Tomasson, Julia

Field: Early Modern/History of Science and Technology; Advisor: Matthew Jones; Year: 2019

Julia C. Tomasson studies the history of science, philosophy, mathematics, and information technologies across early modern Eurasia and North Africa.  

Tomasson is interested in how ideas and ideals about nature, power, Reason, (ir)rationality, and the Self vary and move across time and cultures and the ways in which these ideas get crystallized in objects, practices, people, and formal and informal knowledge systems.

Tomasson’s work explores the changing epistemic categories and cognitive practices of disparate agents in early modernity, particularly the ways in which the intimate relationship between knower and object were transformed by the many technical, social, and larger epistemological changes in the premodern period. More broadly, she wants to understand how scientific ideals shape the working practices of scientists and how scientific and technological advancements have changed (and continue to change) how we think of ourselves.


Tomasson holds a A.B. from the Program in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine (HiPSS) at the University of Chicago. Her graduate work at Columbia University has been supported by numerous fellowships, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Classical Arabic).

Teaching Experience: At Columbia, Tomasson has been a teaching assistant and guest lecturer for the following courses: “Scientific Revolution in Western Europe” (Matthew Jones); “The Atlantic Slave Trade” (Christopher Brown); and “Origins and Meanings” (Brian Greene, Physics Department).