I am a doctoral candidate in Princeton University's Program in the History of Science, broadly working on the intersections of art, exploration, and natural history in the eighteenth and nineteenth century tropics. My dissertation, "Strange Beauty: Botanical Collection, Preservation, and Display in the Nineteenth Century Tropics," follows four species of plants--moss, orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants, and corpse flowers--that confounded ideas of plant reproduction, troubled notions of floral beauty, and upset configurations of gender, sexuality, and race in constructions of "tropical nature." I'm especially interested in how plants were, or weren't, transported across oceans and transformed into material objects in Romantic and Victorian museums, gardens, and herbaria, and how this movement (or lack thereof) figured into constructions of objecthood in the tropical Anthropocene. I am defending in January 2019--my committee consists of D. Graham Burnett, Erika Milam, Rachael Z. DeLue (Art + Archaeology), and Daniela Bleichmar (Visual Studies, USC / The Huntington).
My recent work can be found in Cabinet Magazine, The Public Domain Review, The Appendix, and in various online formats. I've taught at Princeton for Michael Gordin's "Science in the Modern Word" (fall 2016) and for Rachael DeLue's "Art as Science / Science as Art (spring 2018), and have worked as Associate Director of the Behrman Society (sponsored by the Humanities Council), at the Princeton University Art Museum, the Harvey S. Firestone Humanities Library, and various other libraries, archives, and digital humanities projects. I have held fellowships at The New York Botanical Garden Humanities Institute, the Princeton University Art Museum (where I worked in the Modern + Contemporary Art Curatorial Dept.), and the Linda Hall Library; and have given lectures at international conferences in the history of science and museum studies.
In Spring 2015 I completed generals fields in:
History of the Life Sciences with Erika Milam
Museums & Collecting with D. Graham Burnett
Book History with Anthony Grafton
Travel, Trade & Empire Across the Indian Ocean with Michael Laffan
I'm currently living and writing in Philly. During this academic year (2018-19), I am holding Princeton PGRA / Dean's Completion Felowship as well as visiting fellowships at the Yale Center for British Art, the Huntington Library, Art Collection & Botanical Gardens, and the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology & Medicine. I am also a long-term visiting researcher on the Ad Fontes Nature | Natural Things Digital Humanities Project at Stanford University, where we trace the movement of natural objects in the early modern world--stay tuned for updates on our accompanying digital humanities research, exhibit, and lecture series. For a copy of my CV, or for questions about future talks, publications, and events, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), follow my personal website, or follow me on Twitter.
"It is Disturbing to Find" is a new piece for The Public Domain Review's Conjectures Series, a "laboratory for experiments with historical form and method." The essay is a meditation on elegy, discovery, loss, loneliness, and the limits of the archives. View the full series, featuring work by historians like Carla Nappi + John Tresch, here.
"Noble Rot" was published in Cabinet Magazine's 2018 "Nose" issue, and has been receiving great press. Download / purchase the full issue, featuring articles by my adviser (D. Graham Burnett) and colleague (Joshua Bauchner) here.
"Richard Spruce and the Trials of Victorian Bryology" was recommended in the Paris Review's "On the Shelf," and was named as one of the best science artices of 2015. Check it out as part of the beautifully designed collected volume, Public Domain Review: Selected Essays, Vol. III here.