History of physical and social sciences, science studies, epistemology, history of technology, cultural and intellectual history
John Tresch's research focuses on the cultural history of science. Particular interests include the effects of media technology on epistemology and aesthetics; an anthropological attention to ritual and experience in science and technology; the changing disciplinary arrangements, methods, and effects of the social sciences; relations of science and literature; the shifting limits of the rational and real.
His book, The Romantic Machine traced the entwinement of romanticism and industrialization in France in the years before the revolution of 1848; it won the 2013 History of Science Society's Pfizer Award for Outstanding Book. Focusing on the same period in the USA, his next book will examine the scientific and mechanical obsessions of Edgar Allan Poe. Other current projects include studies of the variable formats and uses of representations of the universe as a whole, or cosmograms; the role played by the sciences in various moments of globalization; and understandings of the self and nature at play in contemporary neuroscience, especially through the Mind and Life organization.
He has held fellowships at Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Huntington Library, and the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library.
- Winner of Pfizer Award for Outstanding Book in History of Science, History of Science Society, 2013
- Named one of the Best Books of 2012 by The New Museum (NYC).
- Council for European Studies 2014 Book Award, Honorable Mention.
- Podcast discussion of The Romantic Machine with philosopher Simon Critchley at New York Public Library, October 2012
Audio/Visual, special issue, Grey Room Quarterly, on media studies and history of science, co-editor with Mara Mills. Introduction and "The Prophet and the Pendulum: Popular Science and Audiovisual Phantasmagoria around 1848" (43), 2011.
“Gilgamesh to Gaga.” Lapham’s Quarterly, "Celebrity," Vol IV, No.1., pp.185-192, 2011.
"Experimental Ethics and the Science of the Meditating Brain." In Neurocultures: Glimpses into an Expanding Universe, Francisco Ortega and Fernando Vidal, eds.. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp. 45-64, 2011.
“Estrangement of Vision: Edgar Allan Poe’s Optics”. In Observing Nature- Representing Experience, The Osmotic Dynamics of Romanticism, 1800-1850, Erna Fiorenti, ed.. Berlin: Reimer Verlag, pp. 126-157, 2007.
“Cosmogram.” Interview with Jean-Christophe Royoux, in Cosmograms, Melik Ohanian and Jean-Christophe Royoux, eds.. Lukas and Sternberg. New York. pp. 67-76, 2005.
|Poe's Optics||209.54 KB|
|Humboldt's Instruments||3.11 MB|
|Cosmograms interview||1.17 MB|
|Mind and Life essay, Tresch.pdf||1.85 MB|