Peter Sachs Collopy

Peter

I’m a historian, archivist, and curator of American science, technology, and media.

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 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.

I am University Archivist and department head at the Caltech Archives and Special Collections. In that role, 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, currently including Becoming Caltech: Building a Research Community, 1910–1930 and Gone But Not Forgotten.

My current research subjects in Caltech history include the institution’s relationship with the Human Betterment Foundation and its advocacy of eugenic sterilization in the 1930s; how physics research programs built on each other’s infrastructure; and the art and technology program of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I am the principal investigator of the Pacific Standard Time 2024 research and exhibition project “Virtual Witnessing: Seeing Caltech Science,” and co-organize the event series “Critical Intersections: Conversations on History, Race, and Science.”

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 also taught the courses America in the Cold War World and The Evolution Debates. Before that, I studied and taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Oberlin College, was an organizer and board member of Mariposa Food Co-op in Philadelphia and the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, and worked as a web developer and science museum educator.

profiles
Twitter @collopy
Medium @collopy
ORCID 0000-0002-0979-6549
Google Scholar dq5HS28AAAAJ
Web https://collopy.net/
contact
Email
Phone +1 626-395-2702
Mail 1200 E. California Blvd.
MC B215-74
Pasadena, CA 91125
itinerary
Physics Colloquium*
Caltech, January 13
AAAS*
Philadelphia, February 17–20
Centering Race and Disability in Histories of Eugenics*
Huntington Library, October 14–15
*presenting