I always get quizzical looks from folks when I explain that I teach both French and the History of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. But once they understand my background, it ends up making perfect sense.
It was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I did my Ph.D. in French Studies, that I discovered a passion that has shaped my work as an academic and a writer. UW is home to top programs in the History of Science/Medicine, and I completed a graduate minor in the field.
Then, I landed a tenure-track position at Vanderbilt, where interdisciplinary studies are genuinely valued. And thanks to this, I have been able to teach and write about the History of Medicine and French history and culture ever since.
I teach courses on the History of Early Medicine, Medicine and Literature, as well as courses on early French literature and culture. My research has been funded by the Newberry Library (Chicago), the Francis C. Wood Institute for the History of Medicine, the Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine, and Vanderbilt’s Research Scholar Fellowship program.
I’ve written two books on the history of medicine: Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution and Pregnant Fictions: Childbirth and the Fairy Tale in Early-Modern France. The next book is in the works as we speak and focuses on science and terror in the French Revolution.
I met my husband, Jon Hamilton, when we were both dorm RAs at Indiana. We now live in Nashville with our young daughter and a lively dog named Lucky Shakespeare. My daughter loved the name Shakespeare; I tried to explain to her that a professor with a dog named after a great playwright was just too pretentious…and weird.
So the family settled on Lucky, whose own claim to fame is getting kicked out of obedience school. Thanks to hours of private lessons, he now sits on command…sometimes.