CSS colloquium: Lino Camprubi, Max Planck Institute, Berlin

Experiencing Deep and Global Currents at a Prototypical Strait, 1860s and 1980s

2017.01.24 | Randi Mosegaard

Date Wed 19 Apr
Time 14:15 15:45
Location Aud D2 (1531-119)

Deep currents are not accessible to direct human perception. Their insertion into global structures of circulation is even more profoundly removed from sensorial experience. However, when we redefine scientific experience as operational and collective transformations of parts of the world around us into parts of larger bodies of knowledge, deep and global currents appear as more than unobservable theoretical entities. In this paper, I study the instrumental and epistemological resources available to those trying to “observe” deep currents at the Strait of Gibraltar in two very distinct moments, ca. 1860s and ca. 1980s. Comparisons between both periods – through the works of scientists like William B. Carpenter and Nancy A. Bray – illuminate questions of definition and extension of deep and global currents. I also trace the relationship of those transformative observations to theories of global circulation. In contexts of empires of global reach, scientists inserted locally situated phenomena into globalizing structures, so that institutions like the British Royal Navy and the US Office of Naval Research become more than external factors to global experiences. Experiencing entities hidden to the senses and experiencing global circulation were in both cases part of the same problem. This study will help me develop a view of experience as doing, thus going beyond individual psychology and empirical sensations and onto ontologies of data and their compossibility.

Lecture / talk