Samantha Muka

Entered 2008
Ph.D, University of Pennsylvania
M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science, Florida State University
B.A. in Literature, Florida State University
Contact Information
Email Address:
Teaching Fields: 
History and Philosophy of Biology
Gender and Science
Labor and Technology
Environmental History
Research Interests: 

Samantha Muka received a B.A. in Literature and an M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science from Florida State University before entering the graduate program at Penn.

I am currently researching and writing my dissertation, tentatively entitled "Working at the Water's Edge: Experimental Life Sciences at American Marine Laboratories, 1880-1930." In my dissertation, I examine the rise of marine based life sciences in America between 1880 and 1930 and highlight the malleability of basic spaces and technologies to facilitate multifaceted approaches in shared settings.   The dissertation begins by examining the rise of marine laboratory spaces at the turn of the twentieth century.  By sampling a broad range of marine stations, I establish baseline spatial and technological requirements for marine research in this period. In subsequent chapters, I look at four examples of disciplinary investigations at marine laboratories. Embryologists, nerve physiologists, animal behaviorists, and taxonomists all adapted basic technologies, including glassware, photographic equipment, chemicals, and organisms for specialized research at stations. While historians of science have pointed to a growing division between scientific disciplines during this period, including a pronounced reliance on specialized technologies and spaces, this dissertation seeks to highlight the continuities of space and baseline technologies in the early marine sciences and to shed light on the impact of these shared commonalities on marine science throughout the twentieth century. 

Selected Publications: 

'Portrait of an Outsider: Class, Gender, and the Scientific Career of Ida M. Mellen' Journal of the History of Biology

'New York Aquarium Papers at the Wildlife Conservation Society Archives' Mendel Newsletter (forthcoming)

Curriculum Vitæ: