Kristin Johnson

Kristin Johnson

Professor and Director, Science, Technology, Health, and Society

Kristin Johnson’s research focuses on the history of the life sciences. She authored the book Ordering Life: Karl Jordan and the Naturalist Tradition, a study of how the study of biodiversity and natural history museums have changed since the nineteenth century. Her historical novel The Species Maker, a fictional exploration of debates over evolution in the 1920s, was published by University of Alabama Press in 2021. Her current book projects include Imagining Progress: Science and Religion at the Bedside of America's Children 1690-1925 and Darwin's Falling Sparrow: Victorian Evolutionists and the Problem of Suffering. Her recent research has all been inspired by the teaching she does in the Science, Technology, Health and Society Program, where her courses include: Evolution and Society Since Darwin; Apes, Angels, and Darwin; Ecological Knowledge in Historical Perspective; History of Medicine; Evolution and Ethics; Cancer and Society, and Science and Religion: Historical Perspectives.


"The Return of the Geneticist: Theodosius Dobzhansky, Edward Chapin, and Museum Taxonomy," Journal of the History of Biology 55 (2022), forthcoming.

The Species Maker: A Novel (University of Alabama Press, 2021).

Ordering Life: Karl Jordan and the Naturalist Tradition (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). 

"The Best Panaceas for Heartaches," published in Creative Nonfiction 65 (2017) and Issues in Science and Technology (2017). Honorary Mention for a "Think-Write-Publish: Science and Religion" story writing contest.

"Furnishing the Skill which can Save the Child": Diphtheria, Germ Theory, and Theodicy," Zygon: Journal of Science and Religion 52 (2017): 295-332.

"Qualifying Consequences: A response to ’Consequences of the Spanish Civil War for Entomology," ISIS 108 (2017): 353-357.

“The Natural Historian,” pp. 84-96 in A Companion to the History of Science, edited by Bernard Lightman (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).

(with Ariela Tubert) "Adventures in Co-teaching History and Philosophy: Evolution and Ethics," History of Science Society Newsletter 4(2012): 7-9.

“A Naturalist in Wartime: John Buxton’s pioneering study of the Redstart,” Naturalist 135(2010): 189-194.

“The return of the Phoenix: the 1963 International Congress of Zoology and American zoologists in the twentieth century,” Journal of the History of Biology 42(2009): 417-456.

“Natural history as stamp collecting: a brief history,” Archives of Natural History 34 (2007): 244-258

“Ernst Mayr, Karl Jordan, and the history of systematics,” History of Science 48 (2005): 1-35.

“Type-specimens of birds as sources for the history of ornithology,” Journal of the History of Collections 17 (2005): 173-188.

The Ibis: transformations in a twentieth century British natural history journal,” Journal of the History of Biology 37 (2004): 515-555.

“The tail end of the moth: clarifying species boundaries,” Endeavour 28 (2004): 161-166.

BA University of Washington 1997
MA Oregon State University 2000
PhD Oregon State University 2003
Natural History Museums STHS 325-A Spring 2024
Evolution & Society STHS 330-A Spring 2024
Medicine in the United States STHS 366-A Fall 2024
Senior Practicum in STHS STHS 480-A Fall 2024

Contact Information

Wyatt 153