I am a historian of modern British history and culture, specializing in the study of nineteenth-century technology, visual and material culture, gender and sexual politics, and environmental history. My research and teaching explore a range of diverse topics, such as communication, crime, medicine and public health, Victorian media, gender and sexual politics, and law and popular culture. I also write and teach about mid-20th century British film and television, especially historical drama and documentary. I conduct research frequently in the UK, most recently in connection with two book projects, one on facial recognition and imposture in nineteenth-century law, the other on photography and chemical towns in northwestern UK. I have been a visiting scholar at UK institutions such as Birkbeck College (University of London), Cambridge University, Durham University, University of York, and DeMontfort University, and currently am in a public history/digital heritage research network with the Science Museum Group.
Academic Awards and Research Fellowships
Media Interviews and Opinion
Talks and Invited Lectures
Students and Teaching
- Durham University Library Residential Fellowship, June 2022.
- Seidel Fellowship, The Science History Institute, Philadelphia, PA, February 2020.
- Visiting Research Fellowship, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, January 2020.
- National Endowment for the Humanities, Public Scholar Award, 2015.
- Senior Fulbright Scholar, University of York (History of Art Department), 2014.
- British Academy-Huntington Library Fellowship, Summer 2011.
- Curran Fellowship for Study of the Victorian Press, Summer 2011.
- British Marshall Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 1988-90.
- Visiting Senior Fellow, The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University College London, Jan-Feb. 2016.
- Senior Visiting Scholar, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, May–July 2015.
- Senior Research Scholar (external), De Montfort University, Leicester (Photographic History Research Centre), 2014-17.
- Dangerous Exposures: Photography, Waste, and the Chemical Revolution in Victorian Britain (book manuscript, in progress).
- Facing Facts: The Tichborne Trial in the Victorian Visual Imagination (book manuscript, in progress).
- Nature Exposed: Photography as Eyewitness in Victorian Science. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2006 (paperback, 2013).
- ““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.
- “Dangerous Exposures: Work and Waste in the Victorian Chemical Trade,” International Labor and Working-Class History 95 (July 2019): 130-165.
- “‘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.
- “Close Ties: The Railway Station and Photographic Networks,” Photoworks: Photography, Art, Visual Culture 21: Collaboration (2014): 168-173.
- “Visualizing Darwinian Revolution: Review Forum,” Victorian Studies 52:3, (Spring 2010): 441-448.
- “‘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 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.
- “‘Famished for News Pictures’: Mason Jackson, The Illustrated London News, and the Pictorial Spirit,” in Jason E. Hill and Vanessa R. Schwartz, eds. Getting the Picture: The History & Visual Culture of the News (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2015), pp. 215-220.
- “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).
- “The Queen’s Mark,” Victorian Review 48:1, upcoming Forum on “Victorian Photographs” (Spring 2022).
Book and Film Reviews
- The Conversation: Why Are Medieval Weapons Laws at the Center of a US Supreme Court Case? November 5, 2021
- Jobsolete podcast: Wax Worker February 4, 2021
- Jobsolete podcast: Aeronauts January 21, 2021
- The Conversation: In ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ an Ode to the Gas Lamp December 18, 2018
- History News Network: It’s No Downton Abby, But It’s Just as Much a Part of English History June 12, 2018
- History News Network: Tabloid Photographers Are Hounding the Royals, But They Have a History of Using Each Other May 7, 2018
- VICE: Why Victorian Women Turned to Pseudoscience to Try to Understand Love February 18, 2017
- BBC Radio 3: The Essay: The Tichborne Claimant February 20, 2015
- “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, Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, April 18, 2020 (postponed to 2022).
- “The Tichborne Trial in the Victorian Visual Imagination,” Stedman Memorial Plenary Lecture,Midwest Victorian Studies Association (MVSA) annual meeting, Loyola University, Chicago, Ill. (May 21, 2021).
- Yale Center for British Art “Art in Context” Gallery Talk, “The Tichborne Impostor: Print Culture, Visual Law, and the Reinvention of Self in the Victorian World,” (January 28, 2020).
- Beinecke Library Visiting Scholars Research Brownbag Lunch Presentation, Yale University (January 27, 2020).
- Speaker, “Relating Difference(s): Migrating Subjects, Inter-Cultural Exchanges, Literary Formations”International Symposium, University of Trento (Italy): “British Baronet – or Australian Outlaw? Inter-cultural Exchanges, Narratives of Difference, and Contested Identities in the Celebrated Tichborne Claimant Affair” (March 21–22, 2019).
- Keynote, “Cultural Histories of Air and Illness” conference, University of Warwick (UK), “Dangerous Exposures: Work and Waste in the Victorian Chemical Trade” (June 7–9, 2018).
- Invited speaker, The Mellon-Sawyer Seminar, University of Southern California, “Picturing the Past: The Nineteenth-Century” (March 20, 2017).
- Invited speaker, Modern British History seminar, Columbia University (February 23, 2017).
- Invited speaker, Paul Mellon Art Centre, London: “Humphrey Jennings’ ‘Pandaemonium’” (November 30, 2016).
- Invited speaker,Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape (South Africa), “Contemporary History and Humanities” (October 18, 2016).
- Public lecture, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities (UK), “Picturing Modernization: Vision, Modernity, and the Technological Image in Humphrey Jennings’s ‘Pandaemonium’” (March 9, 2016).
- Plenary lecture, Institute of Advanced Studies, The University of Western Australia, “The Photograph from Wagga Wagga That Changed British Law” (May 28, 2015).
- Invited speaker, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, “New Visual and Material Approaches to the Study of Global Language” (May 19, 2015).
- Invited speaker, “Victorian Comic Images, Law and Social Order,” Victoria and Albert Museum (London) (May 13, 2014).
- Invited speaker, “‘The Biggest Man in England’: Photographic Celebrity,” Department of History of Art, University of York (England) (May 12, 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, “Caricature and the Social Order: Reading Popular Prints, 1850-1880,” Literature and Cultural History Research Seminar, Liverpool John Moore University (March 18, 2014).
- Presenter, Lewis Walpole Library/Yale Law School mini-conference: “Trial by Media: The Queen Caroline Affair (1820)” (October 4, 2019).
- Panelist, Past and Present conference, University of Birmingham (May 30–31, 2018).
- Panelist, Mass Observation’s Anniversary Conference, University of Sussex (UK) (July 10–11, 2017).
- Presenter, Department of History and Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Johns Hopkins University, Conference in Honor Judith Walkowitz (April 10–11, 2015).
- Presenter, Fulbright Scholars Forum, University of Glasgow (Scotland) (July 4–6, 2014).
- Presenter, North American Council on British Studies Conference, “Field of Vision: Visual Culture and Modern British History” (November 12–14, 2010).
- Panelist, Bard Music Festival, “Elgar and His World: The Composer and His Laboratory” (August 17–19, 2007).
- American Historical Association
- North American Conference on British Studies
- Victorian Studies Association
- Member, Undergraduate Essay Prize Committee (Chair, 2019-20), North American Conference on British Studies (2017–2020).
- Scholarly Advisor and contributing author to Trial by Media: The Queen Caroline Affair at the Yale Library, in partnership with the Lewis Walpole Library for the creation of an extensive online resource to mark the bicentennial of the Queen Caroline Divorce Trial.
- Assisted with review of applications for the annual Law and Humanities Interdisciplinary Junior Scholars Workshop, University of Pennsylvania (2015).
- Vice President, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, representing Wesleyan University (2014–present).
- British Studies Reading Group, NYC (2018-present).
- Member, “Thinking Public Humanities,” Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, a multi-year project convening specialists in the inter-related areas of Public Humanities, Documentary Studies, Museum Studies, Digital Humanities, Environmental History and Public History to discuss, hone and articulate a body of principles in public-facing projects.
Campus Service & Departmental Talks
- Chair, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, 2008-09; 2011-13; 2018-19, Spring 2021). Participated in program’s core curriculum and conducted negotiations with the administration leading to the program’s first dedicated line, at the senior level.
- Organizer, History Department Annual Distinguished Lecture with Prof. Linda Colley (October 17, 2018).
- Panelist, with Peter Rutland and Alice Kelly, “Scotland Votes…The End of the UK?” Forum sponsored by the History Department and Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life (September 16, 2014).
- Organizer, History Department Annual Distinguished Lecture: Prof. Natalie Davis, Princeton Professor of History Emerita (October 17, 2013); Prof. Vanessa Schwartz, Professor of History and Art History, USC (November 2012).
- Grant writing workshop, University of Southern California, Visual Studies Research Institute (October 3, 2020).
- Book publishing workshop for graduate students and recent postdocs, Science History Institute, Philadelphia, PA (October 2020).
Undergraduate Courses Taught at Wesleyan
- Issues and Methods in Contemporary Historiography
- Media Revolutions: Color Television and the Humanities in 1960’s and 1970’s Britain
- Modern Britain, 1688-Present
- Gender & Sexuality in Modern Europe
- Modern European History, French Revolution-Present
- Streets of Victorian London
Courses Taught Outside of Wesleyan (Caltech, Harvey Mudd College)
- Visualizing Nation and Empire: History of 20th century British Documentary Film