Associate Professor of History, Director of Science, Technology, and Society


I am a historian of the life, earth, and environmental sciences, as well as the history of museums, focusing on 19th and early 20th century North America. With a technical background in molecular evolution and ecology, my research explores how large-scale social institutions like capitalism and imperialism shape our knowledge about the earth and its many inhabitants.

My first book was published by Harvard University Press in 2019. Entitled "Assembling the Dinosaur: Fossil Hunters, Tycoons, and the Making of a Spectacle," this project uses the history of paleontology as a means to examine how the ideals, norms, and practices of modern capitalism shaped the way scientific knowledge was made, certified, and distributed during America's Long Gilded Age. In addition, I also co-edited the 2018 issue of Osiris (with Eugenia Lean & William Deringer) on the theme of "Science & Capitalism: Entangled Histories."

I am currently working on a number of projects. These range from the role played by the earth sciences in the history of North American imperialism and Indigenous dispossession to the global history of the earth. I am also interested in how the concept of organization traveled between biology and political economy.

Finally, I have written several essays about the material culture of the earth sciences, the history of museums, the organization of a capitalist marketplace, the valuation of fossils, and the authentication of specimens. You can find pdfs of these in the publications page of my pesonal website:


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