After a highly successful career in corporate environmental compliance, Dr. Darryl E. Brock, adjunct professor of history at CCSU, returned to academia in order to pursue his lifelong interest in history. “I originally trained as a scientist because I wanted to understand how the universe works. Similarly, history helps us understand how things came to be the way they are and uses many of the same investigatory tools of collecting information, synthesizing data, and drawing conclusions,” said Dr. Brock.
While working in the agrochemical industry, Dr. Brock was also an active historian. During business trips to Washington, D.C., he would use downtime to research in the Library of Congress and National Archives. This research led him to author articles in magazines like America’s Civil War as well as a chapter in the book “Cubans in the Confederacy.”
Dr. Brock now studies the history of science, especially in connection with foreign relations. “Science permeates virtually every human endeavor in every age. Studying the history of science provides a vital context for understanding in today’s human society. Imperialism, for example, can be related to the early Spanish Empire’s search for South American botanicals,” said Dr. Brock. He also noted that European imperialism in Africa was accelerated after malaria-controlling quinine became available.
Dr. Brock’s recent research focus is Greater China. He spent winter semester in Taiwan as a research fellow for the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he researched the importance of aquaculture science to Taiwan’s public diplomacy in Latin America. Both Taiwan’s democratic government and the communist regime based in Beijing claim to be the rightful government of China. “Today, only 22 small, relatively impoverished nations still recognize the Republic of China [Taiwan] instead of Communist China. Half of these reside in Latin America, making this region of enormous diplomatic importance to Taiwan. The ROC provides major foreign aid to these nations, and in return these nations lend their voice at the United Nations to argue for Taiwan’s involvement in international bodies such as the World Health Organization,” said Dr. Brock.
Aquaculture science is key to these foreign aid efforts. “Taiwan is a leading presence in aquaculture,” said Dr. Brock. Taiwan has supported aquaculture projects in seven Latin American nations as well as the Pacific island-nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu. Dr. Brock spent a great deal of time researching in the National Central Library in Taipei and speaking to top officials who were “essentially the equivalent to direct reports of John Kerry at the U.S. State Department,” said Dr. Brock. He recalls a particularly memorable meeting with the deputy director of the Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute. “The director warmly greeted me at his office in shirt sleeves, gave me research books and various gifts of seafood products, toured me through their massive aquarium housing a fifty year-old grouper [along with many other fish], and poured over books from his libraries in order to answer my technical questions.”
Dr. Brock was in Beijing for the summer to research how Communist China is setting up stronger relationships with Latin American nations. “I am working to interview Chinese officials to secure a greater understanding of what their vision is for relations with Latin America,” said Dr. Brock.
Additionally, he is writing a book contracted with the University of Alabama Press entitled “Botanical Monroe Doctrine and American Empire: The Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico.” The book will tell the tale of a series of research expeditions to Puerto Rico organized in 1913 by the New York Botanical Garden, New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Museum of Natural History. “These would support a biological census of America’s new global empire,” said Dr. Brock.