Peter Sachs Collopy


I’m a historian, archivist, and curator of modern American science, technology, and media, especially video, computing, cybernetics, and evolutionary thought.

As University Archivist and department head at the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections, I lead a team that facilitates understanding of Caltech’s role in the history of science and technology by curating research collections and public exhibitions. I am the principal investigator of the Pacific Standard Time 2024 research and exhibition project “Virtual Witnessing: Seeing Caltech Science.”

My research project “The Revolution Will Be Videotaped” is a network history of experimental videographers who collaborated across the fields of art, psychotherapy, and politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also a history of the resources videographers drew on, both material and intellectual, including the technology of electromagnetic recording, the practice of mediated self-observation, the metaphysics of collective consciousness, the cybernetic reformation of technological utopianism, and the discourse of ethereality. I have published on video synthesizers, electronic photography, and Catholicism in Paul Ryan’s video art.

In the history of biology and the human sciences, I have written about race concepts in physical anthropology, theistic evolutionism, and the quantification of sex. I maintain a bibliography of the history of cybernetics.

As a managing editor and web administrator of the History of Anthropology Review, I foster an intellectual community of historians and anthropologists. I also serve on committees of the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, the Society of American Archivists Science, Technology and Health Care Section, the ARK Alliance, and Oberlin College OSCAlums.

From 2015 to 2017, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California, where I taught the courses America in the Cold War World and The Evolution Debates. Prior to that, I studied and taught at the University of Pennsylvania, was an organizer and board member of Mariposa Food Co-op in Philadelphia, and worked as a web developer and science museum educator.

Twitter @collopy
Medium @collopy
ORCID 0000-0002-0979-6549
Google Scholar dq5HS28AAAAJ
Phone +1 626-395-2702
Mail 1200 E. California Blvd.
MC B215-74
Pasadena, CA 91125
September 23–25
Through the Looking-Glass Sesquicentenary*
November 4–5
History of Science Society and
Society for the History of Technology
November 18–21
Philadelphia, February 17–20