John Tresch is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His teaching interests include the history of physical and social sciences, science studies, epistemology, history of technology, cultural and intellectual history. Tresch's research focuses on the cultural history of science. Particular interests include the impact of media technology on epistemology and aesthetics; an anthropological attention to ritual and experience in science and technology; the changing disciplinary arrangements, methods, and effects of the social sciences; relations of science and literature; the shifting limits of the rational and real.
His book, The Romantic Machine traced the entwinement of romanticism and industrialization in France in the years before the revolution of 1848; it won the 2013 History of Science Society's Pfizer Award for Outstanding Book. Focusing on the same period in the USA, his next book will examine the scientific and mechanical obsessions of Edgar Allan Poe. Other current projects include studies of the variable formats and uses of representations of the universe as a whole, or cosmograms; the role played by the sciences in various moments of globalization; and understandings of the self and nature at play in contemporary neuroscience, especially the field of contemplative neuroscience and the Mind and Life organization.
He has held fellowships at Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Huntington Library, and the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library.