Cameron Brinitzer

Historian & Anthropologist of Science, 2022-2023 Berggruen Fellow

Cameron Brinitzer earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of History and Sociology of Science in 2022. With Etienne Benson, he co-edited and contributed to an Isis Focus section (March 2022 issue) that investigates some of the ways that field concepts, fieldwork practices, and field sciences have been transformed since the mid-twentieth century. His dissertation and first book project, Culturing Evolution: A History and Anthropology of a Cognitive Science of Culture in Illiberal Hungary, examines how life and mind scientists have operationalized concepts of culture such that this famously nebulous epistemic object can be measured and materialized in laboratory experiments and incorporated into evolutionary theories. His fieldwork with cognitive scientists at the Central European University unfolded amid the CEU’s forced move from Budapest to Vienna, after the university was legislated out of Hungary by the country’s avowedly “illiberal” government.

As a USC Berggruen Fellow, Brinitzer will work toward completing his first book project, while beginning an adjacent project focused on the recent history of supranational scientific funding instruments in Europe, the rise of illiberal and nationalist political movements across the continent, and emerging relations between sciences and politics of culture today.