HPS Graduate Students

photo of Halley Barnet


Edward Halley Barnet

After graduating with a B.A. in history and French literature at the University of Alberta in 2009, I decided to move to France, one of the prime objects of my historical passion. I soon found my way to one of the many modern fragmentations of that great medieval university, the Sorbonne, where I unofficially attended classes at the Institut d'Histoire de la Révolution française for one year. Expanding my knowledge of the labyrinthine networks of French post-secondary education, in 2011 I began a two-years masters in history at Sciences Po. During my second year, through the good council of my thesis advisor, Stéphane Van Damme, I discovered the wealth of intellectual endeavours that is the history of science. In particular, I wrote my masters thesis on the Paris Academy of Sciences during the French Revolution, and its struggles to maintain its institutional status amidst the chaos of political upheaval. Here at Stanford, I am looking forward to expand my research interests beyond the bounds of l'hexagone; in general, I am fascinated by phenomena of knowledge creation, and how issues of epistemology intersect with broader, and narrower, social, political and cultural concerns. I have recently begun to explore the evolution of speculative music within natural philosophy, and I am excited to pursue this line of research in the future.

Of course, my time is not entirely devoted to reading and writing! Outside of school, my greatest passions are cooking, music (I play gypsy jazz) and cycling.

Hannah LeBlanc

photo of Hannah LeBlanc

I entered the PhD program in History in 2013, after receiving my Sc.B. in Neuroscience and Gender and Sexuality Studies from Brown University in 2012. My primary interests are the history and philosophy of gender, race, and science and the relationship between science and public policy. My dissertation focuses on military- and government-supported nutrition research during World War II and the Cold War. I examine the ways in which institutional, political, and cultural contexts shaped nutrition science, the relationship of science and policy, and the unintended consequences of research and policies on food inequalities.

Jenny Pegg

photo of Jenny Pegg

"As to the fable that there are Antipodes," St. Augustine wrote in the fifth century, "that is to say, men on the opposite side of the earth... men who walk with their feet opposite ours, that is on no ground credible."

I am driven to seek our Antipodes - to pursue awareness of how the ideas and visions of our present are both helped and hindered by the knowledge and assumptions we inherit from our past - to discover ground credible, un-credible, and incredible. I'm drawn to topics in which humanity directly confronts fundamental questions of existence, questions asked in one form or another by men and women in the past, questions that remain with us, often in new forms, in the present. They echo through centuries, even millennia. What do we know of the universe? How do we understand matter, space, and time? What is man in relation to other life? What is the self, the mind and/or (a more recent development) the brain?

I am also interested in the interaction between natural philosophical, and later scientific, knowledge and law, politics and power.

I graduated from Harvard University in 2004 with a degree in astrophysics. Thereafter, I worked in neuroscience research for four years before commencing graduate studies in 2008.


Greg Priest

photo of Greg Priest

I entered the PhD program in History at Stanford in the fall of 2011. I did my undergraduate work at Princeton and have a law degree and a masters in liberal arts from Stanford. Before entering the PhD program, I had careers as a corporate securities lawyer and as an entrepreneur and executive in software companies. My primary interests are in the history and philosophy of biology, particularly evolutionary biology and ecology. I am especially interested in the applications of principles of complex systems to biological processes. My current plan for my dissertation is an historical and philosophical analysis of the "tree of life" diagram from Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. I want to analyze how Darwin came upon the idea for the diagram, how he developed it, and how it can provide us a window through which we can better understand his thinking. I also argue that the diagram can give us a useful framework for analyzing a number of current questions in the philosophy of biology and in evolutionary biology more generally. I am married, have two children and live in San Francisco. I am an avid skier and cook.

Stephan Risi

photo of Stephan Risi

After finishing my B.A in history at the University of Zurich, I entered the History PhD program in 2011 and have since been working on the history of drugs with a particular focus on smoking and addiction.

Drugs make for fascinating objects of historical inquiry because they are always located between the scientific and the cultural, the licit and illicit, the safe and the dangerous. I am interested in questions like: What does transcendence mean if it can be chemically induced? How do drugs shape notions of selfhood? What does it mean to be an addict, an acid-head, or a smoker? How can we understand addiction both as a universal neurochemical process and a specific, historically situated experience?

For my thesis, I investigate how, over the last sixty years, smoking became an addiction, and what role changing addiction paradigms and industry denialism have played in the process. How did industry lawyers, public health researchers, and individual smokers react to the emerging consensus that smoking is an addiction?

What I enjoy most about researching a topic like this is that it allows me to work interdisciplinarily and follow my interests in the biomedical sciences, medical anthropology, philosophy, and the digital humanities.

Julia Roever

photo of Julia Roever

I entered the PhD program in the fall of 2012, after earning a law degree from Tübingen University and a Dr. iur. in law from Heidelberg University, as well as a Masters in Liberal Arts from Stanford. Before entering the PhD program, I had a career as an attorney-at-law in Stuttgart, Germany, specializing in medical malpractice law and other areas of law related to medicine. My primary interests are in the history of medicine and the history of law as it intersects with medical practice in early modern Europe. For my dissertation project, I am researching the history of errors in medical treatment - in modern terms: medical malpractice - and how the members of the medical community, patients, and lawyers dealt with them in early modern Europe, especially in Italy and Germany.

photo of Alex Statman

Alexander Statman

I began the Stanford PhD program in the History of Science in 2009 after completing an undergraduate degree in history and philosophy at Columbia University. I wrote an undergraduate thesis on the importance of occult sciences to the 16th century study of cosmography, which encompassed the first extensive English writings about the Americas. At Stanford, I am continuing to investigate the history of early-modern European thought in its global context.

Anna Toledano

photo of Anna Toldano

I am a student of history of science and a museum professional who uses objects to tell stories about the past. My areas of interest include history of natural history, botany, and technology as well as anthropology. Natural history objects, such as fossils, that are significant to early modern Spain especially intrigue me. Prior to coming to Stanford, I worked in exhibition development in New York City cultural institutions. I hold a bachelor's degree from Princeton in History of Science and a master's from Columbia in Museum Anthropology.

Duygu Yildirim

photo of Duygu Yildirim

I entered the PhD program at Stanford in 2014 after graduating with a B.A. in American Literature and Culture and with an M.A. in Ottoman History in Istanbul, Turkey. My dissertation project aims to understand how approaches to different knowledge systems changed between 1650 and 1800 in the Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire. I study intellectual networks between European and Ottoman scholars who were interested in attaining a "universal" perspective in their own epistemologies. I conduct my research in six different languages in various research sites. My related interests are the post-humanist discourse on Islam, history of science in Islam, global history of science, and translation history.

Back To Top

<- HPST People page