My research examines how medical understandings of sex and reproduction respond to changing scientific practices, material cultures, literary representations, and philosophical debates.
Some of my completed and continuing research projects are showcased here.
SEXUAL FEELING: SENSIBILITY, NEUROLOGY, AND GENERATION IN BRITAIN, 1650–1800
Current book project
This book will offer an interdisciplinary analysis that shows a strong correlation between sensibility, nervous physiology, and sexuality in medicine, science, and literature throughout the eighteenth century, particularly within Britain but also throughout wider European, colonial, and transatlantic contexts.
KNOWING BLOOD / SANG SENS
Medical Observations, Fluid Meanings / observations médicales, interprétations fluides
This was an exhibition at the Osler Library for the History of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal. The exhibition explored observations, meanings, and understandings of blood from the late 15th to the late 20th century. Blood has long been a powerful and evocative symbol, signifying themes ranging from life, identity, community, and kinship to sex, lineage, violence, and death. Practices of observing blood in experiment, diagnosis, and therapy have also varied widely: a melange of cells seen under a microscope; a pulse felt by a trained touch; the taste of blood from a barber-surgeon’s bowl; a map comparing hematological and racial groups. Modern Western medicine has known not one but many kinds of blood.
Curated by Darren N. Wagner and Nick Whitfield.
Generously funded by the Medical Faculty of McGill University.
See Remedianetwork.net for two posts related to this exhibition.
An online exhibition of Knowing Blood is now in development.
LITERATURE, SCIENCE AND MEDICINE
Much of my research explores the interstitial space and connective links between the conventionally disparate topics of literature studies and science/medicine. I have a series of publications in preparation that address the problems, tactics and benefits involved with this kind of interdisciplinary research. Watch here for more news on that front soon.
SPIRITS TO SHOCKS: FROM THE DOCTRINE OF ANIMAL SPIRITS TO NEURO-ELECTRICITY
Current research project
I am investigating how social and cultural factors influenced a momentous change in neurology: the paradigmatic shift from animal spirits to electricity in scientific experiments, physiological theories, and medical therapies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. One outcome of this project will be a collaborative publication that bring together the burgeoning scholarship on the cultural history of electricity and nerves to provide a fuller account of medical electricity.