Erin Freedman

Visiting Predoctoral Fellow (Sep 2023-Jul 2024)

Erin Freedman researches histories of modern science and material innovation, with a particular focus on their conceptual, experiential, and aesthetic interplay. Trained in comparative literature at the University of Toronto, she did graduate work at the Bard Graduate Center in New York before beginning her PhD in the History of Science at Harvard University in 2018.

Her dissertation “Fabricating Modern Fibers: Metaphors, Models, and Artifacts in Molecular Biology, 1920–1958” narrates the scientific life of textile fibers as technical and cognitive resources in the mid-twentieth century British and American life sciences. It traces their emergence from British efforts to revive wool’s cultural and economic status by introducing physical techniques to fiber analysis and manufacture, to the uptake and circulation of fibers among crystallographers, biochemists, and physiologists as model molecular forms for interpreting life’s essential properties. Setting this history in the mid-century context of intensive government and corporate investment in new materials, she investigates how fibers shot through the language and practices of researchers who envisioned molecular biology in structural, rather than genetic, terms.

Prior to starting her PhD, Erin worked in museum curation at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. She has also curated exhibitions collectively and collaboratively at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Goethe-Institut (New York), SESC Pompéia (São Paolo), among others.

Current Projects

No current projects were found for this scholar.

Completed Projects

Fabricating Modern Fibers