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Justin Niermeier-Dohoney

Assistant Professor | College of Psych. and Liberal Arts - School of Arts and Communication

Contact Information

Personal Overview

Justin Niermeier-Dohoney is an Assistant Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the Florida Institute of Technology with broad research interests in the history of the early modern sciences in Britain, Europe, and the Atlantic world; environmental history; and Anthropocene studies. His most recent research projects focus on the role of alchemy in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century agrarian reform movements; the relationship between astrology and meteorology in early modern theories regarding the possibility of global climate change; the intersections of European imperial expansion, capitalism, and trade in chemical, botanical, and medical materials; and the historical origins of ecology, sustainability, and environmental management.

He received BA degrees in History and English Literature from Indiana University (2004), MA degrees in History from Clemson University (2011) and Social Sciences from the University of Chicago (2013), and a PhD in the History of Science from the University of Chicago (2018). Before joining FIT, he was an adjunct instructor in Humanities and Social Sciences in the Honors Program at Indiana University Southeast and held postdoctoral positions in the Department of History and the College at the University of Chicago and in Department III at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany.

Raised in southern Indiana--with moves to mid-Michigan, upstate South Carolina, Chicago, northwest Indiana, London, and Berlin--Justin now lives in Melbourne, Florida, with his marvelous wife Carly and their extraordinary sons Wyatt and Emerson. When he is not involved with his scholarly work, he enjoys spending time with his family; cooking (especially Cajun/Creole, Mediterranean, and French country-style); collecting Roman coins, busts, indigenous American artifacts, old books, and animal skulls; hiking; reading (and occasionally writing) science fiction; drinking craft beers, and cheering on the Cubs, Blackhawks, Colts, and Hoosiers.

Educational Background

PhD University of Chicago (2018)

MA University of Chicago (2013)

MA Clemson University (2011)

BA Indiana University, Bloomington (2004)

Professional Experience

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department III, “Artifacts, Action, and Knowledge”

(September 2020-August 2023)


University of Chicago

Postdoctoral Social Sciences Teaching Fellow in the Department of History and the College

(September 2018-September 2020)


Indiana University Southeast

Adjunct Instructor of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Honors Program

(August 2016-September 2018)

Current Courses

HUM 2051 Civilization 1: Ancient through Medieval

HUM 3351 History of Science: Ancient through Medieval

HUM 3352 History of Science: Renaissance through the Present

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

“Stewardship and Dominion in the Age of Geoengineering: Post-Baconian Ecological Ethics Reconsidered” (accepted with revisions at Environmental Humanities)

“Transmuting the Soil: Marl and Chymical Theories of Soil Fertility in Early Modern England,” in Toward an Early Modern Global History of Soil: Sciences, Practices, and Materialities, 1350-1750, ed. Justin Niermeier-Dohoney and Aleksandar Shopov (forthcoming, Leiden: Brill, ca. late 2024)

“A Utopian Model of Order: Imperial Skepticism and Local Ecologies in Nehemiah Grew’s Political Economy of Nature,” (forthcoming at Centaurus, Winter 2023/Spring 2024) 

“‘Rusticall Chymistry’: Alchemy, Saltpeter Projects, and Experimental Fertilizers in Seventeenth-Century English Agriculture,” History of Science, Vol. 60, no. 4 (2022): 546-574.

“‘To Multiply Corn Two-Hundred-Fold’: The Alchemical Augmentation of Wheat Seeds in Seventeenth-Century English Husbandry,” Nuncius: Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science, Vol. 37, no. 2 (2022): 284-314.

“‘Sapiens Dominabitur Astris’: A Diachronic Survey of a Ubiquitous Astrological Phrase,” Humanities Vol. 10, No. 4, 117 (2021).  

“Inversion, the Witch, and the Other: Conceptualizing Persecution in the Early Modern Witch-Hunts,” Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review, Vol. 16 (Spring 2010): 51-75.


Other Publications

“A Vital Force? Exploring the Agricultural Uses of Alchemy in Early Modern Europe, ca. 1550-1730,” Feature Story for the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Research Topics No. 79 (June 1, 2022),

“Agriculture and Astrology,” “Giordano Bruno,” “Centiloquium,” “Carl Jung,” “Paracelsus,” “Ptolemy,” and “Renaissance and Reformation Astrology” in Astrology through History: Interpreting the Stars from Ancient Mesopotamia to the Present, edited by William Burns (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2018).

“Field Notes on Alchemy: Investigating Its Influence in Agriculture, Husbandry, and the Life Sciences,” Dialogo: Social Sciences Blog, 27 June 2016, (full link no longer active)

Recognition & Awards

Science History Institute 80/20 Postdoctoral Fellowship (Declined)

National Science Foundation Travel Grant (x2)

Linda Hall Library Research Travel Fellowship

Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institute, Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship (Declined)

Von Holst Prize Lectureship, Department of History, University of Chicago

T. Bentley Duncan Dissertation-Year Writing Fellowship

Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine, Full-Time Graduate Fellowship

Nicholson Center for British Studies Research Travel Fellowship

University of Chicago, Division of Humanities, Arnaldo Momigliano Dissertation Research Travel Fellowship

University of Chicago, Division of Social Sciences Dissertation Research Travel Fellowship

David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, Education and Interpretation Fellowship

Ernest McPherson Lander Award in the School of Art, Architecture, and Humanities for Outstanding Graduate Work in the Department of History, Clemson University



Early Modern Sciences

Environmental History

Early Modern Britain, Europe, and the Atlantic World

Alchemy and Chemistry

British Agricultural Revolution

European Imperialism and Science (esp. extractive capitalism; its effects on trade in chemical, botanical, and medical materials; and indigenous responses to it)

History of Climate Modifications and Climate Change

History of Early Modern Astrology and Meteorology (and their connections)

Social History of Science/Citizen Scientists (seventeenth century to present)

Anthropocene Studies

Deep History

Seventeenth-century Utopian Projects

Civilizational Collapse in Global History

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