David C Sepkoski

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Personal profile

Personal profile

David Sepkoski is the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in History of Science at the University of Illinois.  He specializes in transnational history of biological, environmental, and information sciences in cultural context.

Sepkoski's most recent book is Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction and the Value of Diversity (University of Chicago Press, 2020).  He is also the author of Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline (Chicago, 2012) and Nominalism and Constructivism in Seventeenth-Century Natural Philosophy (Routledge, 2007), as well as several edited volumes and special journal issues.  

His current research focuses on the history of scientific and cultural debates about the biological basis for human nature and difference. In 2020-21 he held a Guggenheim Fellowship for his project "The Politics of Human Nature: Biological Determinism from Sociobiology to the Human Genome." He also has research interests in the history of data and information, and in the cultural and techological history of electronic music.

Research Interests

History of Science


PhD, Program in History of Science and Technology, University of Minnesota
MA, Social Sciences, University of Chicago
BA, Carleton College

Office Address

History, 301 Greg Hall
810 S. Wight Street M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801


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