Graduate Student

Entered 2016

Claudia Cohen Hall 332
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 or by appointment


MA, Public History, University of South Carolina

BA, History, Samford University

Chris is a transplanted southerner who grew up a short distance from the woods and fields of the Tennessee River Valley and the techno-scientific complex of Rocket City USA. Before coming to Penn, he worked as curatorial assistant at McKissick Museum and archival assistant at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library. He has interned at the National Museum of American History and Moving Image Research Collections. While at Penn, he is also completing a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. In addition, Chris is serving as a 2018-2019 Graduate Fellow at the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at Penn.

Research Interests

Chris studies the intertwined histories of farming, gardening, and botany. Why the interest in plants from the past? The study, cultivation, and use of plants throughout history has been entangled with everything from gender and sexuality to art and literature to power and empire. And, lest we forget, American botanist William J. Robbins liked to remind people, "Without plants, we would starve to death, die of suffocation and expire from a combination of deficiency diseases."

Key interests: History of botany and gardening; history of early modern science, religion, and magic; postcolonial studies; history of the life sciences; queer studies; science fiction

Selected Work

“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

Courses Taught

Teaching Assistant

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

Faculty Bookshelf