Exploration, the media, and the Body: Sensuous Geographies of Ocean Research

Lecture and panel conversation with Franziska Torma

SENKU is co-hosting The 8th Norwegian Conference on the History of Science, which is Corona-postponed until 2021. In lieu of the 2020-conference, the organizing committee have organized two webcast panels to adress current issues in the history of science. This is the second. No pre-registration: Join the event here.

Hans and Lotte Hass

The discovery of the world beneath the waves in the twentieth century was not only a scientific, but also a sensory endeavor. Diving and filming pioneers like Hans Hass and Jacques-Yves Cousteau dived down underwater, explored the underwater environment and brought pictures of the newly discovered world back to the public on land. This example, the history of underwater film, can be seen as imaginative colonization of one of planet Earth’s final frontiers. This panel wants to discuss media experiences of underwater worlds and how the human body was part of them. The geographer Yi-Fu Tuan has shown that “a yearning for sublime experience” motivated many travels into remote and unexplored regions. Tuan’s research field of sensuous geographies enables us to take the “human nature” of the explorers into account. How were the bodies and the senses engaged in the production of underwater worlds? 
This panel considers the ocean not only as a geographical, but also as a sensory frontier. The production of underwater narratives and images was dependent on the capabilities and limitations of the human body as well as on the media the explorers used. How did the sensuous geographies of the underwater world influenced their imaginative power? How did body experiences and narratives contribute to ocean exploitation and/or an understanding of the ocean as ecosystem? I would like to discuss further, if and how particular sensuous geographies of underwater environments emerged in ocean narratives (films and other media) and if and how they differed from imaginations of terrestrial landscapes. 


The 45 minutes lecture will be followed by a panel conversation moderated by Thomas Brandt,

Brandt is a professor in History at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, and is currently involved in a interdisciplinary research project titled  “The High Seas and the Deep Oceans: Representations, Resources and Regulatory Governance.” He is member of the program committee of the 8th Norwegian Conference on the History of Science.

The Norwegian Conferences on the History of Science in 2021 is organized by the Program Committee and will be hosted by Museum of Cultural History by its department Museum of University History, University of Oslo, and The Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology. The conference has received funding from the Science Studies Colloquium at the University of Oslo.

For any queries regarding the webcast panels or the postponed conference, please check the conference website or contact: norvithist@outlook.com 

Publisert 9. nov. 2020 16:03 - Sist endret 20. jan. 2021 13:12