Greetings from the President

As incoming president of the Pacific Circle, my thoughts turned to another president, one whose power over the Pacific apparently knows no bounds. Briefly, I imagined my slogan might be: “Make the Pacific Great Again!” But, of course, we all know the Pacific is in no special need of revival—and even if it were, I doubt my influence would count for much.

It may, however, be timely for the Pacific Circle to engage even more vigorously with some current threats to our ocean’s greatness, especially climate change and possible nuclear catastrophe. We might ask how, as scholars of the history and social studies of science in the Pacific, we can further illuminate some of the pressing problems of our times. I hope that during my tenure as president, the Pacific Circle gets an opportunity to address such issues and to support historically informed scholarship on our contemporary predicaments. “Keep the Pacific Great!” may be more apt.

The Pacific Circle offers an unrivaled forum for communication between scholars in various disciplines concerned with science in the Pacific in all its dimensions. I hope that in the following years we can redouble efforts to connect our commission with scholars in currently under-represented areas such as Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the islands of the South Pacific. Additionally, we can do more to engage with general historians and anthropologists of the Pacific—and with historians of science on the Pacific littoral perhaps oriented toward national communities.

The election of my fellow office bearers, all eager to float new ideas, augurs well—as does the continuing commitment of our editor and editorial assistant. Through emails, the regular bulletin, and the website, they create a unique scholarly community and keeps us buoyant. We are grateful also to John Gascoigne and Roy MacLeod, previous presidents, for having guided so adroitly our scholarly vessel.

I look forward to meeting members over the following few years at our sponsored events. Like most things, the more you choose to participate in the Pacific Circle, the more you will get from it.

Warwick Anderson

University of Sydney


(Past Messages)

I am grateful to have this opportunity to greet members of the Pacific Circle following the appointment of a new slate of office bearers at the International Congress on the History of Science at Manchester in July 2013. Thanks to my fellow office bearers (listed below) for their willingness to serve and for Peter Hoffenberg’s indefatigable and continuing work in keeping members informed of events and developments relevant to our concerns both through his regular emails and the production of the biennial bulletin. Peter has also overseen the establishment of a website which will enable more communication between members. The Manchester conference offered an opportunity to strengthen our ties with sister Commissions which are represented on our council by the ex officio membership of representatives from the History of Oceanography Commission and the ‘Science and Empires’ Commission, these being respectively Jacob Hamblin and Michael Osborne, both of the Oregon State University. At the conference, too, Roy MacLeod was the invited discussant at all the sessions of the Oceanography Commission, and chaired a session on nuclear history in the East Asia Commission.

The wide expanse of the Pacific Circle is underlined by the active participation of members from around the Pacific Rim. Like my predecessor, Roy MacLeod, I am based in Sydney though in my case at the University of New South Wales. My own work has been on exploration and culture contact in the age of the Enlightenment, the theme of my forthcoming book, Encountering the Pacific in the Age of the Enlightenment (Cambridge UP, 2014). I hope that the activities of the Pacific Circle will enable me to meet a growing number of you, most immediately through the sponsoring by the Pacific Circle of a panel at the History of Science conference in Chicago, 6-9 November 2014.

With best wishes

John Gascoigne


The Pacific Circle

Officers and Council Members



President: Warwick Anderson, University of Sydney, Australia

Vice Presidents: Zuoyue Wang, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, USA

Roy MacLeod, University of Sydney, Australia

Secretary/Editor: Peter Hoffenberg, University of Hawaii, USA

Council Members:

Antony Adler, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Anthony Ballantyne, University of Otago, New Zealand

John Gascoigne, University of New South Wales, Australia

Jianjun Mei, Needham Institute, University of Cambridge, England

Buhm Soon Park, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, (KAIST), Daejeon, South Korea

Miao Tian, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Christine Winter, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Ex-officio Council members:

Commission on the History of Oceanography: Jacob Hamblin, Oregon State University, Portland, Oregon, USA

Commission on Sciences and Empire: Michael Osborne, Oregon State