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). He 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, Chris is serving as a 2018-2019 Graduate Fellow at the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at Penn.
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.
Chris studies the intertwined histories of farming, gardening, and botany. Why the interest in plants from the past? The study, cultivation, and use of plants throughout history has been entangled with everything from gender and sexuality to art and literature to power and empire. And, lest we forget, American botanist William J. Robbins liked to remind people, “Without plants, we would starve to death, die of suffocation and expire from a combination of deficiency diseases.”