Affiliated Students

The interest of UBC graduate students in STS topics is one of the main reasons we have created the program. Here are some STS topics that current graduate students at UBC are pursuing outside of the STS program:

Geoff Bil (PhD student, History) is working on a dissertation which examines indigenous roles in European botany, and changing perceptions of indigenous plant knowledge, particularly Māori and Polynesian plant names, from the late Enlightenment to the present day. 

Monica Brown (PhD candidate, English) studies the history and theory of rhetoric and specializes in rhetoric of health and medicine. Her dissertation explores how public health campaigns engage the public and encourage personal responsibility during infectious disease outbreaks, from seasonal influenza to the recent crisis of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” Visit her blog at

Ken Corbett (PhD student, History) is researching the social, cultural, and science history of punctuality and timekeeping in Victorian Britain and their relationship with telegraph and rail networks for his dissertation which is tentatively entitled “Chronic Anxieties: keeping & telling time in Victorian Britain.”

Chris French (PhD student, Philosophy) is working on topics in the history of probability and inductive logic and their relation to questions of value in science.

Eric Johnson (PhD student, History) works on the history of the life sciences. His dissertation is tentatively titled, “The Struggle for Coexistence: Mutual Aid, Scientific Exchange, and the Political Ecology of Ideas in Russia, Europe, and England, 1859-1921.”

Kieran Metcalfe (PhD student, History) prospects and data-mines the history of industrial non-ferrous metals. He is currently staking claim to a project which examines the transnational aspects of copper mining and smelting in early nineteenth century Britain. Early showings point toward good recoveries from a resource lode rich in unexploited potential.

Siddhartha Della Santina (PhD candidate, History) is working on a PhD dissertation which explores the formation and reception of the 19th century art critic Giovanni Morelli’s “scientific connoisseurship” at the intersection of organicist conceptions of art, the experimental sciences, and fin de siècle theories of the physiology and psychology of aesthetic experience, under the working title of “A Picture is a Long Suffering Thing: Giovanni Morelli’s Conception of Art from Romantic Science to Physiological Aesthetics.”

Patrick Slaney (PhD candidate, History) studies the culture and political economy of expertise. His dissertation, “Living in two worlds: the scientific community between science and politics” argues that the idea of the scientific community legitmated and justified post-war liberalism in the United States.