David’s dissertation examines how new scientific knowledge, expertise, practices, and corruption transformed the Atlantic sugar economy at the turn of the 20th century. This work, tentatively titled “An Empire of Purity,” brings together his wider interests in the history of science, economic history, and the history of empire. His dissertation committee is chaired by Professor Dave Kaiser, and includes Professors Harriet Ritvo and Chris Capozzola of MIT and Emma Rothschild of Harvard.
A second project looks at the modern history of doping in sports, especially bicycle racing, and the complex interplay among power, expertise, and athletic performance in a “positive test”— and who suffers for it. In the future he also hopes to work on the relationship between 19th century astronomical and economic theory and new forms of business and scientific organization. Other research has covered such eclectic topics as John Maynard Keynes’s eugenics and the beginnings of the home electrical meter.
From January to September 2012, David conducted research in Glasgow and Puerto Rico, with the generous support of the Social Science Research Council and the National Science Foundation. He spent the 2012-13 academic year, his sixth in the HASTS Program, as a Haas Dissertation Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia.
Watch David's talk, "Fraud, Suspicion, and Control in the 19th-century Atlantic Sugar Trade" which was given at "Beyond Sweetness: New Histories of Sugar in the Early Atlantic World" on October 24-27, 2013. The conference was hosted by the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. David's portion starts at 1:15:30.
history of empire; economic history; history of science; Atlantic history; Caribbean history; commodities; history of economic thought; cycling; doping; science and sport; eugenics