Myrna Perez Sheldon_editI am a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice University. I received my PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University, under the advisement of Janet Browne. My work examines how evolutionary logics have been used to articulate race, gender and sexuality in the United States from 1800 to the present. Critical to my analysis is the complex history of religion and evolutionary theory, and how their mutual influence and exchange has alternatively supported or countered beliefs in natural social hierarchies. Drawing upon feminist studies, critical race studies, religious studies and the history of science, my research focuses on the continual interplay between evolutionary science and broader discourses of progress, power and difference in American culture.

I have been a research fellow in the Science, Religion and Culture Program at the Harvard Divinity School at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, CA and for three years at the Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University. I am also the editor-in-chief of Cosmologics, an online magazine from the Harvard Divinity School that connects engaged research on science and religion with public debates on such themes as gender, race, mental health, sexuality, ability, citizenship, violence and popular culture.

I grew up in San Diego, CA and received my B.S. in the Departments of Biology and History at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA.


March 2016: “Evangelical Protestants and the Politics of Environmentalism in the United States, 1920-2002,” American Society for Environmental History, Seattle, WA

March 2016: “Public ethics, politics and sociobiology.” Ethics in Science SeminarUniversity of Houston, TX

November 2015: “1981: When Challenging Scientific Expertise Moved from the Left to the Right in the United States” History of Science Society, San Francisco, CA

November 2015: “Against Nature and God: The Evangelical Use of Biology Against Feminist and Lesbians, 1980-2015” American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA

October 2015: “The Logic of Progress in Evolution: Stephen Jay Gould, Race and Religion in the United States” Department of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH

October 2015: “The Logic of Progress in Evolution: Stephen Jay Gould, Race and Religion in the United States” Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago IL

October 2015: “How did gender and sexuality become weapons on the American religio-political scene?” American Studies Association, Toronto, ON

July 2015: “Selfish Genes: A Tipping Point for Evolutionary Theory?” International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology, Montreal, QC

May 2015: “Evolution, Race and Gender: the Politics of Adaptationism ” History of Biology Seminar at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA


email: myrna.p.sheldon@rice.edu

(Header: my photo of the Galerie de paléontologie et d’anatomie comparée in the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle)