My research explores the nature of vision and visual media in the history of life sciences and medicine, from drawings, etchings, sketches, photographs, and diagrams to X-ray images, computer-generated images, and documentary film. I am especially interested in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and have published on topics ranging from microscopes and other optical devices, such as cameras and magic lanterns, to ballooning, waxwork museums, and phantasmagoria.
Media Interviews and Opinion
Talks and Invited Lectures
Edited Journals/Special Issues
- Tucker, co-ed. with Simon Schaffer & David Serlin. Radical History Review 127: “Political Histories of Technoscience” (Winter 2017).
- ““Over London at Night”: Gasworks, Ballooning, and the Visual Gas Field,” British Art Studies, Issue 22 (2022).
- “Visual Histories of Sex: Collecting, Curating, Archiving,” Radical History Review 2022 (142): 1-18.
- “Photography/Science/Wonder,” Focal Plane: A Journal for Photographic Educators and Students 8 (April 2019): 18-23.
- “‘To Obtain More General Attention for the Objects of Science’: The Depiction of Popular Science in Victorian Illustrated News,” Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan, Vol. 25-3 (2016): 190-215.
- “Science Institutions in Modern British Visual Culture: The British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1831-1931,” Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan, Vol. 23, no. 3 (2014): 191-213.
- “Marvels to Spectacles: Photographic Exploration and ‘The First Glimpse’,” Aperture 21: Curiosity (Summer 2013).
- “The Hidden World of Science: Nature as Art in 1930’s American Print Advertising,” Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science 6:1 (Fall 2012): 90-105.
- “‘Let the Microscope Tell Your Story’: Philip Gravelle and the Neglected Industrial and Advertising Contexts of Ultra-Microphotography, 1920-1940,” PhotoResearcher 17 (Spring 2012): 19-32.
- “Visualizing Darwinian Revolution: Review Forum,” Victorian Studies 52:3, (Spring 2010): 441-448.
- “Objectivity, Collective Sight, and Scientific Personae,” Victorian Studies 50: 4 (2008): pp. 648-657.
- “‘Voyages of Discovery on Oceans of Air’: The Image of Science in an Age of ‘Balloonacy,’” Osiris 11: Science in the Field (1996): 144-176.
- “Magical Attractions” Lantern Slide Lectures at British Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meetings, ca. 1850-1920,” in The Magic Lantern at Work: Connecting, Witnessing, Experiencing and Persuading, ed. Martyn Jolly and Elisa de Courcy (New York: Routledge Studies in Cultural History, 2020), pp. 67-87.
- “Making Looking: Lantern Slides in British Science, 1850-1920,” in Sarah Dellmann and Frank Kessler (eds.), A Million Pictures: Magic Lantern Slides in the History of Learning (Utrecht: John Libbey Press, 2020).
- “A View of the Ocean, Between the Tropics (1765-1800),” in Martina Droth and Nathan Flis, eds, Britain in the World: Highlights from the Yale Center for British Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019), pp. 64-67.
- “Visual Ecologies,” in Marvin Heiferman, ed. Seeing Science: Photography, Science and Visual Culture (New York: Aperture, 2019). [Previously published online, 2017].
- “Photography in the Making of Modern Science,” in Handbook of Photography Studies, ed. Gil Pasternak (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2019), pp. 235-254.
- “Popularizing the Cosmos: Pedagogies of Science and Society in Anton Pannekoek’s Life and Work,” in Chaokang Tai, Bart van der Steen, and Jeroen van Dongen (eds), Anton Pannekoek (1873-1960): Ways of Viewing Science and Society (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019), 175-197. [Open Access]
- “Visual and Material Studies,” in Sasha Handley, Rohan McWilliam, and Lucy Noakes, (eds.) New Directions in Social and Cultural History (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2018), pp. 129-42.
- “Foreword,” Ashgate Research Companion on Victorian Spiritualism and the Occult, eds. Tatiana Kontou and Sarah Wilburn (Aldershot: Ashgate, Fall 2012): xiii-xv.
- “Gender and Genre in Scientific Photography, in Ann Shteir and Bernard Lightman, eds, Figuring It Out: Visual Languages of Gender in Science (University of New England Press, 2006), pp. 140-163.
Works (Articles & Book Chapters) in Progress
- “‘Over London at Night’: Gasworks, Ballooning and Seeing the Thames,” British Art Studies: “Thames River Works: Art, Industry, and Environment”(March 2022, in press).
- “Objectivity,” in The Art Institute of Chicago Field Guide to Photography and Media, ed. Antawan Byrd and Elizabeth Siegel (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, in press.)
Editor (Books & Journals)
Academic Journals Co-editor
- Editorial Board Member, Nuncius. Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science (2021–present)
- History and Technology’s quarterly “Image” feature, 2011–19 (Co-editor, with Smithsonian NASM curator Martin Collins, 2017–19.)
- Jobsolete podcast: Wax Worker February 4, 2021
- Jobsolete podcast: Aeronauts January 21, 2021
- The Conversation: From Their Balloons, the First Aeronauts Transformed Our View of the World December 6, 2019
- The Conversation: In ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ an Ode to the Gas Lamp December 18, 2018
- The New York Times: Do You Know What Lightning Really Looks Like? June 11, 2018
- Visual Ecologies January 24, 2017
- Boston Globe: How Facial Recognition Technology Came to Be November 23, 2014
- Boston Globe: What Our Most Famous Evolutionary Cartoon Gets Wrong October 28, 2012
- The Wall Street Journal: The Mars Curiosity Rover and the Long Search for ET September 17, 2012
- Advisory Committee Member, Pacific Standard Time: Art x Science x LA initiative. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty, and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
- “Law and New Media” Conference, The Huntington, San Marino, CA, Sept. 16-17, 2022.
- Panel speaker, conference organized by The University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China on “New Perspectives on the History of British Science from the 17th to the 19th Centuries,” May 29–30, 2022.
- Keynote lecture, “Camera Atmosphaera,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) conference: “Strata,” University of Utah, March 24-27, 2022.
- Plenary Lecture, Hurter & Driffield Memorial Distinguished Lecture of the Royal Photographic Society, London (September 26, 2021). (Postponed to Sept, 2022)
- “Science & New Media: Projecting Visual Stories about the Universe,” for the “Thinking with Scientific Instruments: Explorations in the Material History of Science and Technology” Symposium, Yale MacMillan Institute & Peabody Museum of Natural History, October 2, 2021.
- “History of Photography in the Sciences,” workshop presentation, Wissenschaftsgeschichte/History of Science, Institute of Philosophy, University of Regensburg, Germany [Online] (May 12, 2021).
- Presenter, Department of Humanities, Università degli Studi di Trento, Trento (UNITN), Italy: “The Politics of Truth and Falsity: Tracing Photography and Victorian Mental Sciences through Literature, Medicine and Law” [Online] (April 15, 2021).
- “Adventures of Victorian Aeronauts,” “Profs and Pints,” [Online] (March 28, 2021).
- Keynote, Conference on “The Magic Lantern in Australia and the World,” Australian National University (September 4–8, 2018).
- Keynote, “After Post Photography” conference, The European University (Russia), “New faces of privacy: Trans-Atlantic historical and legal perspectives on the circulation of facial images in the media, 1870-1970” (May 18, 2017).
- Invited speaker, “Visual Ecologies” conference, California Institute of Technology, “Picturing Pollution: Photography in Environmental Law Suits in Victorian Britain” (May 11–12, 2017).
- Invited speaker, Paul Mellon Art Centre (England): “Humphrey Jennings’ ‘Pandaemonium’” (November 30, 2016).
- Invited speaker, Visual and Material Cultures Seminar, The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (UK) (November 11, 2016).
- Invited speaker, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape (South Africa), “Contemporary History and Humanities” (October 18, 2016).
- Keynote, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape (South Africa), “Visual Gateways” (October 21–22, 2016).
- Keynote, First International LYNX Center for the Interdisciplinary Analysis of Images Conference, Institute for Advanced Visual Studies (Italy) (June 22-25, 2016).
- Invited speaker, Centre for Advanced Visual Studies, University of Durham (UK), “Historical Narrative and Victorian Visual Culture” (June 7, 2016).
- Presenter, History of Art Department, Yale University, 18th and 19th century Art and Visual Culture Colloquium (February 22, 2016).
- Invited speaker, “Popularizing Science East and West” symposium, hosted by the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Tokyo (March 26–29, 2015).
- Invited speaker, “The Impact of Science Institutions on Victorian Visual Culture,” Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University (Wales) (May 21, 2014).
- Invited speaker, “The BAAS and British Visual Culture,” Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge (UK) (May 8, 2014).
- Invited speaker, “Technology Studies, Feminist Studies, and Visual Culture,” Women’s Union, Pomona College (October 14, 2009).
- Public Gallery Talk (“Art in Context”), “The British Artist-Naturalists at Sea: Depicting Salt-Water Fish in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World,” Yale Center for British Art (April 10, 2009).
- Public Lecture, “Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture,” University of Connecticut-Avery Point (February 10, 2009).
- Invited speaker, “Brought to Light: Photographs of the Invisible, 1840-1900,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (December 14, 2008.)
- Organizer, “Law and New Media Technologies, From Print to Digital,” Huntington Library and Art Collections, San Marino, CA, Sept. 16-17, 2022.
- Visual Studies and the Liberal Arts, Smith College, (May 2-3, 2014). The conference brought together twenty-five liberal arts faculty and focused on the topic of “Visual Studies across the Curriculum.” Co-organized with Prof. Laura Kalba, Smith College, with support from an Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) grant.
- “Science a Moving Image,” Hixon-Riggs Public Forum for Responsive Science, Technology and Society, Harvey Mudd College (Spring 2010). A series of talks, roundtables, and film screenings that brought together scientists, filmmakers, writers, movie industry specialists, and scholars to explore the many ways in which science’s moving images interact and intersect, from films used as scientific data to scientific documentaries to the incorporation of scientists and scientific themes in contemporary media.
Seminars & Workshops
- Commentator for the workshop, “Circulation of Images in the Life Sciences,” hosted by the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Oct. 23, 2021 [Online].
- Conference presentation, “Photography at the Nexus of Science and Industry.” Photo: Science/ Photography and Scientific Discourses, Institute of Art History, The Czech Academy of Sciences (November 3–December 2, 2020).
- Presenter, Yale Environmental Humanities Workshop: “Aerial Imagination” (April 26-27, 2019).
- Panelist, Conference on “Visual Plague: Image, Imagination, & Imaginary,” an interdisciplinary research project led by social anthropologist Dr. Christos Lynteris, University of St. Andrews (Scotland) (July 12-14, 2018).
- Panelist, Symposium on “Science, Photography, and the Circulation of Printed Media,” Photographic Memory Workshop, Yale University (April 13–14, 2018).
- Panelist, “A Million Pictures: History, Archiving, and Creative Re-Use of Educational Magic Lantern Slides” Conference (The Netherlands) (August 29–September 1, 2017).
- Chair, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, “Bodies and Media: Reproducing and Reshaping Sexuality, Race, and Gender” (June 12, 2011).
- Presenter, Andrew W. Mellon 23 Collaboration Seminar, Scripps College, “Feminism and Science: Building Bridges for Research and Teaching Innovation” (January 4–6, 2011).
- Presenter, Yale Center for British Art,“Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture” (April 10, 2009).
- Presenter, North American Council on British Studies Conference, “Field of Vision: Visual Culture and Modern British History” (November 12–14, 2010).
- Society for History of Technology
- History of Science Society
- Magic Lantern Society (UK)
- College Art Association
- Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
- Consultant, Visions of the Arctic: Entanglements, Paradoxes, and Conflict Lines, Univ. of Bergen, Norway (Proposed Centre of Excellence).
Internal Research Grants & Fellowships
- Center for Pedagogical Innovation Grant ($750) from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to acquire training in Victorian magic lantern show production from Connecticut-based magic lantern slide collector and independent historian, Dick Moore (Fall 2019).
- Science across the Curriculum Grant: Designed and co-taught a new undergraduate lecture course, “Interpreting Life on Mars: Scientific Data and Popular Knowledge,” with planetary geologist Martha Gilmore (Spring 2011).
Campus & Departmental Talks
- Exhibition Walk-Through with Ben Chaffee (Associate Director, Visual Arts), Audible Bacillus, Zilkha Contemporary for Contemporary Art (February 19, 2019).
- Organizer, Earth Day at Wesleyan: Prof. Gregg Mitman, “Forgotten Paths of Empire,” and Film and Discussion, “In the Shadow of Ebola” (April 21–22, 2015); and Prof. Lynda Nead, “The Tiger in the Fog: The Aesthetics of Fog in Postwar Britain,” (April 14, 2015).
- Organized, with Anthony Hatch, “Racism, Technology, and Social Protest,” a community dialogue to foster group discussion about the historical transformation of social and political contexts in which people use visual technologies to analyze and challenge racism (December 5, 2015).
- Presenter, “Eadweard Muybridge’s Nudes,” Artful Lunch Series, Davison Art Center (October 9, 2012).
Students & Teaching
- Grant writing workshop, Visual Studies Research Institute, Graduate seminar, Univ. of Southern California (October 3, 2020).
- Book publishing workshop for graduate students and recent postdocs, Science History Institute, Philadelphia, PA (October 2020).
- Jobs in Art and Law, Careers Day workshop, University of York (October 10, 2016).
Undergraduate Courses Taught at Wesleyan
- Introduction to Visual Methods across the Humanities & Social Sciences
- Seeing a Bigger Picture: Environmental History & Visual Culture
- Media Revolutions: Color Television and the Humanities in 1960’s and 1970’s Britain
- Historical consultant on popular science learning, gender, and toy culture, 1915-1960, for “The Erector Set at 100,” Eli Whitney Museum, New Haven (Fall 2013).
- “Science as Spectacle,” The Observatory, a New York arts space that presents public programming inspired by the 18th century notion of “rational amusement” (October 28, 2012).