Early Careerist Profile – Thomas Darragh

1. How did you become interested in history of science?

During my time as a master’s student, my focus was on US intellectual and transnational history. As I was studying at the University of Strathclyde, I became interested in the transnational exchange of scientific ideologies between the US and the rest of the world. When the time came for me to start my Ph.D. work, I decided to focus on the exchange of ideas between scientists and how these ideas enter into the public sphere. Currently, I am focusing on how scientists define the difference between humans and non-human animals and how these definitions affect racial ideas.

Thomas Darragh, Central Michigan University

Thomas Darragh, Central Michigan University

2. How did you get involved in the GECC?

I attended the CV review workshop during the 2013 HSS meeting in Boston. During the workshop, I meet Sandy Clark, who was the CV review coordinator. I share his passion for working with other graduate students, and he encouraged me to attend the GECC meeting. The opportunity to run this year’s CV workshop was open, and I decided that it would be a great opportunity to work with the HSS.

3. What has your experience been like during your term?

Working with the other members of the GECC is a wonderful experience. It is a great feeling to realize how much effort is going into making the 2014 HSS meeting a success. The commitment to helping graduate and young professionals have the best experience possible, during the meeting, is easy to underestimate. It is amazing how much the HSS and GECC boards care about helping graduate students and other young professionals.

4. What is something you have learned about the HSS through being an officer that others members may not know about the society?

It is easy for us to forget how many hours go into planning an event as big as the HSS. What is amazing is how many members are willing to make an effort to ensure that the newest members of HSS have a terrific experience. For example, the number of people willing to donate their time to the mentorship and CV review programs is amazing.

5. What is one of your current toughest professional challenges?

Currently, I am getting ready to defend my dissertation, and I am applying for jobs. Both are full time jobs. Keeping focused and not being discouraged is always a challenge at this stage of graduate life. It is too easy for young professionals to forget that they are not alone in having a feeling of not knowing what their future holds. Being a member of HSS has helped to remind me that the ups and downs of being Ph.D. candidate is a shared experience that we all must go through.

Thomas Darragh was born and raised in Michigan. He went to Michigan State University for his undergraduate, where he studied History, International Relations, and Political Theory. He holds a MA in History from Central Michigan University and a MSc in Historical Studies from the University of Strathclyde. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in History at Central Michigan University and an instructor for Central Michigan University’s Global Campus program.

His fields of study are America in the World, Transnational, and the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. His dissertation – Civilized Animals, Savage Peoples: The Human, the Animal, and the Formation of Transnational Consciousness – looks at how various theories about the difference between humans and non-human animals have changed the way Western society has defined itself in relation to other peoples.