Doctoral Candidate

Entered 2014

330 Claudia Cohen Hall
Office Hours by Appointment


MA in Liberal Studies, The New School, New York
BA Hons in English Literature, Victoria University, Wellington
Cours de Civilisation Francaise, La Sorbonne, Paris

Research Interests

My work asks how ice, an ephemeral and ubiquitous substance, has been deployed by diverse scientific disciplines to understand geologic timescales. Since the nineteenth century, questions of environmental permanence and vulnerability, stasis and catastrophe, and global and local scales have been considered and debated through ice. In the nineteenth century, naturalists developed a picture of the deep past of the planet, uncovering a world which had passed through radically different Ice Ages; in the twentieth century, climate scientists projected the planet’s potential future, modeling change based on data and information extracted from ice cores. In following ice, this project thus follows the development of earth system sciences, and asks how the time of ice has become central to understandings of longue durée global environmental change.

By tracing the lineage between nineteenth century debates about the Ice Ages and twentieth century constructions of the climate through ice cores, my work also highlights how important ice is to scientific understandings of the planet as an interconnected system with a deep past and a deep future. And, by placing cryosphere science in a broader social and cultural context, it shows how significantly the environmental consciousness of ice has changed in the past 200 years. 

In 2020-2021, I am the Associate Fellow at the Wolf Humanities Center, where an interdisciplinary group of scholars will work together to interrogate the theme 'choice.'

In 2019-2020, I was a Fellow with the Smithsonian Insitute; a Fellow with the Linda Hall Library; a Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine; and a recipient of a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant.

In 2017, I am took part in an expeditionary residency program, The Arctic Circle, where I spent two weeks sailing the high north with artists and scientists on a 100-year old barquentine tall ship. 

Prior coming to Penn, I studied at The New School for Social Research on a Fulbright Scholarship, completing my MA in Liberal Studies. Between my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I worked at the New Zealand Parliament for Maori Affairs and lived and studied in Paris.  

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