Graduate Student

Entered 2016

Claudia Cohen Hall 332
Office hours: By appointment


MA, Public History, University of South Carolina

BA, History, Samford University

A native of North Alabama, Chris grew up a short distance from the woods and fields of the Tennessee River Valley and the techno-scientific complex of Rocket City USA. He has an academic and professional background in public history, including museums, special collections librarianship, and digital humanities. From 2013 to 2016, he worked at McKissick Museum and the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library in Columbia, South Carolina. Duties included cataloging and conservation of mixed media collections (including archival documents, photographs, and audio recordings), assistance with exhibition development and installation, and reference services for researchers. Chris has also interned for the Division of Work and Industry at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and Moving Image Research Collections at the University of South Carolina. In 2014, he served as digital collections manager for Digitizing Bull Street, a digital humanities project led by Dr. Lydia Brandt and now hosted by the Digital U.S. South Initiative.

While pursuing his PhD at Penn, Chris is also completing a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. In addition, he serves as a Graduate Fellow at the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture. Previously, his research was at the intersection of environmental history and the history of the life sciences, focusing on histories of agriculture and horticulture. He has since taken his research interests in new directions, and he now seeks to explore the entangled genealogies of science and religion in the early centuries of Christianity. The patristic period was a time when emerging varieties of Christianity were wrestling with theological and philosophical questions about the cosmos and the human place within it. They were in dialogue with the same classical, Hellenistic, and late antique intellectual traditions that historians of science have long considered foundational to their field of study. How might these interactions then contribute to our historical understandings of natural philosophy, natural history, scriptural exegesis, systematic theology, and religious experience?

Research Interests

History of science, religion, and magic; queer theory; postcolonial studies; history of philology and biblical exegesis; history of books and textual cultures; patristics and the legacies of early Christianity

Selected Work

"Mystery Plants." Guest contributor to Episode #35 of The Hour of History Podcast, August 4, 2018.

“Modernity and Its Malcontents: or, Why Make Fun of the Puritans?” U.S. Intellectual History Blog, Society for U.S. Intellectual History. April 2, 2017.

Object Histories for American Enterprise Online, National Museum of American History

Courses Taught

Teaching Assistant

  • Health and Societies, Fall 2018
  • The People's Health, Spring 2018
  • The Emergence of Modern Science, Fall 2017

Faculty Bookshelf