2017 Speaker Biographies: Oceans in World History

Maren Anderson studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a focus in Tropical Marine Ecology at University of Colorado at Boulder. During her studies, she performed health assessments of coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Oceans. Upon graduation, she worked with coral and marine ecosystem conservation at Disney World's Living Seas exhibit as an aquarist, diver and marine mammal research assistant. She assisted in cognitive research of Atlantic bottlenose dolphin as well as the rehabilitation of West Indian manatees. Maren is a Research Associate for a Humpback whale Behavior Project focusing on the interactions between mother and calf pairs in Hawaii. Maren has participated in vessel- and land-based visual and acoustic towed array surveys, assessing the abundance, density and distribution of pilot whales, spinner and bottlenose dolphins, Risso's dolphins, beaked whales, harbor porpoise, California sea lions and harbor seals. On land, Maren serves as a research assistant and consultant for various government agencies in managing marine resources, specifically in marine mammals, coral, and fish. For the last 10 years, she has worked as a high school science teacher focusing on marine biology, general biology, ecology, evolution, and genetics. She is also the Director of Experiential Education and develops programs for experiential learning around the world for her students. 

Christopher Blunda is PhD candidate in the UC Berkeley Department of History. His research focuses on Salvian of Marseilles, a fifth-century priest who witnessed the dissolution of the western Roman Empire. He is interested in the social, cultural, and religious history of late antiquity. He holds degrees from Cornell University (2010), Harvard Divinity School (2012), and UC Berkeley (2015). 

Beverly Crawford

Paul Kamen

Alan Karras is Associate Director of IAS. In his more than twenty years at Berkeley, he has taught courses on world history, classical political economy, Caribbean history, and the history of transnational crime—among others. His research interests are in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, and global interactions more broadly, especially as they relate to transnational transgressions like smuggling, fraud, and corruption. He is the author of Smuggling: Corruption and Contraband in World History (2010), Sojourners in the Sun: Scots Migrants in Jamaica and the Chesapeake, 1740-1800 (1993), and the coeditor, with John R. McNeill, of Atlantic American Societies: From Columbus through Abolition, 1492-1888 (1992). He also has co-edited a book, Encounters Old and New, with Laura Mitchell, that makes a case for historians to engage more with the public. He served as one of the editors for the forthcoming Cambridge Dictionary of World History and was on the board of editors for Cambridge University Press's multi-volume Cambridge World History.

Dr. Su Lin Lewis  is Lecturer in Modern Global History at the University of Bristol. Her recently published book is Cities in Motion: Urban Life and Cosmopolitanism in Southeast Asia, 1920-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2016). She was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley from 2011-2013.

Jennifer Metz is a lecturer of American History, Maritime History, and Politics in the ABS School of Maritime Policy and Management at California State University, Maritime in Vallejo, California. She is also a scholar of the National Endowment for the Humanities Munson Institute of Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. Her passion projects include developing new history content and pedagogy at the K-12 level including contributing to AP course creation, writing K-12 textbook curriculum, and producing public history projects in bay area maritime history.

Katherine Sammler is an assistant professor at Cal State Maritime Academy. She studies ocean politics and geography with a focus on measurement, boundary drawing, and seabed mining. She has a background in political geography, social theory, and physics. Her emerging research projects also look towards the political and material aspects of the atmosphere and outer space.