How and why do we use animals as models for understanding human behavior? My first project focused on evolutionary theory and the connections between biological investigations of reproductive behavior in animals and humans throughout the 20th c. My current research turns to the 1960s and the controversy over instinctual aggression in defining human nature.

 

ACTIVE PROJECTS

In Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America, I trace the rise and fall of the idea that the essential quality distinguishing the human animal from its peaceful simian kin lay in our capacity for murder. more...

 Image: advertising flyer for Sociobiology: Doing What Comes Naturally (1976).

In February 2018, Suman Seth (Cornell University) and I are organizing the Annual Workshop for the Program in the History of Science at Princeton. We have invited 16 scholars to discuss the origins and legacy of Charles Darwin's Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871). more...  

Image: Australopithecus couple, AMNH

PUBLISHED PROJECTS

co-edited with Robert A. Nye 

Scientific Masculinities was published as Osiris vol. 30, 2015. Twelve authors explore the varied means by which masculinities in science have  functioned both as localized foils for femininity and as tools for differentiating between kinds of men. more...

Image: W.T. Maud (1899) "Sir Ronald Ross..." Wellcome Library L0012069.

co-organized with Joanna Radin and Fred Gibbs

Histories of the Future was a collaborative project realized in a workshop (February 2015) and a website (finalized in 2016) probing the intersection of professional and popular theorizing about the future of the cosmos, nature, technology, and humanity itself. more... 

Image: histscifi.com.

This Focus section in Isis (Vol. 105, No. 3, 2014) explored "The Peculiar Persistence of the Naturalistic Fallacy," with essays (chronologically) by Brooke Holmes, Lorraine Daston, Matthew Stanley, Erika Milam, and Warwick Anderson. more...

Image: France, likely 17th-c, Wellcome Library L0040386

co-edited with Michael Gordin

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Thomas S. Kuhn's publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), we gathered twenty short essays for Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (Vol. 42, No. 5, 2012). more...

Looking for a Few Good Males  (2010) is an intellectual and cultural history of Charles Darwin’s theory of “female choice.” By raising issues about mind and aesthetics at the animal-human boundary, female choice proved to be a highly controversial scientific theory. more...