Spark from the Deep: An Interview

“In a sense, all life consists of the colonization of an electric world. But to see that, we have to go back to the very beginning.” William J. Turkel’s new book traces the emergence and inhabiting of an electric world through the span of human history and beyond. Embracing a “big history” approach to the archive, Spark from the Deep: How Shocking Experiments with Strongly Electric Fish Powered Scientific Discovery (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) is a story of the human understanding and use of electricity through the study of strongly-electric catfish, rays, and eels. It’s a history of intimacy between life and the electric, humans and instruments, life and death, from the earliest history of human interaction with strongly electric fish through the modern world. We spoke about the book for the New Books in STS podcast and you can listen to our conversation here.