I’m a historian and archivist of science, technology, and media.
As University Archivist at the Caltech Archives, I collect, organize, preserve, present, and make available for research the papers and other media that facilitate understanding of Caltech’s role in the history of science and technology.
As a managing editor and web administrator of the History of Anthropology Newsletter, I foster an intellectual community of historians and anthropologists.
As a scholar, one portion of my work concerns how politics and religion have shaped the methods of biology, cybernetics, and the human sciences. I’ve written about how geologist-theologian George Frederick Wright believed Darwinism provided a “Calvinistic interpretation of nature”; how the personal relationships and emotions of anthropologists Ashley Montagu and Carleton Coon and geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky shaped their arguments about the nature of race; and psychologists studying millennial sexual behavior.
Another portion of my work takes up these same issues in the context of the history of video technology. I’ve written about engineers appropriating analog computing to build video synthesizers; artist Paul Ryan modeling video installations on Catholic practices; videographers using psychedelia and evolutionary panpsychism to make video into a technology of consciousness; psychotherapists and artists employing video feedback and cybernetics to cure/cause narcissism and produce new social systems; and Eldridge Cleaver and other Black Panthers appearing in the U.S. on videotape while fugitives abroad. (Unlinked topics can be found in my dissertation, and these and other fragments of my research are catalogued more systematically on my projects page.)