Photo: Denise Applewhite

Photo: Denise Applewhite

Erika Lorraine Milam is a Professor of History and the Program in the History of Science at Princeton University. She studies the history of the modern life sciences, specializing in the history of evolutionary theory. Her research explores how and why scientists have used animals as models for understanding human behavior. She graduated with a biology major from Carleton College and subsequently earned an M.S. in Biology (Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology) from the University of Michigan, where she also discovered the "history of science" as an academic field. She completed a Ph.D. in History of Science at the University of Wisconsin. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, in Berlin, Germany, she taught at the University of Maryland for several years before joining the faculty at Princeton. 

Now available from Princeton University Press, Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America charts the controversy over instinctual aggression in defining human nature in the 1960s and '70s and cultures of masculinity in the sciences. 

Milam's first book, Looking for a Few Good Males: Female Choice in Evolutionary Biology  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), explored the history of evolutionary theory and the connections between biological investigations of reproductive and courtship behavior in animals and humans, from Charles Darwin in the mid-19th century to sociobiology in the 1970s. With Robert A. Nye, she has published an edited collection on Scientific Masculinities (Osiris, vol. 30). With Joanna Radin and Fred Gibbs, she also helped create an online scholarly website titled Histories of the Future.


Just published: Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Interview for Science “Books, et al.” with Valerie Thompson about Creatures of Cain: link.

“The Hunt for Human Nature,” (08 November 2018): link.

Faculty profile by Denise Valentini, "Historian of science Milam traces evolutionary theory through time," for Princeton Office of Communication, 12 March 2018: link.

Click HERE to download a complete CV.


post: History Department, 136 Dickinson Hall, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08544-1017

email: / departmental webpage

phone: 609-258-0209 / fax: 609-258-5326

office: 135 Dickinson Hall

twitter: @elmilam