Program: History of Science
Fields of Study: History of Modern Science; History of Biology; Global History since 1850.
Advisor: Erika Milam
I am a Ph.D. student in the Program in the History of Science, with research interests in the history of the life sciences, twentieth century global political and cultural history, and the intersection between concepts of biological and political identity.
In my dissertation, I trace a transnational history of human evolution research in the twentieth century, focusing on three main intellectual threads within this subject: ideas about the divergence of humans from the other primates, the evolutionary role of bipedal motion in that divergence, and, lastly, changing theories about the geographical locus of human evolution, as the proposed “cradle of humanity” shifted from Africa to the center of Asia and back again. My project considers twentieth century human origins research as a global scientific endeavor, and is attentive to both the ways that global political events, including empire, world war, and decolonization, affected both the material and intellectual production of knowledge, as well as to the ways that ideas about human evolution and human origins were picked up in global political discourses, particularly in the post-1945 period.
I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, with a B.A. in diplomatic history. At Penn, I was involved in several undergraduate research initiatives, including the Penn Program in Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Citizenship, the Penn History Review, and the Penn Humanities Forum, where I served as the Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellow and Undergraduate Chair in 2011-2012.