(Image credit: Nadia Berenstein, 2015)
HUM 395, “Imagining Molecular Reality” (Spring 2018, University of Illinois): This advanced undergraduate course explores how fundamentally invisible entities like atoms and molecules become synecdoches for our ideas of human life and society — how ideas like “toxins” and “what’s in your DNA” come to exert a powerful hold on everything from our political identities to our. We will examine how fundamentally invisible things were made visible through research, rhetoric, and “paper tools,” long before seeing them was even a remote possibility. This course covers the whole chronological range of Western scientific thought, from the Ancient philosophers Democritus and Lucretius to twenty-first century debates over toxicology, gene drives and genetic citizenship.
“The Architectures of Life and Matter”: From the standpoint of the long history of matter theory, there shouldn’t really be that much of a difference between my car and my cat: in most scientific systems, both entities are made of kind of stuff, and the same material rules and principles that govern my cat ought to hold true—or at least not be contradicted—by those that govern an automobile. Even if “life” became a distinct epistemic category in the late eighteenth century European science, as Foucault has claimed, “matter” has never been so divided, and the diversity of matter’s behaviors has always posed a challenge to those who sought to codify laws of matter and physics. Given recent attention to philosophical materialism in Anthropocene studies (and already long-dominant in environmental history), in this seminar we will try to knit together some of the disparate historiographies of life and matter, a synthetic exercise that used to be a staple of the history of science, but has since fallen out of favor. (Course under development, syllabus available upon request.)
“World History of Science and Global Exploration”: How do we know anything about the greater world outside of our homes, outside of our daily lives, our cities, and the world beyond our borders? This introductory and intermediate-level undergraduate course will look at the history of science from a global view, examining how we as humans have sought to understand the things and places far beyond our immediate surroundings. The course covers three thematic, world-historical units: 1) global biodiversity and climate science, 2) Hellenistic and Islamic science, and 3) exploration in the age of European colonialism. (Course under development, syllabus available upon request.)
Courses TA’d at the University of Wisconsin
History of Science/Integrated Liberal Studies 201, “The Origins of Scientific Thought,” with Prof. Florence Hsia.
History of Science/Integrated Liberal Studies 202, “The Making of Modern Science,” with Prof. Richard Staley.
History of Science 133, “Biology and Society, 1950 to Today,” with Prof. Nicole Nelson.
Courses taught at the University of Wisconsin
Associate Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Agriculture 375: “Research Past and Present at the UW College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” team taught with Prof. Dave Nelson and others.