Time to Eat the Dogs

On Science, History, and Exploration

Episodes 24 and 25: The Biggest Exploration Exam Ever

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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 

Pickman headshot

Sarah Pickman

The Biggest Exploration Exam Ever:

Bonus Episode: Exploration Books

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