Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences (2018–20)
PhD'18 (history of science) University of Chicago



Research Interests

Early modern science; early modern Britain and the Atlantic world; natural history; environmental history; alchemy; astrology and astro-meteorology; cornucopianism and utopianism; pre-Linnaean taxonomy; science and religion; deep history; the anthropocene and climate change in historical context


A Vital Matter: Alchemy, Cornucopianism, and Agricultural Improvement in Seventeenth-Century England


Since 2011, Justin Niermeier-Dohoney has studied at the University of Chicago PhD program in history and is associated with the Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine. He received an AB in history and English literature with minors in medieval studies and the history and philosophy of science from Indiana University Bloomington in 2004, an AM in history from Clemson University in 2011, and an AM in history from the University of Chicago in 2013. He has taught history courses of his own design at the University of Chicago, and, in 2016, he joined Indiana University Southeast as a part-time adjunct lecturer in the honors program. His teaching includes the history of Western civilization, the history of science from the ancient world to the modern era, Francis Bacon, nature and empire, utopianism, and the extraterrestrial life debate.

Justin's research focuses on the history of early modern science, broadly construed, and is organized around the theme of the changing relationship between humanity and the natural world. His dissertation examines the influence of alchemy and vitalist matter theory on agricultural improvement projects and the incipient life sciences in seventeenth-century England and its colonial sphere. Other research and teaching interests include natural and environmental history, the influence of alchemy on cornucopian and utopian ideology, astrology, astro-meteorology, the history of pre-Linnaean taxonomy and biological systematics, science in global imperial context, and early modern theories about climate and climate change. Like many historians of science, his interests are often more thematic than geographic or chronological, and his interest in early modern climate theory has led him to think more deeply about modern climate-change policy, ecological sustainability, the anthropocene in historical context, deep history, and the history of science in a global setting.

Outside of the academy, Justin has professional experience as a research editor, percussion instructor, personal tutor, essay grader, and project assistant and curriculum developer for an educational nonprofit organization.

Justin lives in Corydon, Indiana, with his wife Carly, his sons Wyatt and Emerson, and his cat Ella. When not involved with his graduate studies, Justin enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, antiquing, hiking, reading (and sometimes writing) science fiction, drinking craft beers, and cheering on the Cubs, Blackhawks, Colts, and Hoosiers.


—Historians Garner Teaching Prizes
—History Students Awarded 47 Research Grants in 2017–18
Dissertation Awards for 35 students in 2016–17

Teaching Fellows in the Social Science is a competitive two-year program designed to enhance the pedagogical skills and extend research training for recent graduates of PhD programs in the social sciences at the University of Chicago. Teaching fellows demonstrate excellence in their original scholarship and teaching and are selected by a faculty committee.

2018–19 Teaching

HIST 13001 History of European Civilization 1 (Win 19)