Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1062
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
I am interested in the many ways that science, medicine, culture, and politics have intersected since the late eighteenth century. My specialty is German history, but my curiosity stretches widely. I helped introduce Medical Humanities as a field of study to Washington University in St. Louis in 2015. Currently, I am leading a group of faculty and staff planning a university-wide bicentennial celebration for 2017-2018 of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.
My first book A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) asked why Germany, a scientific powerhouse in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, also hosted one of the Western world's most vibrant and influential occult movements. German occultists made major contributions to twentieth-century art, psychology, literature, medicine, and what we now call "New Age" spirituality. Their efforts were also an excellent example of a larger historical trend that still informs our world today: the use of scientific language, concepts, and habits to enchant the "disenchanted" modern age anew.
My second book Eating Nature in Modern Germany: Food, Agriculture, and Environment, c. 1870-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2017) investigates German efforts to invent more "natural" ways to eat and farm. Vegetarianism, organic farming, and other such practices have enticed a wide variety of Germans, from socialists, liberals, and radical anti-Semites in the nineteenth century to Nazis, communists, and Greens in the twentieth. The book brings together histories of science, medicine, agriculture, the environment, and popular culture to offer the most thorough treatment yet of this remarkable story. The German case also has much to teach us about our own fascination with all things natural and "organic."
I teach courses in European history, the history of science and medicine, and medical humanities.
Eating Nature in Modern Germany: Food, Agriculture and Environment, c. 1870-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004)
"How Vegetarians, Naturopaths, Scientists, and Physicians Unmade the Protein Standard in Modern Germany" in Setting Nutritional Standards: Theory, Politics, Practices, ed. Elizabeth Neswald, David F. Smith, and Ulrike Thoms (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2016), 52-73
"Artificial or Biological? Nature, Fertilizer, and the Origins of German Organic Agriculture" in New Perspectives on the History of Life Sciences and Agriculture, eds. Denise Phillips and Sharon Kingsland (Cham: Springer, 2015), 183-203
"What the Occult Reveals," Modern Intellectual History, 6,3, (2009): 611-625
"Nature and the Nazi Diet," Food and Foodways, 17 (2009): 1-20
"Max Rubner and the Biopolitics of Rational Nutrition," Central European History 41 (2008): 1-25
"Food Science/Food Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Berlin," Food and the City in Europe since the Late Eighteenth Century: Urban Life, Innovation and Regulation, eds. Peter Atkins, Derek Oddy, and Peter Scholliers (London: Ashgate, 2007), 51-61.
"The Culture of Knowledge in the Metropolis of Science: Spiritualism and Liberalism in Fin-de-Siècle Berlin" in Wissenschaft und Öffentlichkeit in Berlin, 1870-1930/Science for the Public in Berlin, 1870-1930, ed. Constantin Goschler (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2000), 127-154.
Blogs, Interviews, Podcasts
Eating Organic in Nazi Germany, Hold That Thought Podcast, Washington University in St. Louis (September 7, 2016)
Happy Birthday, Frankenstein!, Center for the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis (December 7, 2015)
Contagion! Back to the Past, Institute for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis
Organic Origin Story, Center for the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis (April 23, 2015)
Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship, Washington University in St. Louis, 2015
National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Award, 2011-2012
Center for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, Washington University in St. Louis, 2007-2008
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship, Harvard University, 2004-2005
Faculty Research Award, Wellesley College 2003-2004
Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant, American Historical Association, 2000
Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 1998-99
The Art of Medicine
Health and Disease in World History
Western Civilization II
The First World War
Modern European Women
Science and Society since 1800
The History of the Body
Food in History
Frankenstein: Origins and Afterlives
Advanced Readings in Modern German History