Graduate Student and Faculty Participants

Kristin Brig is a third year history of medicine PhD student at Johns Hopkins, where she studies public health in the nineteenth-century British Empire with an emphasis on southern Africa. My dissertation examines water management strategies in Cape Colony and Natal port cities, specifically how administrative and citizen techniques inflected and reacted against one another. 

Nuala Caomhánach is a PhD candidate at New York University and a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Her dissertation, titled “The Unfinished Synthesis: The Rise of Phylogenetics in an Age of Climate Change, 1880-1990,” examines the intellectual and political conflict waged by two bodies of scientific knowledge–ecology and evolutionary phylogenetics- in Madagascar, a process that laid the foundation for today’s controversial conservation management in the face of climate change.

Haris A. Durrani is a second-year PhD candidate in the Department of History (Program in History of Science) at Princeton University. He is also a JD candidate (on leave) at Columbia Law School. He studies the intersections between history of science and legal history from the Cold War to present. His work focuses on property (including raw materials and IP), administrative law, and constitutional law in the context of extraterritoriality, international law, and US extractive empire in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Marlis Hinckley is a second-year PhD student at Johns Hopkins University studying early modern science in the Hispanic world. Her past research has focused on medieval history, particularly the history of alchemy, and her current project – on Franciscan agriculture in sixteenth-century Mexico – draws on an interest in science and religion, the history of ecological change, and translating knowledge across spaces and cultures.

Timothy Kent Holliday (PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania) is an historian of the body, race, and gender, primarily in early American contexts, but with an interest in global and comparative methodologies. His past projects have included studies of: the history of language revitalization among the Klallam people of the Pacific Northwest; post-Civil War Gullah medical practices; and slander and social networks in seventeenth-century Marblehead. Currently, his research examines institutional physicians’ performances of intimate care in Philadelphia during epidemic disease crises between 1793 and 1854.

Ron Leonhardt is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has worked extensively in Cambodia, conducting both archival research pertaining to his dissertation project and ethnographic work dealing with contemporary political, religious, and public health issues. His dissertation project examines nation-building in Cambodia in the 1950s and 1960s with an emphasis on international politics, tourism, and sports nationalism. 

Michael Levy is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania.  His research focuses on the control of urban Chagas disease transmission in Peru, and policies surrounding bed bugs in public and private housing in the United States. He teaches “Insect Epidemiology: Pests, Pollinators and Disease Vectors”.  He is currently working on a new approach to insect control patterned after the mammalian immune system. 

Patricía Martins Marcos works on eighteenth century history science and medicine in the Portuguese imperial space (principally in Brazil, the coast of Angola, and Portugal). Her key analytic is the concept of “Political Medicine” (Medicina Política) which I use to understand how bodies (racialized, gendered, criminalized, medicalized) were differently governed and granted rights of subjecthood and self-government. She regards bodies as global objects in movement and it is through that lens and heuristic that try to track their movement in different spaces of colonization and imperial ambition. Her work has, among others, been supported by the American Philosophical Society, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, and the University of California San Diego’s Black Studies Project.

Erica L. Meszaros is a PhD student in the History of the Exact Sciences at Brown University, focusing on the translation of scientific ideas across the borders of culture, language, and time. 

Sarah Pulliam is a history PhD student at George Washington University and history instructor at the United States Naval Academy. She is currently working on the history of psychiatry and mental health in Egypt. 

Natascha Otoya is a 3rd year PhD student, doing Environmental History at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on the development of the oil industry in Brazil in the first half of the 20th century. She is particularly interested in human/nature interactions and how different groups, such as politicians and scientists, viewed these interactions. Her research interests overlap with the field of history of science, as geology is a central element in the search and exploration of petroleum in Brazil, and she hopes to further develop collaborations with this branch of the natural sciences. Before coming to Georgetown, she completed a Master’s degree in Environmental History at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil. Non-academic interests include climate activism, cycling, and a new-found love for yoga. 

Sarah A. Qidwai is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, where she is working on a dissertation on the history of science and Islam in British India.  

Tristan Revells is completing his PhD in East Asian languages and cultures at Columbia University. Focused primarily on the study of science and technology in China, Vietnam, and Japan, his dissertation traces the history of renewable energy in China, specifically focusing on the biofuel industry. Currently as a Mistry Fellow at the Science History Institute, he is collaborating on an AR/VR model of industrial distillation.

Robert Rouphail is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the Susquehanna University. His research focuses on the modern histories of cyclonic weather in Mauritius, and the Indian Ocean World. His book manuscript, Cyclonic Lives: Disaster and Society in Modern Mauritius, is an environmental history from below. It seeks to understand how everyday people reckoned with these meteorological phenomena in Mauritius. This project traces how popular ideas of race, gender and national belonging in Mauritius transformed in relation to the destruction caused by tropical cyclones and reconstruction efforts that followed.

Andrew Seaton is a PhD candidate in history at New York University. His dissertation is a political, cultural, and transnational history of the British National Health Service (NHS) and its relationship to social democracy. Andrew is more broadly interested in the history of science, technology, medicine, and environment, as well as social and political history. His research has been funded by the New York Academy of Medicine, Rockefeller Archive Center, Society for the Social History of Medicine, and the Remarque Institute. 

Alexander Statman is an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the history of science at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed his Ph.D. at Stanford University. His interests include cross-cultural conversation and exchange, the challenges and legacies of the European Enlightenment, environmental thought, and the historiography of science. He’s currently working on a book manuscript entitled: A Global Enlightenment: Western Progress and Chinese Science.

Jing Sun is a PhD candidate in the History Department at University of Pennsylvania. She is currently working on her dissertation on the development and application of nutrition science in modern Japan from a global perspective. Her research interests include the history of medical science in East Asia, food politics and military history of modern Japan.

Lance C. Thurner finished his PhD last year at Rutgers with a dissertation on race and medicine in the Spanish empire, looking particularly at the efforts of intellectuals to research and acquire fetishized “Indian” materia medica in 18th century Mexico.  He is teaching currently at Rutgers Newark, where he has unrolled this year a new digital curriculum on race in the Americas, which you can see at

Xinfang Yan is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of History of Science, Tsinghua University and a visiting student at the Department of History and Sociology of Science at Penn (2019-2020). Her research field is Chinese history of science and STS, especially the science during the period of the New Culture Movement. She is interested in the flow of scientific knowledge from the West to China in 19th and 20th centuries and the mutual shaping between science and Chinese language, culture and society. Her dissertation mainly explores issues like: how did the ideological and linguistic changes in the field of “science” trigger the Vernacular Movement in the field of “literature” during the New Culture Movement?

Genie Yoo is a PhD candidate in History at Princeton University. She is trained in the history of Southeast Asia and is now writing a dissertation on the history of mediation from one spice island over the course of three centuries. The project focuses on Dutch, British, and indigenous mediation of natural, medicinal, and religious knowledge, especially from the island of Ambon located in present-day eastern Indonesia. 

Undergraduate Student Participants

Tathagat Bhatia is a junior from Lucknow, India studying History of Science and minoring in Russian Studies. On campus, he is a student worker at the LGBT Center, and a research assistant in the History and Sociology of Science Department. Tathagat is in Saint Petersburg for the fall term, working on his Russian and braving the cold. 

Kelcey Gibbons is a senior majoring in Science, Technology, and Society and minoring in the Digital Humanities. Her STSC sub-major is Information and Organizations. Currently, she is working on an STSC senior thesis where she is writing about African American computing communities starting in the 1940s through to 1980. 

Samantha Stein is a senior in the History and Sociology of Science department. She is perplexed by the way in which language and morality intersect, modulating notions about what constitutes care and violence in the world. Stein plans to pursue a PhD in medical/linguistic anthropology post-graduation. When not researching, she enjoys doing creative writing and spending time with her two bearded dragons, Coco and Kiwi.