2015 to 2016
Gathering the Animals: Natural History in America to 1815
My project reexamines natural history’s formation in early America by using animals and natural specimens as its organizing principle and chief subjects. While histories of early American natural history have traditionally emphasized the human perspective, this project brings nonhuman species and biological specimens to the fore in order to understand how animals influenced and sometimes limited the very project that sought to study them. The Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine's Research Fellowship will support a portion of this project that will use natural history collections in Philadelphia to make a case for the role of aquatic animals in early American natural history. I expect my project will contribute to debates on how little-acknowledged historical actors shaped the enterprise of natural history in North America and to efforts by historians of science to understand systems of knowledge production.