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Greg Eghigian

Greg Eghigian

Professor of History

Former Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program (2007-2012)

212 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. PhD, University of Chicago, 1993
  2. MA, University of Chicago, 1985
  3. BA, Bard College, 1983


A historian of both the human sciences and modern Europe, I am particularly interested in how societies grapple with the questions and problems associated with modernity through the vehicles of science, technology, and medicine. My research has largely focused on the nature of power and the relationship between the state, science, and medicine in understanding and managing things such as disability, deviance, criminality, mental illness, and security. And I have recently finished a book examining the science and medicine of rehabilitating convicts in 20th century Germany. I also regularly write articles and present papers on the general history of madness and psychiatry.  My teaching and research are motivated by an interest in making sense of the enormous promise, the often intractable challenges, and the ethical dilemmas facing modern states, societies, and individuals. My present research project is a global history of the phenomena of UFO sightings and claims of alien contact.

Recent Publications:

The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health (Routledge, 2017)
The Corrigible and the Incorrigible:  Science, Medicine, and the Convict in Twentieth-Century Germany (University of Michigan Press, 2015)
“Making UFOs Make Sense: Ufology, Science, and the History of Their Mutual Misunderstanding,” Public Understanding of Science, 26 (2017): 612-626.
"A Drifting Concept for an Unruly Menace: A History of Psychopathy in Germany," Isis, 106 (2015): 283-309.
"'A Transatlantic Buzz': Flying Saucers, Extraterrestrials, and America in Postwar Germany," Journal of Transatlantic Studies, 12 (2014): 282-303.
From Madness to Mental Health:  Psychiatric Disorder and its Treatment in Western Civilization (Rutgers University Press, 2010)

Awards and Service:

Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum (2017)
NASA and American Historical Association Fellow in Aerospace History (2016-2017)
American Philosophical Society, Library Residential Fellowship (2015)
Editorial Board and History Section Editor, Psychiatric Times

Recent Courses:

HIST 103 - The History of Madness, Mental Illness, and Psychiatry
HIST 124 - History of Western Medicine
Hist 204- History of Monsters, Aliens, and the Supernatural 
Hist 524 - Deviance, Crime, and Madness in Modern Europe: Social Theory and History

Research Interests:

History of the human sciences; History of madness; History of the paranormal; History of crime and punishment; 20th Century history; Modern European history

Areas of Specialization:

Modern Europe: