CBS PhD Student Federica T. Colonna Returns from Summer of Archival Research in Europe

After finishing her first year as a doctoral student in History and Philosophy of Science, Federica  had the opportunity of researching in the archives in Europe. The Konrad Lorenz Institute (KLI) awarded her a Junior Visiting Fellowship, and she spent 6 weeks in Vienna, Austria.

Federica flew to Vienna in May and tons of rain welcomed her arrival to Austria. The rainy season lasted during all her stay there. Nonetheless, she had a lot of fun. Federica was able explore different archives and find valuable material, which she eventually discussed with Dr. Gerd Müller, the KLI’s scientific director and one of her committee members’.

As soon as she started doing research, she narrowed down her interests by focusing on the Trieste Zoological Station. Thus, Federica figured out that she needed to travel to Trieste to get more material. The Trieste Zoological Station used to belong to Austria, but after World War I, when Austria lost part of its land, the station was closed and its archive was spread all over Europe.

During her stay in Trieste, Italy, she was able to meet people who direct research organizations there and brought her to a dark, dusty room where tons and tons of papers lay on shelves and… on the floor. After a few seconds of deep excitement, Federica felt overwhelmed as she had a huge amount of material for her research but no clues on what she would find there.

Finally, Federica acquired as much as she could given her short stay, and traveled back to Vienna, where she eventually explored more archives. At the end of her stay there, she tried to make sense of what she found and delivered a talk at the KLI, in which Federica received most useful comments from her peers.