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Emily Hamilton

Assistant Professor of History

Door with text that says "Dr. Emily T. Hamilton"

(413) 545-6797

Herter Hall 621

B.A. in physics, Drew University (2004); M.A., Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley (2008, 2013).

Assistant Professor Emily Hamilton specializes in the history of science, technology, and medicine, focusing on modern U.S. and Europe. Her book manuscript, The Math Mafia: How a Persistent Group of Reformers Standardized American Education is currently under review. The Math Mafia examines the social and political history of mathematics education reform in the United States with a focus on how 20th century politics and culture shaped contemporary K-12 mathematics curricula and at the same time ushered in the educational standards movement across disciplines. She is also working on a historiographical volume on the history of mathematics, as well as a project exploring the historical use of statistics, demography, and populations studies in epi/pandemic research. Hamilton teaches widely in the history of science, technology, and medicine, including courses such as “Science, Technology, and War in 20th Century US and Europe,” “Ideas that Changed History,” and “Food, Water, and Shelter.” Hamilton contributes to the UMass Medical Humanities program in developing and teaching the course “History of Health Care and Medicine in the United States,” a requirement for the certificate. Her interest in pandemics and teaching about historical flu prevention has proven, unfortunately, particularly relevant.

Prior to joining the History Department at UMass, Hamilton worked for five years with the Regional Oral History Office (Now the Oral History Center) at the Bancroft Library, conducting oral history interviews with prominent scientists—including the two longest recorded interviews conducted at the OHC!—and helping lead the Advanced Oral History Summer Institute. Here at UMass, Hamilton continues to conduct oral histories, helped create online teaching modules in oral history, and helps lead workshops in oral history for the larger community of scholars and practitioners in New England. Prior to arriving at UMass, Hamilton spent time as a fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy and as an instructor at California State University. She has received both conference paper awards and teaching awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the University of California. When not musing about mathematics and the flu, her interests range from food science and policy to early Cold War culture to the politics of biology textbooks. Hamilton’s anticipated next projects will explore the cultural history of the New Math and the ways in which educational programming brought mathematics instruction to television.
Professor Hamilton is an affiliated faculty member in the Public History and American Studies programs at UMass Amherst. She serves as co-chair and treasurer of the Americas Section of the International Study Group on the Relations Between History and Pedagogy of Mathematics

Research Areas

History of science and technology
History of math and science education
Social history of medicine, epi/pandemics
Public history of STEM
History of education policy


Emily Hamilton. “Environmental Crises and Black Liberation: An Interview with Sam Anderson.” Science for the People 23:2, Summer 2020, 80-84.

Emily Hamilton. “Science, Feminism, and Black Liberation: An Interview with Sam Anderson.” Science for the People 23:1, Spring 2020, 45-50.

[interviewed for] Jackson Cote, “Coronavirus and the 1918 flu: University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor says similarities between 2 outbreaks are many.” The Republican (MA), April 2020.

Review of Keith M. Parsons and Robert A. Zaballa’s Bombing the Marshall Islands: A Cold War Tragedy. Isis 110:4, December 2019, 857-858.

Review of Robert M. Dienesch’s Eyeing the Red Storm: Eisenhower and the First Attempt to Build a Spy Satellite. Pacific Historical Review Spring 2018 87(2), 379-380

Contributed annotation in Guston, David H., Ed Finn, and Jason Scott Robert (eds.) Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017. (Online) 

Review of David Kaiser and Patrick McCray’s Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation & American Counterculture and Christopher J. Phillips’s The New Math: A Political History. Reviews in American History. Dec 2017 45(4), 665-671.

Redman, Emily T.H. “I Love the Flu.” Fugitive Leaves: A blog from the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, online, February 1, 2017.

Redman, Emily. Review of Christopher Hollings’ Mathematics Across the Iron Curtain: A History of the Algebraic Theory of Semigroups. Isis 2015; 106(4), 980-981.

Redman, Emily. “To Save His Dying Sister-in-Law, Charles Lindbergh Invented a Medical Device.” Smithsonian Magazine, online, September 9, 2015. 

Redman, Emily. “Born in the U.S.A? Reconsidering the Origins and Legacy of the Assembly Line.” Review of America’s Assembly Line by David E. Nye. Posted on Society for U.S. Intellectual History website, September 7, 2014. 

King, C. Judson. "A Career in Chemical Engineering and University Administration, 1963-2013." Interview by Lisa Rubens and Emily Redman in 2011. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2013.

Herbert, James C. "Work in K-12 Education Reform: Student Competencies, Curriculum Assessment, and the Language of Reform." Interview by Emily Redman in 2012. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2012.

Redman, Emily T. H. “Fiat Lux, or Who Invited Thomas Edison to the Tea Party: Shedding historical light on a controversy dividing America” Common-Place 12:2, January 2012.

Hamilton, Emily T.  Review of The Adaptive Optics Revolution: A History, by Robert W. Duffner, Enterprise and Society 11(4): 855-857, 2010.

Lin, Otto C.C. "Otto C.C. Lin: Promoting Education, Innovation, and Chinese Culture in the Era of Globalization Volume I: Oral History." Interview by Robin Li and Emily Hamilton in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2010.

Courses Recently Taught

Science, Technology, and War in 20th Century U.S. and Europe
Food, Water, Shelter
History of Western Science and Technology II
History of Medicine
Ideas that Changed History