Matthew Hoffarth

Doctoral Candidate
Entered 2011
B.A., University of Pennsylvania
M.A., New School for Social Research
Contact Information
Office Address: 
303 Cohen Hall
Email Address:
Research Interests: 

I am interested in the history of psychology, anthropology, and human resources, particularly the history of tests and testing in 20th century human sciences and business. My work focuses on the development, use, and proliferation of psychological and personality tests in America and transnationally post-World War II. 

My dissertation, tentatively titled, “Testing the ‘70s: Personality, Motivation, and Communication in a Managed Era, 1968-1985,” explores the creation and commodification of psychological tests during the ‘long 1970s,’ drawing out how flexibility became a normative American trait and why this emerged alongside seemingly more rigid notions of identity and personhood. By investigating the link between tests as tools and tests as commodities, my dissertation explores the connections between corporate personality testing and the rise of the self as an object of public, scientific, and personal concern.

I received my B.A. (2008) in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and my M.A. (2011) in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research.