Mark Waddell

Mark Waddell

Dr. Waddell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History (25%) and the Lyman Briggs College (75%). He received his Ph.D. in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from the Johns Hopkins University in 2006. His research is focused primarily in the seventeenth century, and explores the complex interplay between religion and science in Europe in the wake of the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Reform. He is currently at work on a book (tentatively entitled, The Crisis of Uncertainty: Jesuit Science in the Seventeenth Century) which examines the links between scientific works written by Jesuit authors and elements of their unique spiritual and meditative traditions.

He also has an interest in theories of natural magic and related disciplines from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, and has devoted considerable study to the infamous unguentum armarium, or weapon salve, which was reputed to heal wounds over great distances when applied not to the wound itself, but to the weapon which had caused it. In the future, he hopes to pursue a growing interest in natural history and collecting in the early modern period, as well as an abiding interest in the intersections between science and artistic representations of the natural world.

Dr. Waddell recently worked as a historical consultant on a traveling exhibition produced by the National Library of Medicine of the NIH: Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine.  The exhibition, which will be touring the country until 2012, explores the history of science and medicine in the Harry Potter novels, and Dr. Waddell has also created a resource for post-secondary instructors who might want to incorporate some of this history into their own classes.

Selected Publications

Waddell, Mark A. 2010. “A Theater of the Unseen: Athanasius Kircher’s Museum in Rome,” in A World Such As This I Dreamed: Cosmogony in the Early Modern Mind, ed. Allison B. Kavey (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan).

Waddell, Mark A. 2010. “Magic and Artifice in the Collection of Athanasius Kircher.”  Endeavour, 34(1): 30-34.

Waddell, Mark A. 2006. “The World, As It Might Be: Iconography and Probabilism in the Mundus subterraneus of Athanasius Kircher.” Centaurus, 48(1): 3-23.

Waddell, Mark A. 2003. “The Perversion of Nature: Johannes Baptista van Helmont, the Society of Jesus, and the Magnetic Cure of Wounds.” Canadian Journal of History, 38(2): 179-197.

Position: Assistant Professor

Field: Early Modern, Intellectual, Religious, Science/Medicine

Region: Europe & Russia

Office: 244 Old Horticulture


Phone: (517) 884-4922