Dr. Waddell is an Assistant Professor in Lyman Briggs College (75%) and the Department of History (25%). He received his Ph.D. in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from the Johns Hopkins University in 2006. As an historian of ideas specializing in Europe of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, he studies the complex interactions between science, medicine, and culture, particularly religion and esotericism. His first book, Jesuit Science and the End of Nature’s Secrets, appeared in 2015 with Ashgate, and examines the close ties between scientific innovation and spiritual practice among several highly-placed Jesuit intellectuals in the seventeenth century.
He also has an interest in theories of natural magic and related disciplines from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, and in his next major project—tentatively entitled, The Devil’s Cure: Magical Medicine and the Problem of Plausibility in the Seventeenth Century—he will explore the infamous medical remedy known as the weapon salve, which was reputed to heal wounds over great distances when applied not to the wound itself but to the weapon that had caused it, or to traces of the patient’s blood.
In 2008, Dr. Waddell worked as an historical consultant on a traveling exhibition produced by the National Library of Medicine of the NIH: Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine. The exhibition, which has toured throughout the US, Canada, and the UK since 2009, explores important ideas in the history of science and medicine through the Harry Potter novels. It also includes a resource for post-secondary instructors who might want to incorporate some of this history into their own classes.
Dr. Waddell teaches a wide range of courses on topics that include European intellectual history before 1800, the historical interactions between science and religion, cyborgism and technobiology, and the relationship between gender, race, and science. In Spring of 2016 he will teach a new course on magic, witchcraft, and the occult in pre-modern Europe.
LB 133: Food in Modern American Culture
LB 332: Cyborg Nation: Technobiology and the Rise of Transhumanism
LB 333: Magic, Science, and Religion
LB 492: Gender and the Rise of Modern Science