Welcome to my website


I’m a historian of science and medicine, currently one of two Horning Professors in the Humanities at Oregon State University, where I’ve been since 2008. Before that I was a professor of History and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  I was educated at Connecticut College and Oxford University and received a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University.

Mostly, I’m a writer.  People and their stories, past and present, are what move me.  I’m happiest sitting in a cafe or somewhere outdoors filling the pages of a Clairefontaine notebook (I buy them in bulk whenever I’m in France).  My research interests range widely in time, from the sixteenth century to the twentieth, but tend to coalesce around anatomy, natural history, the history of animals, the environment, and the history of food, and around the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Western Europe.   Other things I’m passionate about include music, food, fiction, and politics.

The Courtiers’ Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV’s Parisis my most recent book, published in May 2015. My other books include Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, a biography of the very fat physician George Cheyne (?1671-1743) and Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights as well as the annotated bibliography Natural History and the New World I also co-edited Ballads and Broadsides in Britain 1500-1800. A full list of my publications may be found under the Writing tab.   Have a look at my blog, Anatomia Animalia, and let me know what you think.

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