Brian Regal, PhD, FLS
History of Science, Technology and Medicine
Department of History, Townsend Hall 117
College of Liberal Arts
1000 Morris Ave., Union, NJ 07083 USA
Phone #: 908-737-0261
Fellow of the Linnean Society, London
Fellow, Kean University Center for History, Politics & Policy
Research Interests: The historical aspects of Human evolution, Darwiniana, Monster studies, Racial anthropology, Creationism, Pseudoscience, the Occult, Obscuranta and Esoterica, American national origin theories
:Web page updated January 17, 2017
Look for me in the History Channel series, True Monsters!
Back episodes on Hulu.
My Spring 2017 Office Hours:
• My CV/Resume
Satans's Harbinger: The Real Story of the Jersey Devil will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2017.
Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology
Also see my CV above and my profile on the Department of History's faculty page
I have lectured and presented papers to scholarly conferences and popular presentations across the US, the UK, and Germany. I have completed fellowships at the Mary Baker Eddy Papers Project, Boston, at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and have reviewed grant proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF) on both human origins and alchemy. I am on the editorial board of the history of science journal Endeavour.
The broad scope of my research concerns the history of human origins. My focus is less on human evolution itself than on an intellectual historical study of how scientific theories are constructed, and then perceived and used in popular culture, religion, and politics for extra-scientific ends. My first book Henry Fairfield Osborn: Race and the Search for the Origins of Man (2002) is an attempt to unravel the complex and contradictory nature of a theory of human evolution which was simultaneously scientific and religious and which was designed to show more than just where the first humans arose, but how American society should be ordered. Human Evolution: a guide to the debates (2004) takes an interdisciplinary approach by including such topics as popular culture, eugenics and creationism along with traditional aspects of evolution history to show the interconnected aspect of human origin studies and how they go beyond finding fossils, isolating DNA, and dating strata.
As an historian of science I am particularly interested in the relationship between professional scientists and their amateur counterparts. I write about how the fringe and mainstream interact, co-mingle and argue, whether it is over the creation/evolution debate or American national origins theories.
My most recent book is an historical analysis of the lives of mainstream scientists--particularly the controversial paleoanthropologist Grover Krantz (1931-2002)--who believed anomalous primates like the Sasquatch and Yeti were real animals, not just relics of folklore or hoaxes. I accessed archives and libraries of North America and England using long forgotten letters, correspondence, diaries, and notebooks of scientists who researched humanoid monsters. The results were published as Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads and Cryptozoology (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013).
My current research project is to chart how the engagement with monstrous creatures--whether to prove them real or not--contributed to the development of 19th century evolutionary theory. The working title is Darwin and the Monsters.
My next published book will be a radical reinterpretation of the legend of the Jersey Devil written with my Kean colleague Dr. Frank J. Esposito. Rather than viewing the origins of the myth in some biological creature, we see the story as born of the religious and political upheavals, and publishing rivalries of colonial America. It is tentatively titled Satan's Harbinger: The Real Story of the Jersey Devil. In press, Johns Hopkins University Press, release date 2017.
How I spent my 19th birthday. (On the Iron Curtain border patrol, West Germany, 1979©).
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