Kate Sohasky

Lecturer, Science and Technology Studies

Kate Sohasky is a historian of ideas. Her research lies at the intersection between the history of science and politics, ideas and institutions, in the United States and the world. She focuses especially on questions of race, class, gender and equality in the history of eugenics, psychology, and genetics.. Her background in United States history, the history of science, and political science, and her professional archival experience, inform her interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching.

Her current book project, a transnational history of mass intelligence testing, explores the ways in which national surveys of intelligence served to perpetuate race science and eugenics in the United States and Europe. Historians have long argued that race science dissipated after its discrediting by scientists in the postwar years; however, Sohasky’s research demonstrates that mass intelligence testing in fact continued and perpetuated race science theories late into the twentieth century, despite professional efforts to extinguish them.
Sohasky’s next project, a cultural history of allergies, will build and expand on her research interests in the social and legal dimensions of the history of medicine. This project will contextualize current cultural perceptions of allergies within the broader history of the science of immunobiology to explore the ways in which cultural forces were equally responsible as scientific advances for the legitimization of food allergies as a major medical issue in recent history.

Her most recent work reflects her interest in the history of eugenics and psychology in law and society. Her article on the mental classification, “defective delinquency,” in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, highlights the unexplored yet instrumental role of borderline mental classifications, in conjunction with the rise of psychometrics, in the construction of legal standards of intellectual normalcy. She has also contributed a chapter, forthcoming from MIT Press, to a volume on the history of Vienna’s Biologische Versuchsanstalt, which explores the transnational dimensions of eugenics and its implications for law and society through an investigation of the transnational exchanges between Vienna and the United States.


Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, 2017
M.A., Johns Hopkins, 2013
B.A., History, University of California, Berkeley, 2009

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