Alistair Sponsel


Click links for downloadable text of most of the publications listed below.

Selected publications

2016. “Pacific Islands and the Problem of Theorizing: The U.S. Exploring Expedition from Fieldwork to Publication.” In Soundings and Crossings: Doing Science at Sea, 1800-1970, ed. Katharine Anderson and Helen M Rozwadowski, 79-112. Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications. DOWNLOAD PDF

2016: “An Amphibious Being: How Maritime Surveying Reshaped Darwin’s Approach to Natural History.” Isis, 107: 254-281. DOWNLOAD PDF

2015. “From Cook to Cousteau: The Many Lives of Coral Reefs.” In Fluid Frontiers: Exploring Oceans, Islands, and Coastal Environments, ed. John Gillis and Franziska Torma, 139-161. Cambridge, UK: White Horse Press. DOWNLOAD PDF

2013. “Charles Darwin’s Theory of Coral Reef Formation.” In Coral: Something Rich and Strange, ed. Marion Endt-Jones, 70-73. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. DOWNLOAD PDF

2011. “Selective Memory: An Interview with Londa Schiebinger.” Cabinet, 42: 98-104. (Commissioned as part of themed section on forgetting.) DOWNLOAD PDF

2010. “Lords of the Ring: Beneath the Surface of the Atoll.” Cabinet, 38: 55-59. DOWNLOAD PDF

2009. “Darwin and Humboldt” and “Darwin and Coral Reefs.” In A Voyage Round the World: Charles Darwin and the Beagle Collections in the University of Cambridge, ed. Alison M. Pearn, 13-15, 104-107. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A web version of the Humboldt chapter may be found HERE.

2002. “Constructing a ‘Revolution in Science’: The Campaign to Promote a Favourable Reception for the 1919 Solar Eclipse Expeditions.” British Journal for the History of Science, 35: 439-467. DOWNLOAD PDF


2009. “Bonds Forged on the High Seas.” Nature, 462 (November 19), 286-287. (Review of Darwin’s Armada by Iain McCalman.) DOWNLOAD PDF

2008. “Review of Seafaring Scientist: Alfred Goldsborough Mayor, Pioneer in Marine Biology by Lester D. Stephens and Dale R. Calder.” International Journal of Maritime History, 20: 386. DOWNLOAD PDF

2006. “Overshadowed Ports of Call,” Science, 312: 5775 (May 12), 850. (Review of Darwin’s Other Islands by Patrick Armstrong.) DOWNLOAD PDF

2006. “Review of Cambridge Scientific Minds edited by Peter Harman and Simon Mitton, and From Newton to Hawking edited by Kevin C. Knox and Richard Noakes.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 42: 409-411. DOWNLOAD PDF

2005. “From the Beach to the Seafloor,” Science, 309: 5739 (August 26), 1327-1328. (Review of Fathoming the Ocean by Helen M. Rozwadowski.) DOWNLOAD PDF

Edited volumes:

2013. Frederick Burkhardt, et al., eds., The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (As associate editor.)

2012. Frederick Burkhardt, et al., eds., The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (As associate editor.)

Ph.D. dissertation:

2009. “Coral Reef Formation and the Sciences of Earth, Life, and Sea, C. 1770-1952.” Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University. DOWNLOAD PDF


See also:

2010: “Darwin and Geology.” Web resource offering several essays and a full bibliography of Darwin’s geological works.


2010: “About Darwin.” Short biography written for the Darwin Correspondence Project website.