Jennifer Tucker

Associate Professor of History Wesleyan University

Jennifer Tucker received her BA in Human Biology (Neuropsychology of Vision, Perception, and Memory) from Stanford University, her master’s in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge, and her Ph.D. in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from Johns Hopkins University.  She currently is Associate Professor of History at Wesleyan University, and a member of the core faculty of the Science in Society Program and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.  Her research interests include British history during the long nineteenth century, the history of science and technology, Victorian visual culture, history and theory of photography, early science film, feminist science and technology studies, and the visual culture of Victorian environmental law.  Her first book, Nature Exposed: Photography as Eyewitness in Victorian Science (Johns Hopkins University, 2006, released in paperback, 2013) explores the history of debates over photography and visual objectivity in Victorian science and popular culture from planetary astronomy and meteorology to bacteriology and spiritualism. She has published numerous articles and essays on subjects ranging from the historical relationship of law and image, visual history and the archive, photographic evidence in Victorian law, street photography, news pictures, the relationship between gender and genre in nineteenth-century European scientific and medical illustration, the significance of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in the history of photography, graphic methods, and science cinema from 1831 to 1940, and the significance of the railway station in the creation of photographic networks. She was guest editor of the special theme issue of History and Theory on “Photography and Historical Interpretation” (Dec. 2009). As a US-UK Fulbright Scholar in the History of Art at the University of York she is completing her current book-length project, “Identity after Photography: The Great Tichborne Trial in the Victorian Visual Imagination.” This study excavates hundreds of photographs, engravings, and other visual materials that circulated around the time of the high-profile trial in order to show both the impact of new nineteenth-century media upon the conduct of legal proceedings and some of the factors that led to the trial’s emergence as a dominant subject of Victorian visual culture. Her next major project, “Science Against Industry: Photographic Technologies and the Visual Politics of Pollution Reform,” which she will undertake at the College of the Environment and (May/June) as a Visiting Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University in 2014-15, traces the historical roots of the use of visual evidence in environmental science and pollution reform, focusing especially on visual representation in chemical climatology and the presentation of visual exhibits in Victorian courtroom debates over air and river pollution. She serves in a number of editorial roles including editor of the “Image, Technology, History” feature of History and Technology journal, co-editor of a new book series on photography and history published by Bloomsbury Academic Press (London), and member of theRadical History Review editorial collective. Her research and teaching have been supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Carol A. Baker Memorial Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Teaching and Research, SSRC and ACLS Grant, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Summer Research Stipend, Clark Art Institute Visiting Research Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution Research Fellowship, NSF Grant, Johns Hopkins University Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a British Marshall Scholarship. In 2009-2010, she was in residence as a Hixon-Riggs Visiting Professor of History and Science/Technology Studies at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California and in 2012-2013 she served as Interim Director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. Collaborative events she has helped organize include “Eye of History: The Camera as Witness” ( and “Science a Moving Image” ( and the 2014 AALAC Symposium, “Visual Studies in the Liberal Arts,” held at Smith College. Her op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe.