Elaine is a Ph.D. student in the Program in the History of Science, broadly interested in eighteenth and nineteenth century natural history. More specifically, she works on botanical classification systems, women writers, collectors, and illustrators, and the place of material objects and specimens in museum and herbarium collections. Focusing on "reproductively ambiguous" species like butterflies, Cryptogams, and corpse flowers, she examines the interplay between science and aesthetics, sexuality and knowledge-production, and empire and "popular" science.
Before coming to Princeton, Elaine received a B.A. in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, as well as a minor in African Studies, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Past scholarship included investigations into gorilla hunting expeditions to West Africa in the mid-1800s, incorporations of Fang stories of cannibalism and gorilla violence into Western scientific texts, and Alfred Russel Wallace's materialist and evolutionary researches into the spirit world of Victorian seances. Most recently, she has focused on the place of exotic ferns, and especially tree-ferns, in eighteenth and nineteenth century British tropical science.
While at Wisconsin, Elaine worked as Special Collections Assistant at the Lawrence Jacobsen Primate Library, where she developed a digital collection of primates in art and illustration. She also worked at the Oral History Program of the University of Wisconsin Archives. In her non-professional life, Elaine practices taxidermy and writes fiction. Her most recent work can be found in The Public Domain Review and The Appendix.