Katherine Pandora

Associate Professor of the History of Science

B.A., Psychology, with Honors, University of California, Los Angeles, 1980
M.A., Developmental Psychology, Cornell University, 1983
Ph.D., History / Science Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1993

I research and teach about science in the public sphere from several different vantage points: studying the relations between politics and the scientific enterprise as they play out in research settings and cultural arenas, particularly in relation to the social sciences of anthropology, psychology, and sociology; exploring how natural history has served as an “intellectual commons” for contestations by both the public and professionals about the nature of scientific authority; and by taking science in popular culture seriously, in order to better understand how scientific knowledge circulates “in the vernacular.”

My work spans the 19th- and 20th-century United States, and focuses in particular on the antebellum period (with comparative attention to Great Britain), the early decades of the 20th century, and the cold war era of the 1950s, '60s & '70s. I also do history in the present -- that is, I'm experimenting with digital history to rethink the nature of scholarship and teaching about history of science in the 21st century.

With this emphasis on science, the public, popular culture, and communication (especially mass media, museums, science fiction, and childhood experience), my work necessarily reaches out across disciplines, drawing on U.S. History, American Studies, sociology, literature, philosophy, media studies, communication studies, visual culture, the history of childhood, the history of education, and gender studies, as well as the history of science and the history of technology. 

Select Publications

Rebels within the Ranks 

“Popular Science in National & Transnational Perspective: Suggestions from the American Context,” Isis, 2009, 100:346-358

“Science in the Everyday World: Why Perspectives from the History of Science Matter,” Isis, 2008, 99:350-364 (with Karen A. Rader)

“The Children’s Republic of Science in the Antebellum Literature of Samuel Griswold Goodrich and Jacob Abbott,” in Carol Harrison and Ann Johnson, eds. Osiris, 2009, 24:75-98


Rebels within the Ranks:
Psychologists’ Critique of Scientific Authority and Democratic Realities in New Deal
(Cambridge UP, 1997)