Lorraine Daston

Executive Director

Ph.D., Professor, Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago

Residence: since July 15, 1995


Lorraine Daston has published on a wide range of topics in the history of science, including the history of probability and statistics, wonders in early modern science, the emergence of the scientific fact, scientific models, objects of scientific inquiry, the moral authority of nature, and the history of scientific objectivity. She is currently completing a book on "Moral and Natural Orders." Histories of Scientific Observation, co-edited with Elizabeth Lunbeck (Vanderbilt University), was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2011.

She has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Brandeis, and Göttingen Universities, as well as at the University of Chicago, where she is Visiting Professor in the Committee on Social Thought. She has also held visiting positions in Paris and Vienna and given the Isaiah Berlin Lectures at the University of Oxford (1999), the Tanner Lectures at Harvard University (2002), the West Lectures at Stanford University (2005), and the Humanitas Lecture at the University of Oxford (2013). She has twice won the Pfizer Prize of the History of Science Society and was awarded the Sarton Medal of the History of Science Society and the Schelling Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 2012. Lorraine Daston is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Corresponding Member of the British Academy, as well as a Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the Leopoldina.

Selected publications

  • Daston, L. (2014). The naturalistic fallacy is modern. Isis, 105(3), 579-587. More http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/678173
  • Erickson, P., Klein, J. L., Daston, L., Lemov, R., Sturm, T., & Gordin, M. D. (2013). How reason almost lost its mind: the strange career of Cold War rationality. Chicago [u.a.]: The University of Chicago Press. More Book page
  • Daston, L. (2013). Die Bedeutung von Monstern in der frühen Neuzeit. In L. Tori, & A. Steinbrecher (Eds.), Animali: Tiere und Fabelwesen von der Antike bis zur Neuzeit. Katalog der Ausstellung im Landesmuseum Zürich, 1.3.2013-14.7.2013 (pp. 121-127). Genève [u.a.]: Skira. More
  • Daston, L. (2012). The sciences of the archive. Osiris, 27(1), 156-187. More
  • Daston, L., & Lunbeck, E. (Eds.). (2011). Histories of scientific observation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. More Book page

Talks and presentations

April 2014 University of Santa Barbara – "The Way We Think Now: A Short History of Rules"
December 2013 University of Chicago – "One Word Worth a Thousand Images"
June 2013 Einstein Forum, Potsdam – "The Paradoxes of Self-Interest"
March 2013 Coutauld Institute London – "The Synoptic Image in Early Modern Europe"
January 2013 Humanitas Lecture, Oxford University – "Nature's Revenge: A History of Risk, Responsibility, and Reasonableness"


Teaching activities

2014 University of Chicago – Seminar: "Observation: A History of the Sciences, the Senses, and the Self"
2013 University of Chicago – Seminar: "Against the Gods: Comparative Perspectives on Human Resistance to the Higher Powers"
2012 University of Chicago – Seminar: "Naturalism as a Way of Life"
2011 University of Chicago – Seminar: "History's Histories"