Before coming to New York University, I taught at the University of Oxford and University College London. I have wide teaching interests, giving courses on cultural and intellectual history, the history of science and medicine, histories of race and human difference, the history of art, historiography, and visual/material culture.
As a teacher of liberal studies at NYU, I am developing courses on global histories of science, religion, aesthetic experience, and human difference. During my time at UCL, I offered two interdisiplinary courses touching on these themes. The first – Intelligent Design? Science, Religion & Material Culture, 1500-1800 – deals with the early modern idea that nature was designed by god. This course examines the wide range of cultural and material practices at stake in the idea that the world was a product of design, ranging from philosophy to the high arts, and from theology to the practices of architectural design. The second – Enlightenment Histories: Historical Representation in Enlightenment Thought and Culture – is derived from my interest in the rhetoric and poetics of natural history. It examines the ways in which the representation of time and history changed in the period 1700-1800, taking in themes as diverse as biblical chronology, the emergence of geological time, notions of human ‘progress’, and the role of history painting in revolutionary and national politics.
I always encourage students to consider history from an interdisciplinary perspective, mobilising a wide range of textual, visual, and material sources. To encourage such encounters, my courses are designed to encourage students to explore the connections between disciplines. Moreover, I use objects in the classroom – including my own reconstructions of scientific experiments – to provoke students into using material things as historical sources alongside texts and images.
Full List of Courses Taught
- Science and Society in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 (New York University)
- Early Modern Britain, 1450-1750 (New York University)
- Nature, Politics, and Ethics in the Ancient World (New York University)
- Between Science and Religion: Comparing the Arabic, European and Chinese Worlds, from Middle Ages to Modernity (New York University)
- European History, 1450-1750 (University College London)
- British Isles History IV (1500-1700) (University of Oxford)
- General History III (European History, 1400-1650) (University of Oxford)
- General History VIII (European History, 1500-1618) (University of Oxford)
Specialist Undergraduate Courses:
- Intelligent Design? Science, Religion & Material Culture, 1500-1800 (UCL & NYU)
- Human Difference in the Enlightenment, 1700-1800 (UCL & NYU)
- Enlightenment and Revolution, 1715-1805 (University College London)
- Witch-craft and Witch-hunting in Early Modern Europe (University of Oxford)
- Approaches to History – Anthropology and History (University of Oxford)
- Disciplines of History (University of Oxford)
- Politics, Art and Culture in the Italian Renaissance, c. 1475-1525 (University of Oxford)
- Enlightenment Histories: Historical Representation in Eighteenth Century Thought and Culture (University College London)