Karen Rader

Professor, STS and twentieth-century United States
(804) 828-9642

Karen Rader studies the intellectual, cultural, and social history of the modern life sciences in the United States. She holds degrees in Biology (B.S.) from Loyola College (now Loyola University) in Maryland, and History & Philosophy of Science (M.A. and Ph.D.) from Indiana University.  She has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships -- from the Mellon Foundation (1995-96), the Davis Center for Historical Studies (“Animals and Society”) at Princeton (1996-1997), and the National Science Foundation.  Formerly the Marilyn Simpson Chair of Science and Society (1998-2006) at Sarah Lawrence College, she also held visiting professorships at the University of Oslo and the Institute for Advanced Study, Lancaster University, UK.

Her most recent book, co-authored with Victoria E.M. Cain, is Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2015) which was awarded the 2015 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division F New Scholar’s Award and the 2015 History of Education Society annual book prize for the best book in the field.  She co-edited (with Liv Emma Thorsen and Adam Dodd) Animals on Display: The Creaturely in Museums, Zoos, and Natural History (Penn State University Press, 2014).  Her first book, Making Mice: Standardizing Animals for American Biomedical Research, 1900-1955 (Princeton University Press, 2004) was selected as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book.  In 2013 she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Section L (History and Philosophy of Science), cited for “for distinguished contributions to the history of the modern life sciences and for exceptional service to the discipline of the history of science.”