I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows and Department of History at Dartmouth College. I received my Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2019 and specialize in early American history, the history of science, material culture, and environmental studies.
My first book, Curious Species: How Enlightenment Animals Made Natural History, is under contract with Yale University Press. It examines how nonhuman creatures such as corals, rattlesnakes, fish, and raccoons shaped the Enlightenment project that sought to study them, resulting in both the advancement and loss of natural knowledge in the eighteenth century—with consequences for our own understanding of such animals today.
My most recent publications include an article about rattlesnakes and scientific ignorance in the William and Mary Quarterly; an essay in Commonplace: The Journal of Early American Life on the challenges of reenacting eighteenth-century fish taxidermy; an article in The New England Quarterly about a 1755 earthquake that shook Boston; and an essay on flattened scientific specimens and modes of observation, published in the book The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820.
I am also the curator of a Mellon-funded digital exhibition titled The Kitchen in the Cabinet: Histories of Food and Science, which uncovers the historical connections between food and natural science through the stories of food artifacts that have stood the test of time by being preserved in scientific collections. The project stems from my work as an affiliate researcher with the Stanford-based Natural Things | Ad Fontes Naturae research group, a global natural history project in the digital humanities. My research has been supported by the American Historical Association, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Antiquarian Society, the Smithsonian Institution, the British Library, the William L. Clements Library, the Boston Athenaeum, the Lewis Walpole Library, the Linda Hall Library, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, the Center for American Political Studies, the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, and other institutions.
I received my A.M. in History from Harvard and my B.A. in American Studies (with a concentration in nature writing) from Yale University. In my days before academia, I worked as a science editor for a global health laboratory at Caltech and as a freelance science and nature writer. I also penned stories on firefly sex, flavor perception, and terraforming Mars while working as a writer and editor at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.