John Tresch

Associate Professor, History and Sociology of Science

University of Pennsylvania

John Tresch's research focuses on the cultural history of science in the modern world, and the ways in which science has absorbed and informed the concepts, values, and equipment of other cultural practices, including politics, philosophy, technology, and the arts. Particular interests include the impact of media technology on epistemology and aesthetics; an anthropological attention to ritual, religion, and experience, especially in the technoscience of the past two centuries; the changing disciplinary arrangements, methods, and effects of the social sciences; relations of science and literature; the shifting limits of the rational and real.

His first book, The Romantic Machine, is about the entwinement of romanticism and industrialization in France in the years before the revolution of 1848. Focusing on the same period in the USA, his next book will examine the scientific and mechanical obsessions of Edgar Allan Poe. Other current projects include studies of the variable formats and uses of representations of the universe as a whole, or cosmograms; the role played by the sciences in various moments of globalization; and understandings of the self and nature at play in contemporary neuroscience, especially the field of contemplative neuroscience. 

He has held fellowships at Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.