I am a health humanist and a cultural historian of medicine. I hold a PhD in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine from the University of Minnesota. My research interests fall at the intersections of
health practices with Indigenous, settler colonial, religious, and environmental studies. My thesis, “Simple Medicines: Land, Health, and Power in the nineteenth-century Ojibwe Western Great Lakes,” is a cultural history of medicine
in mixed Indigenous Ojibwe and settler communities in the western Great Lakes of Anishinaabewaki between 1823 and 1891. This project documents the regular circulation of health practices between settler American and Ojibwe communities and
how these circulations and the health beliefs that undergirded them fundamentally shaped the development of settler colonial discourses and institutions, from diplomatic negotiations to religious missions to economic policies.
I am also working on a second project on the cultural meanings and political work of Midwestern herbal medicine from approximately 1950-2005, tentatively titled “How We Heal.” Like “Simple Medicines,” this work asks about the cultural and political work that botanical medicine did: where and why plants were scripted as medicine, how herbalists articulated herbal medicine as “traditional” or “scientific,” and how herbal practices signaled ethnic, religious, and political belonging. “How We Heal” is based on archival and oral history research which I began in 2014. As a research project, “How We Heal” is closely associated with a participatory research and storytelling initiative called the Herbal History Project. A small cohort of settler and Indigenous academics, activists, and practicing herbalists, the Herbal History Project runs reading and storytelling groups, shares historical materials and practices with herbalists as well as academics, and is developing a community digital archive for oral histories of people and plants.