Ashley Bowen

PhD, American Studies, Brown University, December 2016

MA, Public Humanities, Brown University, 2013
MA, Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT), Georgetown University, 2009
BA, Art History, Reed College, 2005 

Fields of Study:

Public health and the welfare state: 1840-1920; commemorative practices: politics, publics, and policy; and the long 19th Century: American history and culture from 1776-1918. All three fields incorporate a broad spectrum of disciplines, methodologies, theories, and content areas. Each probes the scholarly, public, and political debates about health and medicine, and the American government’s role in each. 


  • Brown-Wheaton Faculty Fellow, 2015-2016
  • F.C. Wood Institute for the History of Medicine at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 2015
  • Smithsonian Institution Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, 2014
  • Willard G. Oxtoby Prize, 2008
  • Academic fellowship, full tuition waver, Georgetown University, 2007-2009 

Courses Taught
Instructor, “Instructor, “No Shot at Immunity: Opposition to Vaccination in the United States, 1800-2015” (Wheaton College), autumn 2015.

Instructor, "(Dis)believing the Evidence: Popular Opposition to 20th Century Public Health Initiatives," (Brown University) spring 2014

Teaching Assistant, “Museum Histories,” spring 2015.
Teaching Assistant, “Civil War & Reconstruction” (Brown University), autumn 2014

Teaching Assistant, "Methods in Public Humanities," spring 2013
Teaching Assistant, "American Popular Culture," autumn 2012
Teaching Assistant, "War, Media, And Technology," spring 2009
Teaching Assistant, "Introduction to CCT," autumn 2008

Teaching Professional Development

  • AHA Tuning Committee - Assignments Charrette, January 2016          
  • Teaching Certificate IV Program: Teaching Consultant Program, Brown University 2014
  • Teaching Certificate II Program: The Course Design Seminar, Brown University 2014
  • Teaching Certificate I Program: Reflective Teaching, Brown University, 2013
  •  Apprenticeship in Teaching certificate,  Georgetown University, 2009

Scholarly Publications

"National Museum of Health and Medicine." Journal of American History 100, no. 3 (November 1, 2013): 775–781. doi:10.1093/jahist/jat457.

Book Reviews

The Pulse of Modernism: Physiological Aesthetics in Fin-de-Siècle Europe by Robert Michael Brain, reviewed for Somatosphere May 2016, Available online <>.

Music Along the Rapidan: Civil War Soldiers, Music, and Community during Winter Quarters, Virginia by James A. Davis, reviewed for Civil War History 61, no. 4 (December 2015). [DOI: 10.1353/cwh.2015.0075]

Selected Writing for a Popular Audience

A Few of the Problems with a Fetal Narrator.” Book Riot, September 26, 2016.

The Nation’s First Tuberculosis Hospital Was Built Inside a Cave.” Atlas Obscura, June 7, 2016.

Genre Kryptonite: Books About Archives and Museums.” Book Riot, May 3, 2016.

Irritable Heart and Coping with the Trauma of War.” Mercy Street PBS, February 7, 2016.

Jacob Mendes Da Costa.” Mercy Street PBS, January 25, 2016.

The American Textile Industry Was Woven From Espionage.” Atlas Obscura, January 13, 2016.

Where U.S. Mail Went to Die.” Atlas Obscura, October 28, 2015. 

Selected Presentations and Lectures

 “(In)dependent Widows: The Challenges of Family-Based Care for Civil War Veterans,” invited presentation at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and Clara Barton Missing Soldiers’ Office, Washington, DC, March 31, 2016.

 “Broke Down Bodies, Broke Down Minds: Using Emotions and Medical History to Understand General Ill Health in Civil War Veterans,” American History Association annual meeting, Atlanta, GA, January 7, 2016.

“Remains After War: Politics of Bodily Display in the Army Medical Museum’s Ford’s Theater Location,” American Studies Association annual meeting, Toronto, ON, Canada, October 9, 2015.

“No Longer Dependent Widows: How Caring for Civil War Veterans Challenged Assumptions about Dependency and Masculinity in the late 19th Century United States,” Military Masculinities in the Long 19th Century, University of Hull (UK), May 20, 2015.

“Healing in the Past: Veteran Civil War Re-Enactors, PTSD, and Resilience,” American Studies Association annual meeting, Los Angeles, CA, November 9, 2014. 

Selected Professional Experience

National Library of Medicine Exhibition Program, September 2016 to the present
Collections Researcher (contract), Bethesda, MD

Atlas Obscura, Summer 2015 to the present
Field Agent (freelance), DC Region

Superfund Research Program, autumn 2013
Research Fellow, Community Engagement Core

National Association of County & City Health Officials, 2009-2011
Program Associate, Health Equity & Social Justice

Contact Information

Ashley [underscore] bowen [at] alumni [dot] brown [dot] edu email
@AEBowenPhD twitter