Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
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Alison Grace Laurence
Thinking Matters (or TM) Lecturer
BioAlison Laurence is a Lecturer in the Thinking Matters program. She received her PhD from MIT’s interdisciplinary program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) in 2019. A cultural and environmental historian, she specializes in the study of nature on display. Her dissertation, “Afterlives of Extinction: The Politics of Display in the Modern United States,” traced how popular exhibitions transformed dinosaurs and other creatures of deep time from scientific specimens to consumer objects, artifacts of everyday American life, and usable pasts that serve the present. Alison’s work has appeared in the Science Museum Group Journal, the History of Anthropology Newsletter, and the Anthropocene Curriculum. She holds a BA in Classics from Brown University and an MA in History and Public History from the University of New Orleans.
During the 2019-20 academic year, she is teaching "Stories Everywhere," "100,000 Years of War," and "Preventing Human Extinction."
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsSPECIALIZATION: 20 - 21st century Latin American Literatures and Cultures; Creative Writing; Translation; Poetry
Katherine J Lennard
Thinking Matters Fellow
BioKatherine Lennard is a cultural historian working to understand how objects and images shaped the ways that Americans understood race, gender, and other categories of identity in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her research and teaching practices both center on questions of how individuals, situated in a particular time and place, understand their position in larger social, economic, and political systems through their engagement with consumer goods and the material world. She received a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2017), an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a B.F.A. in Costume Design from The Theatre School of DePaul University. She has received funding from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Mellon Foundation; The Institute for Humanities, and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, both at the University of Michigan; and a Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) program of Imagining America.
Her current manuscript project is a material history of Ku Klux Klan regalia in the early twentieth century, with a particular focus on the industrial manufacture and national distribution of this powerful tool of racial violence. Outside of work, Katherine is passionate about contemporary art, collecting rocks, and finding new ways to cook all the vegetables in her CSA. She also does freelance historical research for costume designers working in television and film.
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsSPECIALIZATION: Communication Pedagogy; Visual Communication; Presentation Skills