From a study of knowledge of the sea among indigenous cultures in the South Seas to inquiries into the subject of sea monsters, from studies of Pacific currents to descriptions of ocean-going research vessels, the sixty-three essays presented here reflect the scientific complexity and richness of social relationships that characterize ocean-ographic history. Based on papers presented at the Fifth International Congress on the History of Oceanography held at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (the first ICHO meeting following the cessation of the Cold War), the volume features an unusual breadth of contributions.
Oceanography itself involves the full spectrum of physical, biological, and earth sciences in their formal, empirical, and applied manifestations. The contributors to Oceanographic History: The Pacific and Beyond undertake the interdisciplinary task of telling the story of oceanography's past, drawing on diverse methodologies. Their essays explore the concepts, techniques, and technologies of oceanography, as well as the social, economic, and institutional determinants of oceanographic history. Although focused on the Pacific, the geographic range of subjects is global and includes Micronesia, East Africa, and Antarctica; the bathymetric range comprises inshore fisheries, coral reefs, and the "azoic zone."
The seventy-one contributors represent every continent of the globe except Antarctica, bringing together material on the history of oceanography never before published.
Keith R. Benson is professor of history at the University of Washington. Philip F. Rehbock was professor of history at the University of Hawaii.