Kathryn Lankford

A convert to history, I am broadly interested in the interweavings, tensions, and negotiations that exist among science, medicine, and human experience.  My current research examines clinical trials of contraceptives in Puerto Rico during the mid-twentieth century.

My project recognizes the multitude of actors, agents, and agendas that shape the creation of new medicines. To challenge the trope of medicine as an exceptional and exclusive realm, I focus on the ground-level experiences of trial-participants (clinicians, patients, and organizations). In so doing, I hope to illuminate the intersections of science and medicine, Puerto Rican society and culture, imperialism, gender and sexuality, race, and how each constituted the rest in the mid-twentieth century.

Before entering the history doctoral program at MSU, I received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at the University of West Georgia. At UWG, I acted as a student research-assistant for more than two years in Mautusi Mitra’s lab. Mitra Lab investigates the molecular components of eukaryotic photosynthesis and pigment synthesis in the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. It was in Mitra Lab that I discovered my love for research and first began to ponder science and medicine’s relationship with culture and society.

Advisor Naoko Wake

Committee Lisa Fine, Edward Murphy, and Helen Veit

Fields History of Science and Medicine, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Modern U.S. History

Recent Awards

Harry Brown Graduate Fellowship in American History, 2016

Graduate Research Scholarship from the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 2016

Madison Kuhn Award For Best Pre-Dissertation Research Project in U.S. History, 2015

Somers Excellence in Teaching Award for IAH Graduate Teaching Assistants, 2015

Graduate Teaching Assistant Appointments

HST 420: History of Sexuality; Fall 2016

IAH 201: U.S. and the World, 1880 to Present, From Isolation to Global Community; Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Fall 2015.

IAH 203: Latin America and the World, Tensions of Empire and Nation; Fall 2014.

IAH 206: Self, Society, and Technology, Nature and Nurture: A History of Ideas;  Spring 2015.

IAH 206: Self, Society, and Technology; Spring 2016

ISS 335: National Diversity and Change in the U.S.: Sex Research and Social Science; Summer 2015 and Summer 2016

LB 332: Technology and Culture, Cyborg Nation: Technobiology and the Rise of Transhumanism (Honors Section); Spring 2016


Year in Program: 4

Language: Spanish

Educational Background: B.S., Biology w/minor in History, University of West Georgia, 2013

Office Hours: 1PM-2PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 120 Old Horticulture

Email: lankfor4@msu.edu

Kathryn’s Curriculum Vitae

Birth Control Pills