I work on the history of science in early modern Europe, focusing in particular on Britain in the period 1650-1750. I am currently working on two projects, both of which concern the place of sensory experience – bodily, affective and aesthetic – in the production of knowledge.
The first is a new study of the role of ideas about sensory experience and bodily pleasure in the emergence of the empirical sciences, entitled Aesthetic Science: Representing Nature in the Royal Society of London, 1650-1720. The second project – The Medical Origins of Aesthetics, 1700-1750 – reconsiders the role of the ideas about the body’s receptivity to sensory experience in the emergence of both aesthetics and the empirical sciences. Starting with medicine, this project will expand to include a wide range of discourses about the relationship between human difference – including class, gender, race and animality – and the capacity for sensory experience.
I am currently a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of History at University College London. I hold a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. I have previously taught as the University of Oxford, New York University and University College London, and held a postdoctoral fellowship jointly at the California Institute of Technology and The Huntington Library.