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Faculty Fellow

Emily Kern

Assistant Professor in History and in the College University of Chicago


Emily Kern is a historian of science, with a specialty in the intellectual and cultural history of anthropology, evolution, and the life sciences. Her research and teaching focus on the relationship between the production of scientific knowledge and the production of global political power in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her current book project, The Cradle of Humanity: Science and the Making of African Origins, explores how the African continent became the “cradle of humankind” and the pre-eminent site for human evolutionary research that it is today. Kern is also co-editing the forthcoming volume New Earth Histories with Alison Bashford (UNSW) and Adam Bobbette (Glasgow). Kern earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD at Princeton University in 2018. Her dissertation won the 2019 DHST dissertation prize from the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. Before coming to Chicago, she was a postdoctoral research fellow in the New Earth Histories Research Program at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.