My main academic field is nineteenth-century American cultural history.  I also study the history of science and material culture.

A few of my interests include:

  • why and how certain ideas and types of knowledge become popular.
  • the ways in which market society shapes knowledge.
  • how knowledge is derived from physical objects.

Much of my work has centered on museums and natural history. My dissertation, The Phrenologists: Participatory Knowledge in Antebellum America, is about phrenology and the commercial circulation of new ideas about the self and mind from about 1830 to 1860.


“The Antiquarian” lithograph, c. 1830. American Antiquarian Society.