Dakota Kirkendall Straub
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationColumbia U.
Grant numberGr. 10031
Approve DateAugust 26, 2020
Project TitleStraub, Dakota (Columbia U.) "Circulating Sound: the movement of anthropogenic noise through science, industry, and nonhuman oceanic worlds"
DAKOTA STRAUB, then a graduate student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in August 2020 to aid research on “Circulating Sound: the movement of anthropogenic noise through science, industry, and nonhuman oceanic worlds,” supervised by Dr. Paige West. From space travel to marine biology, private investors are increasingly stepping in to take a leading role in advancing science and technology. This research investigates how philanthropists and wealthy individuals who conduct private ocean exploration projects understand their role in this field. What is the relationship between privately funded ocean exploration and marine science? How are wealthy individuals investing in ocean exploration and what drives them to do so? What sorts of understandings of the past and dreams of the future do private funders engage with regard to the prospects for underwater exploration? What do private investors and scientists believe to be the effect of their investments and personal expeditions on scientific knowledge production? Finally, what geographies emerge through ocean exploration and private investment or philanthropy and do these influence the kinds of scientific projects carried out in different locations — for example, the Mediterranean Sea versus the Pacific Ocean? Through archival research, interviews, media analysis, and ethnographic fieldwork at a yachting conference, the grantee investigates how ultra-wealthy elites’ understandings of the pasts, presents, and futures of exploration and marine science relate to broader scientific and environmental concerns in the 21st century.