Erik Linstrum is assistant professor of history and postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan. His research explores imperial history and the history of science in a global context, with an emphasis on the British Empire since 1800. His current project, Making Minds Modern: Experiments with Psychology in the British Empire, traces the wide circulation of innovations in the sciences of mind — laboratory measurements, psychoanalysis, and mental testing — which reshaped British rule in unexpected ways. Drawing on archival collections in Europe, Africa, South Asia, and North America, Making Minds Modern considers what happened when imperial networks globalized Western knowledge, undermining traditional assumptions of imperialism while strengthening the authority of experts to intervene in other cultures.
Educated at Princeton and Harvard, where he received his Ph.D., Linstrum held fellowships with the Institute of Historical Research in London and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard before coming to Michigan. His work has appeared in Past & Present, the Journal of the History of Ideas, and other publications. He has received the Walter D. Love Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies, the FHHS Article Prize from the Forum for History of Human Science, the Bowdoin Prize for best graduate essay at Harvard, and the Gross Prize for best dissertation in the History Department at Harvard. His future research projects include a global history of tear gas and a study of technology and violence in the late British Empire.