important insights into the ocean environment, and reflects on some of the issues associated with historicising the Southern Ocean within the context of the emerging field of marine environmental history.

Joy McCann (@joymccann_joy) is a Visitor with the ANU School of History. She is based at the Centre for Environmental History where she completed her PhD on history and memory in Australia’s wheatlands in 2006. Over the last 20 years she has combined academic writing with a career as a historian in the public sector, including as principal conservation officer with the Australian Heritage Commission, senior historian with the Museum of Australian Democracy and senior researcher with the Australian Parliamentary Library. She has published widely on Australian environmental, social and parliamentary history, and is currently on leave from the Parliament to write an environmental history of the Southern Ocean to be published by NewSouth Press in 2018.

Updated: 22 September 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher