Henry M. Cowles
Program: History of Science
Fields of Study: United States, Modern Science (Biology, Psychology), Philosophy
Advisor: Daniel T. Rodgers
I work on the history of science in the United States (and, to some extent, Great Britain) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Specifically, I focus on how developments in the life and human sciences overlapped with trends in philosophy and social thought in the decades around 1900. I maintain particular interests in evolutionary biology, psychology, and American pragmatism.
My dissertation ("A Method Only": The Evolving Meaning of Science in the United States, 1859-1929) treats debates about scientific methodology in the decades around 1900 as debates about the meaning of science itself. As philosophers, psychologists, and scientists argued with one another about the nature of knowledge, they both drew on and effected wider shifts in the cultural authority of science. Based in archives throughout the U.S. and U.K., the project puts recent trends in the history of science into dialogue with work in U.S. cultural intellectual history.
Beyond my dissertation, an article of mine on the Victorian roots of the modern concept of extinction was recently published (see below). I've presented my work in a number of contexts, including conferences in the history of science, intellectual history, and Victorian Studies. At Princeton, I've taught in both American Studies (AMS 201: American Places) and the history of science (HIS 396: History of Biology). I graduated with an A.B. in Environmental Science and a minor in Evolutionary Biology from Harvard in 2008.
Henry M. Cowles, "A Victorian Extinction: Alfred Newton and the Evolution of Animal Protection," The British Journal for the History of Science (forthcoming in print, 2013)