Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Brown University
Website URL
history of science, women and gender, alchemy, the body, Holy Roman Empire, Reformation, court culture, patronage, trials
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am Professor of History and Italian Studies at Brown University, where I teach courses in early modern European history and the history of science. My research focuses on knowledge of nature and its place in the society and culture of early modern Europe. I situate my work at the intersection of the history of central Europe and the history of science, examining connections between natural knowledge and print culture, gender, commerce, state building, and satire in the early modern period. I am particularly interested in the history of alchemy, and more recently have begun to work in digital publishing as well. My first book, Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2007), examined how three groups – entrepreneurial princes, cultural critics, and alchemical practitioners – competed to shape the meaning of alchemy in sixteenth and seventeenth-century central Europe. In addition to several essays that emerged from this project, I have published more generally on print culture and science in two additional essays, one (with Paula Findlen) on scientific publishing and another on the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher. My most recent book, The Lion’s Blood: Alchemy and End Time in Reformation Germany (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), takes up questions of gender, the body, and religious culture in connection with alchemy. I am currently completing a collaborative digital project, co-directed with Donna Bilak, on the German alchemist and physician Michael Maier’s musical-alchemical emblem book, Atalanta fugiens (1617/18). My work has been supported by the the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and, most recently, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. I am Past President of the New England Renaissance Conference and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern History and Ambix.

Recent Publications

Anna Zieglerin and the Lion’s Blood: Alchemy and End Times in Reformation Germany. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019.

Janice Neri, Tara Nummedal, and John V. Calhoun, John Abbot and William Swainson: Art, Science, and Commerce in 19th-Century Natural History Illustration. University of Alabama Press, 2019.

“Corruption, Generation, and the Problem of Menstrua in Early Modern Alchemy.” In Blood Matters: Studies in European Literature and Thought, 1400-1700, edited by Eleanor Decamp and Bonnie Lander Johnson, 111-122. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.

“Gemstones and Philosophers’ Stones.” In Wonder: 50 years of RISD Glass, edited by Rachel Berwick, Denise Markonish, Jocelyne Prince, 66-69. Providence: Rhode Island School of Design and RISD Short Runs, 2017.

“Double Take: Owl Beaker.” Manual 6: Assemblage (2016): 10-11.

“The Alchemist.” In A Companion to the History of Science, edited by Bernard Lightman, 58-70. Malden, Mass and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

“Spuren der alchemischen Vergangenheit. Das Labor als Archiv im frühneuzeitlichen Sachsen” [“Traces of the Alchemical Past: The Laboratory as Archive in Early Modern Saxony”]. In Spuren der Avantgarde: Theatrum alchemicum. Frühe Neuzeit und Moderne im Kulturvergleich, edited by Helmar Schramm, Michael Lorber, and Jan Lazardzig, 154-173. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2016.

“The Alchemist in His Laboratory.” In Goldenes Wissen. Die Alchemie – Sunstanzen, Synthesen, Symbolik. Ausstellung Der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel (Bibliotheca Augusta: Augusteerhalle, Schatzkammer, Kabinett) vom 31. August 2014 bis zum 22. Februar 2015, edited by Petra Feuerstein-Herz and Stefan Laube, 121-28. Wolfenbüttel: Herzog August Bibliothek, 2014.

Guest editor and “Introduction,” “Alchemy and Religion in Christian Europe.” Special issue, Ambix 60, no. 4 (November 2013).

“Words and Works in the History of Alchemy,” solicited essay for a Focus Section on “Alchemy and the History of Science,” edited by Bruce Moran in Isis102, no. 20 (June 2011): 330-337.

Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007; paperback ed., 2019.


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Germany, Czech Republic
Expertise by Geography
Germany, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
2, 3, 6
Expertise by Topic
Book History, Gender, Material Culture, Science, Women