Rachel Elder, PhD



Research Areas: 
History of Medicine; Health and the Body; History of Technology; Disability History; History of Neurology and Psychology; U.S. Gender and Sexuality

Rachel is a historian of medicine, technology, and American culture. She received her Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Her current book project, Secrecy and Safety: A Cultural History of Seizures in Mid-Twentieth Century America, explores how epilepsy was managed in an era of rising yet unrealized expectations for medical control. The project traces broader themes of passing and invisible disability, as well as shifting categories of social membership, public safety, and bodily control. She is also working on a project that explores the clinical roots of neuroscience and the role of patients in constructing knowledge about the brain.

Dr. Elder’s research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Mary Louise Nickerson Fellowship in Neuro History, a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Prior to her position at Yale, she was a postdoctoral scholar-fellow in the History and Social Studies of Medicine program at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the recipient of the 2017 Pressman-Burroughs Career Development Award fromt he American Association for the History of Medicine for outstanding research in the history of twentieth-century medicine.

Education & Training

PhD University of Pennsylvania (2015)

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Contact Info

Rachel Elder, PhD
Office Location
HGSHall of Graduate Studies
320 York Street, Rm 324

New Haven, CT 06511
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