Taylor Dysart in tan suede coat, near statues

Taylor Dysart

Allington Dissertation Fellow

Taylor Elizabeth Dysart is a science studies scholar and historian of science, medicine, race, and the beyond-human in modern Latin America. She is currently a PhD candidate in the history and sociology of science department at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, “The Scientist and the Jaguar: Beyond-Human Beings and the Politics of Knowledge in the Amazon,” reconstructs the 20th-century history of ayahuasca, caapí, and yagé—sacred plant-beings—as they became entangled with biomedical and scientific programs in the northwestern Amazon. She is especially interested in the elusive pursuit to transform ayahuasca into a pharmaceutical object and the beyond-human relations, novel epistemologies, and racialized and political identities that emerged through these endeavors.

Before joining the Beckman Center as a long-term fellow, she spent the previous academic year conducting archival research and oral histories in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, with the support of a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation and a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her work has previously received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the American Institute for the History of Pharmacy, and the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies at Penn. She holds an MA in the history of medicine from McGill University and a BA (Honors) in history and psychology from McMaster University.

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