Wesleyan portrait of Jennifer  Tucker

Jennifer Tucker

Associate Professor of History

Allbritton Center, 221

Chair, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

1 Vine Street,

Associate Professor, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

1 Vine Street,

Associate Professor, Environmental Studies

1 Vine Street,

Associate Professor, Science in Society

1 Vine Street,


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BA Stanford University
MPHIL Cambridge University
PHD Johns Hopkins University

Jennifer Tucker

Tucker's areas of expertise include: modern British social and cultural history; science, technology, gender, and popular culture; history and theory of photography, including legal conditions of photography; Victorian environmental law; photography, privacy and publicity; and facial identification and surveillance.

The historical relationship of law and image, visual history and the archive, photographic evidence in Victorian law, street photography, news pictures, British film and labor history, gender, health and technology, the relationship between gender and genre in nineteenth-century European scientific and medical illustration, environmental history and visual studies, the significance of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in the history of Victorian visual culture, graphic methods, and science cinema from 1831 to 1940, and the significance of rail transportation in the creation of photographic networks are the subjects of several articles and book chapters.

Tucker's first book, Nature Exposed: Photography as Eyewitness in Victorian Science (Johns Hopkins University, 2006, released in paperback, 2013) explores the history of debates over photography and visual objectivity in Victorian science and popular culture from planetary astronomy and meteorology to bacteriology and spiritualism. Her second book-length project, “Identity after Photography: The Great Tichborne Trial in the Victorian Visual Imagination," nearing completion, excavates hundreds of photographs, engravings, and other visual materials that circulated around the time of the high-profile Tichborne trial in order to show both the impact of new nineteenth-century media upon the conduct of legal proceedings, and some of the factors that led to its emergence as a landmark event in Victorian visual culture.

She was the guest editor of the 2009 issue of History and Theory, "Photography and Historical Interpretation" and currently co-editing, with Simon Schaffer and David Serlin, a forthcoming issue of Radical History Review on "Radicalizing Histories of Science and Technology."

She is currently working on two new book-length projects. One, titled “Science Against Industry: Photographic Technologies and the Visual Politics of Pollution Reform,” traces the historical roots of the use of visual evidence in environmental science and pollution reform, focusing especially on visual representation in chemical climatology and the presentation of visual exhibits in Victorian courtroom debates over air and river pollution. The other, titled “Caught on Camera,” which is funded by a 2016 NEH Public Scholar Award, is a book-length study about the legal and cultural history of photographic detection and evasion.

Publication of research in a variety of media and museum formats include op-eds in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inside Sources, the Boston Globe ("Facial Recognition Goes Way Back," "What Our Most Famous Evolutionary Cartoon Gets Wrong," and "What the Clean Air Act can teach us about reducing gun violence"), a radio essay about the role of photography in the famous Tichborne Trial for BBC Radio 3, and appearance on The Colin McEnroe Show (WNPR) ("The Scramble: Changing the Gun Conversation").

She is editor of the "Image, Technology and History" feature of History and Technology journal and serves on the Editorial Collective of Radical History Review journal. She has been the recipient of several resaerch awards including fellowships from the British Marshall Foundation fellowship, Social Science Research Commission and American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation,  National Endowment Humanities Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution, Fulbright Fellowship in the History of Art at the University of York in the UK, and Humanities Research Centre fellowship at the Australian National University. She is honorary Senior Research Scholar at the Photographic History Research Centre in Leciester and currently is a Senior Research Fellow at the Bickbeck Institute for the Humanities in London.

Ph.D. in the Dept of History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at Johns Hopkins University, MPhil in the Dept of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College), and BA in Human Biology (Neuropsychology of Vision, Perception, and Memory) at Stanford University.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Spring 2017:  Wednesdays 1:15-2:30


Spring 2018
HIST 286 - 01
Photography and Law