Tal Arbel

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Rank of Instructor

Trained as a historian of the behavioral and mind sciences, Tal Arbel is continuously intrigued by scientific efforts to render objective that which eludes objectification. More specifically, her work investigates the development of methods and tools for measuring subjective phenomena, such as thoughts, feelings and wants. She is also keenly interested in the ways these measures, once stabilized, came to underwrite new modes of reasoning about politics and society. Her book project, Polling Comes to the Middle East, asks how did accessing the opinions and preferences of ordinary people by means of sample surveys become a pervasive, nearly universal, way of knowing in both science and public life in the second half of the 20th century, as well as the ultimate marker of democratic governance.

Tal received her Ph.D from Harvard University and was recently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Tel Aviv University's Minerva Humanities Center and the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science.


Jordan Bimm

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Rank of Instructor

Jordan Bimm is a historian of science, technology, and medicine focused on the human and biological aspects of space exploration. His forthcoming book, Anticipating the Astronaut, examines the surprising history of pre-NASA space medicine test-subjects contributing to early visions of an ideal spacefaring body, including push-button soldiers, high-altitude Indigenous people, mountaineers, women pilots, and animals. His current project, Putting Mars in a Jar, recovers the forgotten military origin of astrobiology—the study of potential extraterrestrial life—through a history of U.S. Air Force life-on-Mars simulations in the 1950s. He holds a PhD in Science & Technology Studies (STS) from York University in Toronto, and was most recently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University. 

He holds a Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. The prestigious fellowship provides the opportunity to work with NASM's curators and collections to further his project about the military origin of astrobiology, the search for life in the cosmos, and Mars environmental simulators called "Mars Jars."

 


Brad Bolman

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Rank of Instructor

Brad Bolman is a historian of science, medicine, and technology focused on the history of capitalism and inquiries into nonhuman life. His first book project, The Dog Years, explores how the beagle became the de facto and de jure breed of experimental dog in disciplines as far afield as radiobiology, pharmacology, periodontology, inhalation toxicology, and Alzheimer’s research. His second project, The Decomposition Book, explores the global history of mycological science, analyzing shifting experimental and field practices as well as industrially sponsored research as scientists attempted to make sense of the strange universe of fungi. In 2021, he received a PhD from the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He has four peer reviewed journal articles and two book chapters published or forthcoming as well as several articles or chapters under review and a number of popular publications.


Iris Clever

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Rank of Instructor

Iris Clever is a historian of science, medicine, and technology whose research explores why and how science measures what it measures. Much of her work is concerned with the quantification of bodies, the human experience of measurement practices, and the role bodies and technologies play in defining the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity in science. Her current book project, The Lives and Afterlives of Skulls, reveals how and why biometrics emerged in the 19th and 20th century as an innovative tool to shed new light on human variation while it continued to perpetuate old racial prejudices in algorithms, instruments, and human data. Iris teaches widely in history of science and medicine, cultural history, STS, race, and gender. She holds a PhD in History from UCLA and a BA and MA in History from Utrecht University.


Isabel Gabel

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Rank of Instructor

Isabel Gabel is a historian of science, medicine, and political thought. Her work explores how the modern life sciences created spaces of uncertainty and irresolvability which in turn reshaped the epistemological foundations of liberalism in the twentieth century. At SIFK she is working on a history of complexity, tentatively entitled At the Edges of Chaos: Complexity Theory between Science and Governance. Bringing together histories of molecular biology, cybernetics, and big data, the project explores the rise of complexity science in Europe and the United States after 1970. It charts complexity’s transformation from a mathematical approach to chaos and nonlinearity, to a set of new methods for theorizing and managing the neoliberal state in fields such as urban studies and finance. Isabel is also in the process of completing her first book, Experiments in History: French Biology and the Fate of Liberal Universalism, about the role of biology in the emergence of poststructuralism and liberal historicism after the Second World War. Isabel’s publications have appeared in journals including History of the Human Sciences and Revue d’histoire des sciences. She received her PhD from Columbia University and was most recently an ELSI Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. 


Emily Kern

History of Science Assistant Professor and the College

Office: SSRB 517
(773) 702-7888

Emily Kern is a historian of science, with a specialty in the intellectual and cultural history of anthropology, evolution, and the life sciences. Her research and teaching focus on the relationship between the production of scientific knowledge and the production of global political power in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Kaat Louckx

Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine

Kaat Louckx is Assistant Professor of Science and Society at the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and a member of the Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine. She works on the history and sociology of the human and social sciences, with a particular focus on the history of representations and conceptualizations of the social body (or “corps social”). Kaat is currently working on a book manuscript, The Social Body in State-istics, which focuses on the international rise of social statistics in the nineteenth and early-twentieth century. Her work appeared, amongst others, in The Sociological Review, Social Science History, and Nations and Nationalism. She recently co-authored a book on the history of sociology in Belgium (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).


William H. Sterner

Postdoctoral Researcher

Grounded in decades of teaching programming and managing computer technology, as well as philosophical research and teaching at the University of Chicago, William Sterner’s project aims at reconstituting the teleological significances surrounding the cultural disruptions generated by technological innovation and new scientific knowledge. He’s seeking to identify the ethical and political impacts of these productive disruptions across the existing variety of common sense habitats. His general approach to this problem is through the different kinds of expressiveness of computed symbolizations and natural language discourse. By bridging between these two modes of linguistic agency, he intends to foster an enriched telic synthesis of modern sci/tech and common sense habitats that depends on developing hybrid combinations of univocal and polyvocal scientific terms through discourse. Discursive arguments can include teleological reasoning with its powers to productively and beneficially complete human experiencing within its diverse habitats through positive growth and integration. Overall, he’s pursuing this research in relation to the hybrid disciplines of Digital Humanities and the problematics of 'humanizing the digital' in a developing cultural aesthetics of countably infinite precisions.