416-736-2100 x 30200
315 Bethune College
Chair & Associate Professor, STS
Full Member, Graduate programs in STS, History, and Humanities
BA (Hons.), Victoria; MA, PhD, Toronto
I study the different ways that health, biomedical expertise, self-knowledge, and governance have interacted since the early 19th century. I am an historian by training, so my research and teaching tends to reflect this orientation. I find the practices and routines of the biomedical sciences particularly engaging, so I spend more time with the mundane, material, and technological cultures of science than I do with its theories. I often use oddities from the past to force open questions about biomedicine's history. In this vein, I've published on seemingly marginal issues like anaphylaxis, relaxation therapy, and epidemic encephalitis. My first book - The Sleep of Others - explained how experimental routines and technologies turned sleep from an insignificant bit of nothingness to the important and contentious question we know it as today. The question of how public health issues evolve still facinates me: my most recent work examines how a little-known disease map from the 1880s shaped the course of public health in Ontario.
I co-edited and contributed to Crafting Immunity: Working Histories of Clinical Immunology. More recently, some of my work on epidemic encephalitis appeared as a chapter of The History of the Brain and Mind Sciences. I have been co-editor of the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin canadiene d’histoire de la médecine since 2015. I am teaching “Biomedical Science in Sociohistorical Context” (STS 3780) and “Epidemics and the Modern World” (STS 4780) in 2017-18.