Dakota Kirkendall Straub

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Columbia U.

Grant number

Gr. 10031

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Straub, Dakota (Columbia U.) "Circulating Sound: the movement of anthropogenic noise through science, industry, and nonhuman oceanic worlds"

My research investigates how diverse actors constitute ocean noise as an environmental threat, with a focus on Spanish scientists, environmentalists, and policymakers working in the Mediterranean Sea. Environmentalists use the term “ocean noise” to describe anthropogenic underwater sound produced by shipping, industrial, and military activity that is thought to harm marine life. Concerns about the effects of ocean noise have precipitated scientific research and regulation across the global North; the Mediterranean Sea presents a particularly interesting case. I ask how concepts, representations, and translations of sound move through science, civil society, and regulatory bodies. My research makes three contributions to anthropology: First, it investigates the role of interspecies relations at macro-political scales more often addressed in the literatures of environmental anthropology and political ecology. Second, I bring conceptual tools from anthropology of science to center the translation of interspecies relations within developing transnational regulatory regimes, a process less often traced in environmental anthropology and political ecology, and not yet in the Mediterranean region. Finally, my research extends early anthropological interest in sound to address contemporary anthropological concerns with the interconnected structural, sensory, and embodied effects of the most pressing global environmental challenges of our time.