I most recently wrote about being a historian living through historic pandemic times for Feminist Voices, whose goal is to create an archive of feelings from COVID-19.
The bulk of my writing focuses on the business adoption of personality tests. I aim to understand, explain, and (sometimes) critique the way that psychological tools—from personality tests to diversity training seminars—are used in business, with an eye towards fostering diversity and inclusion and challenging inequalities.
In the wake of the public attention on Cambridge Analytica’s use of personality tests, I wrote about the long corporate history of personality tests for Slate and The Conversation , in a piece that was picked up by the National Post.
My dissertation, “Personality, Incorporated,” traces a history of corporate personality testing from the 1960s to the 1990s. Its full text is available open-access online.
My article, “Temperamental Workers,” published in History of Psychology, uses a case study of a now-forgotten 1930s personality test, the Humm-Wadsworth Temperament Scale, to tell a pre-history of “emotional intelligence” as a valued trait in business.
COMPUTERS & SOCIETY
I write about the interactions of technology and society, especially focusing on the intersections of AI computation with psychology.
Funded by the Association for Computing Machinery History Fellowship, I wrote about the ways that current concerns about fairness in AI are echoed in the history of computerized psychological testing for Annals of the History of Computing. A version of this paper was also published in the proceedings of ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency.
My piece, “From the Intuitive Human to the Intuitive Computer,” was published by Technology’s Stories as part of a panel awarded the Best Early Career Panel at the Society for the History of Technology.
I spoke to the Globe & Mail about the use of AI-assisted hiring technology.
WORK, MOTIVATION, AND ‘DO WHAT YOU LOVE’I dug into the enduring legacy of Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” focusing on its influence in business, in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.For Aeon, I connected the hierarchy of needs to broader social ideas about the work ethic and the hidden darkside of “do what you love.”I wrote about management, creativity, and gender in my article, “Managing Intuition,” published in Business History Review as part of an invited roundtable on postwar American management.I wrote a guest post for Hidden Persuaders, a blog on the history of Cold War psychology, which examined how workplace motivational psychologists faced charges of “brainwashing.”
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
I wrote about diversity training in The Conversation, arguing that attention to the history of diversity training can provide important lessons for contemporary organizations.
I was interviewed about diversity training for Prospect Magazine and on Moment of Truth radio show.
I spoke to Innovate Niagara’s Women in STEM series about the long history of women in STEM, as well as the continued barriers to women’s participation in the field.
MUSEUMS & ARCHIVES
As part of my involvement with the University of Toronto Scientific Instrument Collection, I wrote about their fascinating collection of psychological tests for their online exhibit.
After researching in the Hagley business history archives, I wrote about my findings in a piece called “The Manager as Motivator.”
One reply on “Writing + Research”
Just read your Aeon article on Maslow. I liked its conclusion. “looking at social and economic structures governing the work”.
Is this your area of interest? Have you worked in this area further?