Capshew has worked in the broad field of American science and learning with several foci of interest, including studies of academic psychology in social and institutional contexts and the history and culture of higher education, including university leadership. The environmental humanities, including environmental history, are increasingly the subjects of his research, teaching, and service.

Why scientific psychology emerged as an academic discipline in the 19th century in Europe, how the field was transformed in America into a multipurpose profession, what the future will hold as psychology provides an idiom for understanding and shaping the self and others – these are some of the questions that animate my research. Current projects include a global survey of psychology in the 20th century, and a study of neuropsychological pathography.

My research interest in the history of American higher education presents a distinct yet related line of historical inquiry to my work in the history of science. Themes and topics include: the rise of the American university system, the tension between academic discipline and institutional context, the campus as a cultural space, and the fate of the university in a time of global change.

Earth’s Body registers my interest in being both a denizen of the local landscape and of this great green planet.


Research: University history; Genius loci; Community history; Local culture; Dendrochronology

Research Area:

  • Environment in the Arts and Humanities


  • History of American science and learning;
  • Psychology in conceptual, social, and institutional context;
  • History and culture of Indiana University;
  • Biography of Herman B Wells


  • 20th century
  • Indiana History
  • U.S. History
  • History of Medicine

Research Interests: psychology; american science and learning

Biological Science, Philosophy, North American Studies, History, History
PhD, University of Pennsylvania, History and Sociology of Science, 1986
AM, University of Pennsylvania, History and Sociology of Science, 1982
BA, Indiana University, Psychology, 1979
history of science and technology american history twentieth century history social sciences economics neuropsychology sociology of science history or philosophy of education
American Association of University Professors
History of Science Society