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Areas of expertise
history of science, British and imperial history

At Southwestern, I have discovered wonderful ways to expand my very specialized knowledge in the history of science into a far broader set of teaching and research interests. I am especially interested in the historical relationship between the sciences and society, the sciences in non-western contexts, and - in a completely different vein - knitting and the fiber arts.

My courses focus on teaching students to see themselves as active, critical, well-informed participants in historical debate.


Education

PhD, Indiana University 1999
MA, PhD, Indiana University 1999
BSFS, Georgetown University 1992

Positions



January 01, 1999 - present

Research

I am researching African and European knowledge about and ways of understanding nature in colonial South Africa (18th & 19th centuries). I am interested in trying to recover what Africans (and uneducated European colonists) knew about nature, and to try to understand when that knowledge was and was not accepted by Western science.

I have also recently begun to explore a completely different set of interests by working in the fiber arts and knitwear design.


Publications

BOOKS:

  • What Kids Want: Kung Fu Knits, under contract with Cooperative Press
  • Nervous Conditions: Science and the Body Politic in the Industrial Age, State University of New York Press, 2006.

SIGNIFICANT ARTICLES:

  • "Indigenous Knowledge and Contact Zones: The Case of the Cold Bokkeveld Meteorite, Cape Colony, 1838," Itinerario, special issue edited by Lissa Roberts, vol. 33 (2009): 31-44.
  • "What the Dogs Knew: Intelligence and Morality in the Cape Colony," in Canis Africanis: A Dog History of Southern Africa, ed. Lance Van Sittert and Sandra Swart (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007), 77-90.
  • "Using Structured Debate to Achieve Autonomous Student Discussion," The History Teacher 37 (2004): 335-349.
  • "Worlds Displaced: Projecting the Celestial Environment from the Cape Colony," Kronos: Journal of Cape History 29 (2003): 64-85.
  • "Plant Knowledge at the Cape: A Study in African and European Collaboration," International Journal of African Historical Studies 36 (2003): 367-392.
  • "Local Colour: John Dalton and the Politics of Colour Blindness," History of Science 38 (2000): 401-424.
  • "Swords into Ploughshares: John Herschel's Progressive View of Astronomical and Imperial Governance," British Journal for the History of Science 31 (1998): 419-436.

Honors & Awards

MAJOR AWARDS:

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to support six months of archival research and writing in South Africa and Great Britain (fellowship used Jan.-June 2003)
  • Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant from the American Historical Association to support archival research in South Africa
  • Sam Taylor Award ($2,400) from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, United Methodist Church, to support archival research in South Africa
  • Community Project Grant ($3,500) from the Texas Council for the Humanities, to mount an exhibit on scientific instruments and pedagogy, titled "Physics on the Frontier: An Exhibit on Science at Southwestern University, 1880-1950"
  • Finalist for Basic Books Prize in the history of science
  • National Science Foundation graduate student fellowship (used 1995-1998)

Interests

I learned to knit 25 years ago and have been an avid knitter for the last 15. I believe that the fiber arts are an excellent avenue for creative expression, community activism, and personal growth.