My research uses the collection of nineteenth century Dutch anatomist Willem Vrolik to examine the intersection of obstetrics, embryology, disability, and natural history between 1697-1849. I focus on the preservation of human fetuses with congenital abnormalities, looking both at the history of these bodies-- their births, their mothers, their collectors-- as well as their scientific use as objects of evidence for those pursuing the mysteries of generation and nature's order. Lastly, my work interrogates the consequences of these scientific rationalizations on the socio-political identity of those living in "monstrous" bodies.
Prior to coming to Penn, I completed a master's degree in Museum Anthropology at Columbia University. I have worked as a docent at the Museum of Mathematics in New York and the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Macedonia from 2008 until 2010.
I will be a fellow at the Science History Institute in 2019-2020. My work has previously been supported by the Fulbright Program, The Descartes Centre at the University of Utrecht, The Wolf Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian.
Headshot by Jay Muhlin, Science History Institute
museum studies; embryology; midwifery; material culture; biology; life sciences; medical collecting; disability studies; teratology; anatomy; public history; taxonomy; posthumanism