Jim Porter

Researcher at Department of History, The Hugo Valentin Centre

+4618-471 2367
Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3D, 1 tr

Postal address:
Box 521
751 20 Uppsala

I recently graduated with a PhD in history (specializing in the history of science and the history of education) from Michigan State University. My research has been supported by an MSU University Distinguished Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and most recently by a Hugo Valentin Centre Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Also at:



Spencer/NAEd (2015)

I study 20th century cultural history and history of science with an emphasis on the histories of biology, psychology and education in the post-WWII US. In particular, I am interested in how popular and scientific conceptions of “intelligence” changed from the interwar into the post-WWII era. I therefore study debates about IQ and ability grouping as they were filtered through popular and professional literatures, and as they worked their way into policy initiatives as well. Of primary importance to my research is how ideas about--and related measures of--"intelligence" functioned to regulate educational opportunity in a society organized increasingly around meritocratic ideals.

This approach stands to inform our knowledge of the historical evolution of racism, and what I hold is a rise at this post-WWII moment of neo-hereditarian individualism and its entanglement with racism. Such analysis can bring new critical tools and perspectives to current discussions of “race,” racism, individuality, subjectivity and processes of minority formation.

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Jim Porter