Reading Nature, Observing Science: Examining Material Practices in the Lick Observatory Archives and Kenneth S. Norris PapersMain MenuIntroduction to the Lick Observatory ArchivesThe Lick Observatory: Imaging the CosmosThe Lick Observatory: Eclipse ExpeditionsEclipse Intro page (first in a path)Introduction to Kenneth S. Norris PapersKenneth S. Norris Papers: Natural History in PracticeKenneth S. Norris Papers: Pedagogy and ConservationConnections: In Relation to NatureThese images demonstrate the different constructions of nature in the two archivesConnections: Materials of ObservationVisualization of the ConnectionsVisualizes the connections between all the contentReading Nature, Observing ScienceCaptions and information for the cases of objects on display at UCSC Special CollectionsAlex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ceDanielle Crawford22ce6a14f83c9ff73c3545a665951a092258f08e
The Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin
12016-06-07T01:01:17-07:00Danielle Crawford22ce6a14f83c9ff73c3545a665951a092258f08e91843plain2016-06-08T00:03:40-07:00Danielle Crawford22ce6a14f83c9ff73c3545a665951a092258f08eNorris, Kenneth S., et al. The Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin. Illus. Jenny Wardrip. Berkeley: U of California P, 1994. Print.
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12016-06-05T03:33:17-07:00What is Natural History?10plain2017-12-13T18:26:40-08:00Ken Norris's extensive research, which ranged from marine mammal research to desert ecology, was centered on the larger field of natural history. In many ways, natural history was what brought Norris's diverse areas of study together. Norris was in fact a professor of natural history at UCSC's Environmental Studies Department, where he created the popular Natural History Field Quarter. In his book The Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin (1994), which Norris co-authored with Bernd Würsig, Randall S. Wells, and Melany Würsig, he clearly defines what it means to do natural history work. Norris writes, "What we did [in The Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin] is what I call natural history. That is, we attempted to look at a single species from as many viewpoints as we could to contrive to understand what the totality of the dolphin's life is really like" (3). Norris thus defines natural history as a material practice of observation, one which entails using different methods of viewing in order to gain as much knowledge as possible about a particular species and its interactions with the natural world.
In his studies of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) and herpetology (reptiles and amphibians), Norris applied this practice of natural history, utilizing a wide array of observational methods and tools, such as underwater photography, glass slides, field notes, journal entries, sketches, diagrams, aerial observation logs, sonographs and audiotapes, as well as direct interactions with the natural world.
These varied material practices lead us to question how different modes of observation influence the field of natural history and its production of knowledge. In other words, how are natural history knowledge formations shaped by Norris's layered practices of observation?