A native of North Alabama, Chris grew up a short distance from the woods and fields of the Tennessee River Valley and the techno-scientific complex of Rocket City USA. He holds degrees from Samford University (BA, History) and the University of South Carolina (MA, Public History). Chris is currently a PhD student in History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also completing a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. In addition, he serves as a Graduate Fellow at the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture.
Chris has an academic and professional background in public history, including museums, special collections librarianship, and digital humanities. From 2013 to 2016, he worked at McKissick Museum and the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library in Columbia, South Carolina. Duties included cataloging and conservation of mixed media collections (including archival documents, photographs, and audio recordings), assistance with exhibition development and installation, and reference services for researchers. Chris has also interned for the Division of Work and Industry at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and Moving Image Research Collections at the University of South Carolina. In 2014, he served as digital collections manager for Digitizing Bull Street, a digital humanities project led by Dr. Lydia Brandt and now hosted by the Digital U.S. South Initiative.
The history of science may sound like a narrow field with an easily-defined object of study. However, that is most certainly not the case. Historians of science study the myriad ways in which people have sought to understand the world around them. These people have gone by the names of scientist, artisan, philosopher, technician, cleric, magician, mystic, poet, alchemist, spiritualist, and many others. Previously, Chris’s research was at the intersection of environmental history and the history of the life sciences, focusing on histories of agriculture and horticulture. He has since taken his research interests in new directions, and he now seeks to explore the entangled genealogies of science and religion in the early centuries of Christianity. His work draws on scholarship in the history of science, religious studies, queer theory, and postcolonial studies.
The patristic period was a time when emerging varieties of Christianity were wrestling with theological and philosophical questions about the cosmos and the human place within it. They were in dialogue with the same classical, Hellenistic, and late antique intellectual traditions that historians of science have long considered foundational to their field of study. How might these interactions then contribute to our historical understandings of natural philosophy, natural history, scriptural exegesis, systematic theology, and religious experience?