Thera Naiman

Thera Naiman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation project, tentatively entitled Disordered Taxonomies: Zoos and Difference in Nineteenth-Century Paris, explores how Paris’s two major zoos, the Jardin des Plantes and the Jardin d’acclimatation, provided a platform in the late nineteenth century for a wide range of actors – visitors, zookeepers, activists, and the displayed themselves – to trouble and reimagine scientific theories of species, race, and gender. The two zoos were central to Parisian life during this period of colonial expansion and political upheaval, and they helped produce novel and often subversive understandings of humans’ connections to the natural world. Thera’s research has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Culture and Animals Foundation, and the Smithsonian Libraries. In the fall of 2020, she taught a course at Johns Hopkins entitled “From Darwin to Babar: Animals and Humans in Historical Perspective” with the support of a Dean’s Teaching Fellowship. Thera holds an M.A. in History from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in History with Highest Honors from Swarthmore College. 

Main Advisor: Professor Shepard