MSc (Hons); MA (Hons) Melb.; MA PhD Yale
Alistair is an historian of science (multidisciplinary with history of art), working also on the history of science education. He is especially keen on physical and spatial evidence and learning artefacts: they can tell us about practices that aren't recorded well in textual records, and about people who didn't leave much of a textual record behind — or whose textual record has not been extensively collected in archives or museums. Alistair's historical research takes him often to the fundamentals of material culture theory, both for research and for teaching.
Alistair taught the Academic Leadership Initiative for doctoral candidates, and seminars and workshops for tutors, doctoral students and supervisors. He has also taught small-group pedagogy and didactics, physics, history of science, historical bibliography, bookbinding, letterpress printing.
Alistair's preferred modes of teaching involve object-based and image-based pedagogies, especially for direct engagement with evidence. He has a long history of holding university classes in museums, art galleries and rare book libraries, architectural sites, and by hands-on construction.
- International Scholar, Society for the History of Technology
- Junior Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
- Research Fellow, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Connecticut-Baden Württemberg Exchange Scholar
- European Studies Fellow, Yale Center for International & Area Studies
- ICOM UMAC Journal editorial board
- He Kupenga, New Zealand Network for History of Science, Medicine and Technology
- International Union of History and Philosophy of Science, Division for History of Science & Technology
- History of Science Society
- International Council of Museums
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Sword, H., Blumenstein, M., Kwan, A., Shen, L., & Trofimova, E. (2017). Seven ways of looking at a data set. Qualitative Inquiry, 24 (7), 499-508. 10.1177/1077800417729847
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marion Blumenstein, Helen Sword, Evija Trofimova
- Kwan, A. (2017). Interpreting tools by imagining their uses. Journal of Museum Education, 42 (1), 69-80. 10.1080/10598650.2016.1268884
- Barton, R., & Kwan, A. M. (2016). Jock Hoe: Mathematician, linguist and historian, 1929–2016. Bulletin of the Pacific Circle, 37, 3-4.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ruth Barton
- Reframing the PhD Project Team (2016). Stewardship: A way of analysing, integrating and providing intention to the curriculum of the Australian PhD. Reframing the PhD for Australia's future universities, 2 Canberra, Australia: The Australian Office for Learning and Teaching.
- Kwan, A. (2016). Historic methods for capturing magnetic field images. The Physics Teacher, 54, 134-137. 10.1119/1.4942129
- Kwan, A. M. (2016). “Do not kill guinea pig before setting up apparatus”: the kymograph's lost educational context. Teorie Vědy/Theory of Science, 38 (3), 301-335. Related URL.
- Kwan, A. (2011). Tycho's Talisman: Astrological Magic in the Design of Uraniborg. Early Science and Medicine, 16 (2), 95-119. 10.1163/157338211X557075
- Kwan, A. (2011). Vernier scales and other early devices for precise measurement. American Journal of Physics, 79, 368-373. 10.1119/1.3533717