I teach and write about modern intellectual history, with interests in the history of technology, the environment, globalisms, psychoanalysis, interwar Europe, religious thought, political thought, political economy, animality, the emotions, and movements for social action. I'm attracted to a kind of thinking that marries historical inquiry to humanistic and philosophical reflection.
I received my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, taught for several years at the University of Chicago, and have been at Reed since 2005. I've found that Reed students are eager to think with rigor, creativity, and play – teaching here can be a genuine delight.
This year I am teaching a course on the psychoanalytic tradition, a course on the history of the Whole Earth, and a sequence of classes in modern humanities from the Enlightenment era to the present.
As a scholar and writer, I have done some work in the history of religion, and my book, God Interrupted (Princeton, 2008), received awards from the American Academy of Religion and the Templeton Foundation. I've also co-edited a volume in the study of emotion called Fear: Across the Disciplines (Pittsburgh, 2012). I've since embarked on some new research projects, principally a history of the Whole Earth. A sample of that project, a capsule history of philosophical reactions to the first images of the Earth from space, appeared as an article ("Earthrise; or, the Globalization of the World Picture") in the American Historical Review.