Robles HeadshotI am a PhD candidate in Harvard University’s American Studies program specializing in early American history, the history of science, material culture studies, and environmental history. I will join Dartmouth College’s Society of Fellows in September 2019 as a Lecturer and Junior Fellow.

My book project, Curious Species: How Animals Made Natural History, 1700–1820, examines the formative role animals and specimens played in early American science. I study creatures such as corals, rattlesnakes, fish, and raccoons to illustrate how nonhumans shaped the Enlightenment project that sought to study them, resulting in both the advancement and loss of natural knowledge.

My most recent publications include an essay in Common-place: The Journal of Early American Life on the benefits and challenges of reenacting historical specimen preservation techniques, an article about a 1755 earthquake that shook Boston, published in The New England Quarterly, and an essay on flattened scientific specimens and modes of observation, published in The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820. My research has been supported by the American Historical Association, the American Antiquarian Society, 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, and the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

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 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.