Research Fellow



Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 273741
Email: marionne.cronin@abdn.ac.uk
Address: 24 High Street, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, AB24 3EB


I joined the University of Aberdeen in 2013 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Northern Colonialism: Historical Connections, Contemporary Lives Programme.  As an undergraduate I studied for an interdisciplinary degree in science and technology studies at Queen's University in Canada.  I followed this with an MA in Philosophy from York University (Canada), before studying for an MA and a PhD in the History of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto.  After completing my doctorate, I took up a post as a Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC.  My research draws on this interdisciplinary background to investigate the role of technology in imperialism and colonialism in the circumpolar North.  In particular, I am interested in the interaction between material and cultural practices of exploration.  My current project, 'To the North Pole by Air,' uses the history of 20th-century American polar exploration to investigate how explorers' use of new technologies (especially airplanes) was incorporated into popular images of heroic exploration, masculinity, and modernity in the interwar period.  I am currently writing a book exploring these themes, which will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016.  Other current research interests include: the potential for the life histories of expedition-related material culture, particularly expeditionary equipment, to reveal alternate histories of exploration; the material histories and legacies of Arctic military air bases; and the ways in which attending to the Arctic's airscapes might reconfigure understandings of the region. 

Alongside my research, I also have an interest in academic publishing and have held editorial posts at Oxford University Press and Annals of Science.  I am currently Associate Editor for Technology's Stories(published by the Society for the History of Technology).


Research Interests

History of exploration - particularly heroic exploration narratives; Technology, exploration, and empire; Material practices of northern colonialism; Imagined northern geographies and landscapes; History of technology; History of aviation; Canadian history - interwar and northern history; Environmental history

Current Research

I am interested in the relationship between technology and place in the circumpolar world, the role of technology in the practice of polar exploration, and I have a special interest in the history of aviation in the circumpolar world.  My current research examines the polar flights of American aviator Richard Byrd in the 1920s and 1930s as a way of exploring how the introduction of aircraft influenced our images of polar exploration, polar environments, and polar heroes.  At the same time, I am interested in the material culture of polar exploration as evidence of intersecting Circumpolar and Western histories of technology and exploration. I am also developing a new research project looking at the history of the north as a militarised space. More broadly, I am interested in how the technologies we use to move through northern environments leave traces on our ideas about 'the north'.

Research Grants

Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship in North American Studies, 2015

British Society for the History of Science Research Grant, 2015

Principal's Interdisciplinary Fund Grant, University of Aberdeen, 2015

North Theme Small Project Grant, University of Aberdeen, 2015

External Responsibilities

Associate Editor, Technology's Stories - www.historyoftechnology.org

Northern Colonialism: Historical Connections, Contemporary Lives - http://www.abdn.ac.uk/the-north/


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