Time to Eat the Dogs

A Podcast About Science, History, and Exploration

Replay: The Biggest Exploration Exam Ever (two episodes)

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Doctoral candidate Sarah Pickman talks about studying exploration: specifically what it’s like to read three hundred books and articles and to be able to discuss them for hours in front of a committee of professors. This event, the preliminary or comprehensive exam, is the last step a graduate student takes before beginning her dissertation. Pickman also discusses recent trends in exploration literature and her top five list of exploration books. 

If you like the discussion, you may also want to listen to the bonus episode where we give our top picks for some unconventional categories of books. Pickman also talks about the exam experience at Global Maritime History in her essays “Surviving the Qualifying Exam” (Part I)(Part II)

Texts discussed:

Jace Weaver, The Red Atlantic: American Indigenes and the Making of the Modern World, 1000-1927

Coll Thrush, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire 

Nancy Shoemaker, Native American Whalemen and the World: Indigenous Encounters and the Contingency of Race 

Isaiah Lorado Wilner, “A Global Potlatch: Identifying the Indigenous Influence on Western Thought,” in American Indian Culture and Research Journal vol. 37, No. 2 (2013), pp. 87-114.

Beau Riffenburgh, The Myth of the Explorer

Sarah Pickman’s Top Five

Surekha Davies, Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters 

Dane Kennedy, The Last Blank Spaces: Exploring Africa and Australia 

David Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany 

Lisa Messeri, Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds 

Peter Redfield, Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana 

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Sarah Pickman

The Biggest Exploration Exam Ever:

Bonus Episode: Exploration Books


Re-imagining People in Anthropological Photographs


Northcote Thomas’s anthropological photographs reworked by Chiadikobi Nwaubani

Chiadikobi Nwaubani talks about his efforts to find, restore, and publish photographs from the colonial archives of West Africa. He also talks about his work re-interpreting these photographs using art and photo-manipulation.


Momo Samura, Sierra Leone, 1914. Described as ‘Susu Boy’ in Northcote Thomas’s Anthropological Report on Sierra Leone (1916)


“Susu Boy,” by Chiadikobi Nwaubani, 2018.


Mooku, a Nigerian girl from Mgbakwu (1911). Colorized by Chiadikobi Nwaubani from an original photograph by Northcote Thomas.

Nwaubani has created an online historical archive of photographs called Ụ́kpụ́rụ́. He has also contributed to the [Re]entanglements project which retraces and reinterprets the journeys of British anthropologist Northcote Thomas during his surveys of Nigeria and Sierra Leone in the early 1900s.


Chiadikobi Nwaubani

Replay: Project Vanguard


Vanguard team prepares satellite for lauch (1958)

Dr. Angelina Callahan talks about the Naval Research Laboratory’s Vanguard Project. While the launch of Vanguard 1 in 1958 was part of the Cold War “Space Race,” it also represented something more: a scientific platform for understanding the space environment as well as a test vehicle that would provide data for satellites of the future. Vanguard 1 is still flying. At 60 years, it is the oldest artificial satellite in space.

Callahan is the Naval Research Laboratory Historian. She is also a co-author (with John Krige and Ashok Mahara) of NASA in the World: Fifty Years of International Collaboration in Space. Her work has also been featured in NASA Spaceflight: A History of Innovation, the Navy War College Review, Seapower Magazine, and Federal News Radio. 


Angelina Callahan


NRL Celebrates Sixty Years in Space with Vanguard

J. Krige, A. Maharaj, and A. Callahan, NASA in the World
Fifty Years of International Collaboration in Space

Angelina Callahan, “The Origins and Flagship Project of NASA’s International Program: The Ariel Case Study” in NASA Spaceflight: A History of Innovation

Michael J. Neufeld, Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War

David H. DeVorkin, Science with a Vengeance: How the Military Created the US Space Sciences after World War II

The Problem with Andrea Wulf’s Biography of Humboldt


Alexander von Humboldt

Andrea Wulf’s book the The Invention of Nature tells the story of Alexander von Humboldt, one of the world’s most important nineteenth-century explorers. Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra talks about some of the problems of the book, specifically how Wulf’s view of Humboldt divorces him from the intellectual traditions of Central and South American scholars who helped Humboldt imagine the Americas for European and North American readers. Cañizares-Esguerra is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of many books including How to Write the History of the New World: Histories, Epistemologies, and Identities in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World.


Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra

Replay: Do You See Ice?


In the 1800s, explorers and whalers returning home from the Arctic described a cold, desolate world, one that could swallow up expeditions without leaving a trace. But this did not describe the Arctic of the Inuit, who called this world their home. Dr. Karen Routledge tells the story of Baffin Island’s Inuit community as they came into contact with western whalers and explorers in the nineteenth century. Even though the Inuit worked closely with outsiders, their views of the Arctic world, their ideas about meaning of home, even their concept of time itself remained very different from the men they encountered. Routledge is a historian for Parks Canada. Her book, Do You See Ice? was recently published by University of Chicago Press. 

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Karen Routledge


The Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin

james_cover collecting evolution

Matthew James talks about the 1905 Galapagos Expedition organized by the California Academy of Sciences. James is a professor of geology at Sonoma State University. He is the author of Collecting Evolution: The Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin.


Matthew James

Replay: The Journeys of Eslanda Robeson


Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson

Annette Joseph-Gabriel talks about Eslanda Robeson — chemist, political activist, anthropologist, and traveler — and the significance of her journeys. Robeson’s 1946 trip through the Congo is featured in Joseph-Gabriel’s interactive website Digitizing Diaspora. Joseph-Gabriel is an assistant professor of French at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. She is the managing editor of Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International (SUNY Press), a regular contributor to the African American Intellectual History Society blog, and an active podcast host on the New Books Network.

Annette Joseph Gabriel

Annette Joseph-Gabriel

For more on Eslanda Robeson, read Barbara Ransby‘s biography Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson

Selected works by Joseph-Gabriel include:

“‘Ce pays est un volcan’: Saint-Pierre and the Language of Loss in White Creole Women’s Narratives.”

“‘Tant de silence à briser’: Entretien avec Evelyne Trouillot.”

“Mobility and the Enunciation of Freedom in Urban Saint-Domingue.”