About

I am thrilled to join the faculty at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, in the Department of History, Geography & Philosophy. In addition to my position as Assistant Professor, I am Thelma and Jamie Guilbeau/BORSF Endowed Professor of History Instruction, Director of the Guilbeau Center for Public History and Director of the Public History Program. I completed my PhD at UCLA in History, with a focus on history of science, technology and medicine in modern Europe. As an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow at NYU’s Program in Museum Studies, I developed my interests in the overlapping relationships between art and science and science and the public.

My current research projects include:

Book projects:

Redefining Human: Photomontage in Twentieth Century German Art and Science: Twentieth century German artists’ engagement with new understandings of the human body as developed in the social sciences, technology and medicine. How did artists debate knowledge production regarding what it means to be human in the wake of the Great War and new measures in medicine and government to rehabilitate soldiers? How did they combine these developments in medicine with women’s suffrage, popular fears about miscegenation and homosexual emancipation and new imaging techniques? How did scientists and physicians perceive and appropriate the work of artists to reconsider definitions of the human body? The book will focus on photomontage to examine how images were used to instruct viewers in how to catalog information and use visual media to produce knowledge.

Disciplines of Collection: Museums, Race, and the Anthropological Sciences in Imperial Germany. This book examines how museum collections were used in debates about whether the new anthropological sciences were or should be sciences of race.  The founding director of the Dresden Museum for Zoology, Anthropology and Ethnography, A. B. Meyer (1840-1911), identified the widely practiced science of craniometry as defined by technologies of exoticization that actively erased the historical, cultural and social details that human remains carried with them. He developed new methods that emphasized intimate familiarity with variety within any one ethnic group, from skull shape to material ornamentation, as integral to the new disciplines of physical and cultural anthropology. Meyer proposed an historical, non-essentialist approach to understanding racial and cultural difference because of his commitment to extensive field research, Darwinian evolution, and experimentation with techniques of visual representation. This approach to the anthropological sciences pitted the Dresden scholars against the dominant ahistorical methods of the German Society of Anthropology, Ethnology and Pre-history. Internationally, this historical understanding of individual cultures attracted the attention of Filipino nationalists and numerous US research institutions.

Public History Projects with the Guilbeau Center for Public History:

Virtual Reality and Social Justice in Public History

Community Response to COVID19 in Acadiana, LA

Do No Harm: The Healing Touch of Louisiana Women in Medicine, Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans, 2021

In general I am interested in nineteenth and twentieth century social sciences; modern Europe cultural and intellectual history; German Empire – especially German-Asian studies; museum studies; history of collections and display; visual and material culture of science; transnational history; history of race and ethnicity.

I have advised theses on: land acknowledgment policy in mainstream U.S. museums; the ethics of decolonizing private museums; contested monuments; the representation of nature in science museums and urban parks;  school programs at living history museums; disability studies and contemporary museology; community art museums and social justice; African American historic sites in the public history landscape.

My advisees have won NYU’s GSAS Master’s Award for Academic Achievement in the Humanities, as well as awards for best thesis and distinguished thesis in museum studies.

 

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