HPS Research Interests
My dissertation: Plastics and Dictatorship in the German Democratic Republic: Towards an Economic, Consumer, Design and Cultural History, recipient of the 2005 Fritz Stern Award from the German Historical Institute for the best American dissertation in German History, focuses on the history of the chemical industry and synthetics technology in the specific context of state socialism. It seeks to understand the way that notions of science and technology in socialism combined with ideology and necessity to ascribe meaning to plastic in everyday life, thus forming a specific bond between the party and its people.
HPS Teaching Interests
The history of technology as it intersects with consumption, gender, and everyday life in modern European and American history is one of my main emphases in my teaching. I recently developed a course, History 4000, “Material Culture and Technology” which utilized texts such as American Plastic: A Cultural History by Jeffrey Meikle and More Work For Mother by Ruth Schwarz Cowan. This course drew on the role of science and technology in creating the vast economic networks of consumption that have shaped and bound together the post WWII world and defined the post Cold War world.
HPS Representative Publications