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Graduate Study in History of Science,Technology, Environment, and Health

History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Health

Coordinators: Professor James Delbourgo, Rutgers-New Brunswick; Professor Neil Maher, NJIT/Rutgers-Newark

The STEH program is one of several transnational areas of concentration in the Ph.D. History program. The history of science, technology, the environment, and health draws together History faculty from each of the Rutgers campuses (Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, and Rutgers Camden), NJIT and related Centers, including the Thomas Edison Papers and IEEE.

The STEH program draws Ph.D. students from all areas of historical study. It encourages students to develop a thematic expertise in environmental transformations, technology in society, and health and disease -- their social meanings, their cultural relations, their political and social histories, their national and global contexts.

STEH Seminar Series - see past and upcoming STEH Seminars

Faculty Participating in the STEH Program

Michael Adas

European Imperialism; Technology and U.S. Global Hegemony; Technology and Colonialism

Barbara Cooper

History of Motherhood, Fertility, Reproduction, West Africa

James Delbourgo

Atlantic world; early modern science; Enlightenment

Ann Fabian

American social and cultural history; Natural History

Janet Golden

Pediatrics; Women and Medicine in America

Paul Israel

Innovation and Intellectual Property; American Social History

Toby Jones

Middle East, Global Technoscience, Environment

Xun Liu

Religion, Medicine, and Material Culture in China

Neil Maher

Environmental History; Social and Political History

Margaret Marsh

Reproductive Medicine and Technology; Women's History

Stephen Pemberton

Medicine, Biomedical Science & Technology, Health and Disease

Jamie Pietruska

Technology and Environment in America; Information Networks

Beryl Satter

Gender, Science, and Technology; Social History of Medicine

Richard Sher

Technology, Printing and Communication

Gail Triner

Modern Latin American History, Environmental History, Brazil, Economic History


STEH Graduate Students

Hugh Glenn-Cagle
Hugh’s circuitous route from the American South to Rutgers took him through Spain, Portugal, Morocco, South Korea, and Brazil. He graduated with honors from Clemson University and earned an MA in Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas. His dissertation looks at the little-known world of Portuguese colonial medicine as it took shape in sixteenth-century India and Brazil. He examines the range of clinical and investigative practices that underwrote colonial survival. Medicine ignited fierce controversy among the Portuguese because it depended upon the insight and skill of Indian, Amerindian, and African-descended healers. This is a study that links colonial botany to contested ideas about the causes of illness and which explores the social construction of trust and the exercise of medical authority amid the violence of colonization and epidemic disease.

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Bridget Gurtler
Women’s and Gender History/History of Medicine and Technology
Bridget Gurtler received her BA in History from Wellesley College and her M.A. in History from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a fourth year doctoral student and her research focuses on the history of assisted reproduction and addresses the role of patients and popular culture in shaping and understanding medical practice. Her dissertation on the history of artificial insemination, 1900-1980 pinpoints pivotal moments of change in the history of this medical technology and works to unravel the complicated meanings of consumption, knowledge, gender and race when medicine, profit and the pursuit of parenthood intersect. She is currently a research fellow at the Institute for Research on Women’s Seminar on “Gendered Agency” she is also entering her second year as a research assistant at the Center for Race and Ethnicity.

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Melanie Kiechle
Modern US/Global Comparative
Melanie Kiechle received her BA from Colgate University in 2003. She currently focuses on 19th-century United States and cultural history. Her research interests include sensory history, experiential knowledge, the development of the urban/rural divide, and the fields of urban, environmental and public health history. Her dissertation, tentatively titled "'The Air We Breathe': Nineteenth-Century Americans and the Search for Fresh Air," brings many of these interests together in a study of the effect that odors and smell perception had on urban life and development, circa 1840 to 1900.

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Kristoffer Shields
Cultural History/History of Technology
Raised in Florida, Kris has bounced around the Northeast since attending Yale University and receiving his B.A. in American Studies in 1997. He later received a J.D. from NYU and practiced law for just over two years before returning to academia. Kris studies legal and cultural history, particularly focusing on the relationship between famous trials and American culture. His current work examines a series of famous trials in the 1920s, analyzing their relationship to developing media technologies and changing cultural ideas about morality.

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Anita Kurimay
Modern European History/History of Gender and Sexuality
Anita Kurimay earned her B.A. from University of California at Berkeley in 2002 and her M.S. in Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2004. Her dissertation analyzes the sexual geographies of Budapest, Hungary’s capital, prior to World War II. She is interested in how medical, legal and popular understandings of sexuality shaped the emergence of non-normative sexual subjects during this period. She tracks how these discussions emerged to situate Hungary as an integral part of the history of the urban European world. She locates Budapest as part of a broader constellation (both physically and socio-politically) of sexual networks while documenting distinctly Hungarian manifestations of sexuality. Currently, a Research Fellow at the European Studies Center, Anita is also teaching Expository Writing at Rutgers.

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Stephanie Jones-Rogers
African American History/American History
Stephanie Jones-Rogers is a third year doctoral student in the African American History program. Her dissertation examines the ways in which white slaveowning women navigated the new economic and juridical terrain of the post-revolutionary South, the social and ideological implications of slaveownership for white women in the antebellum era, and their economic investment in the perpetuation of chattel slavery. She is also interested in the ways in which the slave market and the commodified bodies of African Americans supported the health of white southerners and the development of medical knowledge and innovation in the antebellum era.

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Matthew Roth
American History (20th Century)/STEH
Matthew Roth, who holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, combines environmental and cultural history in his dissertation topic: the career of the soybean in America. This encompasses both agricultural practices and movies such as "Soylent Green," but focuses on the multiple paths by which a cultural item -- in this case a crop -- makes its way from one continent into the heart of another. A vegetarian going on twenty years and someone who has helped make tofu at a commune, Matthew is uniquely qualified to write on this topic. He has also written about nature in Disney films (in particular “Bambi” and “The Lion King”), religion on television, and Amway in American life.

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Kara Schlichting
19th and 20th Century United States History/History of the Environment and Technology
Kara Schlichting came to Rutgers in 2007 after graduating with a B.A. in American Studies at Cornell University. She is particularly interested in urban-suburban history and environmental history. Her current research interests center on the evolving relationship between the metropolitan and suburban landscape surrounding Long Island Sound. She is interested in the use of space in waterfront communities along the Connecticut coast of Long Island Sound in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly the evolution of landscape and coastal access as the region transitioned from transportation and industrial geographies to residential neighborhoods. Kara is also exploring the post-WW II development of eastern Long Island’s agricultural communities into suburban and viticultural landscapes. She is analyzing how issues of class and local identity were triggered by these developments.

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Dora Vargha
Modern European History/Women and Gender History
Dora Vargha earned her BA at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest in History in 2004. Her thesis, The Medicalization of Sin was published as an article in the cultural history journal, Budapest Quarterly in 2005. Following her undergraduate studies, for two years Dora worked for an international public relations company, organizing selective waste awareness campaigns and corporate responsibility programs. Dora’s work concentrates on the politics of epidemics as they reflect on international cooperation, contesting health care systems, professional and familial roles, and concepts of bodily production. She has worked as graduate assistant at the Center for Race and Ethnicity under the direction of Keith Wailoo, and has earned an Excellence Fellowship from the Institute for Health, Health Policy and Aging Research. She is a member of the program committee of the Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of Medicine. Dora is currently conducting her dissertation research on polio epidemics in Hungary and is a PhD intern at the Cold War History Research Institute in Budapest.

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Adam Zalma
19th and 20th Century US History
Adam Zalma is a third year Ph.D. candidate. He has an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and spent nearly seven years in public policy at consulting firms and government agencies. He also spent ten years on Wall Street on the ‘buy side’ as a High Yield Bond analyst. His preference for in-depth research and analysis led him back to academic pursuits. Mr. Zalma’s research currently revolves around place identity, landscape, boundaries and metropolitanization on the edge between the urban and suburban, using Staten Island as a case study.

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Links to RU Library Search engines for History of Science and Technology, IRIS, JSTOR, and ArchiveGrid.  Links to WorldCat and the National Library of Medicine.

The Wellcome Library (London, UK)--Collections of books, manuscripts, archives, films and pictures on the history of medicine from the earliest times to the present day.

The National Science Digital Library Gateways and Resources -- portals, sites, and resources devoted to many eras of the history of science and the history of technology.

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