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Sarah Pickman


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in History of Science and Medicine, broadly interested in histories of exploration, field science, and travel in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My dissertation focuses on the material culture of expeditions c. 1820-1950, with a focus on the everyday provisions - including protective clothing, preserved food, and portable medical kits - that explorers and scientists carried with them into the field. I examine the role of material culture in shaping the modern notion of the extreme environment, including how shifting conceptions of physical and psychological comfort contributed to the idea of an "extreme" place. I am particularly interested in these historical issues as they relate to the Arctic and Antarctica. I have a B.A. in Anthropology and Art History from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center of Bard College, and a professional background in museum administration.


  • Arctic Circle residency
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen 2019
    In June of 2019, I participated in the Arctic Circle, an interdisciplinary residency program for artists and scholars on a tall ship in the Svalbard archipelago, approximately 650 miles south of the North Pole