Austen Van Burns
Austen Van Burns studies how physicists, mathematicians, logicians, and linguistic philosophers represented and conveyed knowledge during the rise of European fascism. She focuses on members of the Unity of Science movement who, despite conditions which hobbled their scholarship and endangered their lives, did not emigrate before the outbreak of the Second World War. Although they often disagreed on specifics, members of the movement shared a commitment to the science of clear thinking, a way of understanding the building blocks of knowledge that they believed to be inherently anti-fascist. Her dissertation takes this commitment seriously, asking how scientific representations transferred knowledge across the era’s political and professional borders.
Austen earned a BA with Honors in Classical Studies from Swarthmore College. After graduating, she taught English in Germany as a Fulbright grantee and then worked in the tech industry. She earned her MA in History at Princeton in the spring of 2022, passing her general examinations with distinction.
For the academic year 2023-2024, she is a visiting researcher at the Humboldt University in Berlin.