Danielle Gilbert

Research Summary

Danielle is a doctoral student in the School of Archaeology, supervised by Professor Dan Hicks (Pitt Rivers Museum), whose interests include collections-based research in the archaeology and anthropology of the Global South.

With a background in the humanities and social sciences, she holds BAs in Archaeology, English, and a minor in Museums & Society from Johns Hopkins University, and an MPhil in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage from the University of Cambridge. Her fieldwork includes excavation experience in Virginia and Peru, and assisting with collections management at a community history museum in Syracuse, New York. Prior to starting her DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2018, she completed a graduate curatorial internship in the arts of the Americas at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Danielle's doctoral research examines the written, visual, and physical materials created and collected during the HMS Beagle's second voyage (1831-1836) through the Global South to investigate the nature of first encounters, colonial era collecting practices, and the production of knowledge. She undertakes an anthropological and literary approach to analyse the expedition often heralded as the scientific voyage of discovery that shaped Charles Darwin's theories on evolution, with the intent to move beyond a singular narrative and explore the diverse histories of the people, places, objects, and non-human entities present during the journey. Engaging with themes such as transformation, creation and loss, ontology and alterity, nature and culture, time and space, she seeks to contribute to larger discussions about the politics of knowledge and decolonisation, the repatriation of natural and cultural materials, and the language of anthropological comparison.