Professor of History (Modern Biology and Medicine) at Oregon State University
Period of residence: 
10 octobre 2014 - 9 décembre 2014
3 septembre - 16 décembre 2013 - résidence en partenariat avec le Conseil départemental des Bouches du Rhône
1 septembre - 31 décembre 2011
Research project: 
Scientific and Social Physiology in Context: Parasitology, zoology, and society in France, ca. 1880-1920.
Summary of the research project: 

My research investigates primarily French scientists and social theorists of the French Third Republic (1879-1940). It examines the uses of the terms parasite and parasitism and reviews definitional disputes over the nature of parasitism which accelerated in the last half of the nineteenth century.

The term parasite, which in antiquity connoted common dining activity free of harm to the participating organisms, acquired new valences as biologists studied lichens and organisms where parasites and hosts seemed to co-adapt and sometimes merge into one other. Biologists like Pierre-Joseph Van Beneden added additional precision to the term, and while no consensus was achieved by the 1920s, the term as used in biology came to imply that parasites caused harm to their hosts and that parasitism was largely, if not exclusively, an inter-specific relationship. Biologists including Claude Bernard, Rudolf Virchow, and Edmond Perrier pondered the nature of parts and wholes on the cellular level, and some of their ideas, principally those of the neo-Lamarckian Perrier, were incorporated into the social thought of the era while France tired to integrate its colonies into a Greater France and was beset by strikes and anarchist activity.

The appropriation of biological concepts by promoters of Solidarism, a theory of social cohesion infused with organicism, was selective as regards parasitism where it was applied to human to human relationships and thus violated the inter-specific consensus established by biologists.

Pertaining to the residency: 

M. Osborne, The Emergence of Tropical Medecine in France, Michael A. Osborne, ed. University of Chicago Press (March 24, 2014).

M. Osborne, R. Fogarty, « Medical Climatology in France : The Persistence of Neo-Hippocratic Ideas in the First Half of the Twentieth Century », Bull. Hist. Med (86), 2012 :543-563.

« Colonial science, contagion and the imaginarium of Marseille », Perspectives (6), publication du RFIEA, printemps 2012.


Curriculum Vitae: