Colonial medicine and scientific travel, early modern and Enlightenment Atlantic World, French Empire, ethnobotany, indigenous and slave medical knowledge
Thomas is a Ph.D. student in the History of Science and Medicine (HSHM) program. His primary interest is the intersection of colonial and indigenous knowledge and medicine in the early modern Atlantic World. Thomas takes special interest in how colonial experiences in the natural world helped shape our modern pharmacopoeia, such as how early modern encounters with poisons and tropical diseases spurred scientific discourse and facilitated the development of numerous new medicines. Just as early moderns sought to discover the secrets of the world amidst exotic New World nature, he uses the history of medicine, race, and botany to help elucidate the unknown pasts that have nonetheless had a major impact on the construction of scientific and medical knowledge up to today.
Thomas graduated in 2020 with honors from Hamilton College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History and French and Francophone Studies. Among the themes explored in his three undergraduate theses were the implications of plant acclimatization practices on early modern conceptions of racial difference and differential corporeality, the importance of herbal medicines and natural poisons in Antillean culture and the Voodoo religion, and the impacts of plant bioprospecting on both local communities and the global pharmacopoeia.