Graduate Student Profiles

UC Irvine Humanities Hall

Daniella McCahey

Cohort Year: 2012
B.A., Northwestern University, 2009, Political Science
M.A., University of Oklahoma, 2012, History of Science

Curriculum Vitae

Advisor: Dr. Douglas Haynes
First Field: Modern European History
Second Field: World History
Thematic Emphasis: History of Science, Environmental History, Science and Technology Studies

Dissertation Title:
Extreme Environments and the Production of Scientific Knowledge: The History of Modern Science in Antarctica

Research Abstract:
I am interested in how the material environment contributes to the knowledge making practices of science. In extreme environments such as outer space, high altitudes, the deep sea, deserts, tree tops, and the geographical poles, the ways that scientists account for the contribution non-human actors becomes far more apparent than when in the metropole.
My dissertation examines the origins of modern scientific research in Antarctica in the late 1950s. It explores the rise of Antarctic science within the contexts of the Cold War, the decline of the British Empire, the International Geophysical Year, and the extreme physical environment where it occurred. Through following several British and New Zealand expeditions through their conception, funding and organization, execution, and research programs, I show the many interdependent factors that created the way we understand the region and the way that large-scale scientific projects in extreme environments are conducted. Historically understudied, understanding the history of Antarctic science is increasingly vital due to its growing importance to modern science and the environment.