MSU’s Thompson receives New York Academy of Medicine grant

Courtney Thompson (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—An assistant professor in Mississippi State’s Department of History is receiving a prestigious research grant that will take her to the Big Apple next summer.

Courtney E. Thompson, who specializes in the history of U.S. women, science and medicine, has been named a 2017 recipient of the New York Academy of Medicine’s Audrey and William H. Helfand Fellowship in the History of Medicine and Public Health.

The award supports research using Academy library resources for scholarly study of the history of medicine and public health with an emphasis on visual culture. For more, visit

As a Helfand Fellow, Thompson will participate next summer in a month-long residency at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). The fellowship, she said, will be of fundamental importance to her research process as she completes her first book manuscript currently titled “The Criminal Race: Crime, Violence, and the Phrenological Imaginary in Nineteenth-century America.” 

“In revising the book from my dissertation project, I am looking to incorporate new materials to expand upon the arguments and analysis of the work,” Thompson said. “In particular, I aim to incorporate new research on both the visual culture of criminal theories in the 19th century, as well as new research on the intersection of scientific theories of race and crime in this period.”

In addition to meeting with and seeking feedback from colleagues in New York who are associated with the NYAM, Thompson expressed appreciation for the opportunity to disseminate her research through a public lecture and blog posts at the Academy.

“The Helfand Fellowship is specifically designed to support work on visual culture, which is a particular area of methodological interest for me,” Thompson said. “This research at the NYAM is intended to be the final stage of research and development before I complete my book proposal and manuscript next year.”

Prior to joining the MSU faculty this past August, Thompson served as a lecturer in the history department at Yale University. She also was jointly appointed in the School of Medicine’s Section of the History of Medicine.

A native of Toms River, New Jersey, Thompson holds a bachelor’s in history and science, with a secondary field in studies of women, gender and sexuality from Harvard University. She also is a history Master of Arts, Master of Philosophy and doctoral graduate of Yale University’s Program in the History of Science and Medicine.

Along with numerous invited lectures, Thompson has drawn on her research while giving conference presentations at the History of Science Society, American Association for the History of Medicine, Society for the History of Technology, and Cheiron: The International Society for the History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences, among others. For more biographical information, visit

Learn more about MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences at; its Department of History at

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