research

The following are abstracts of Harrison’s major research projects.


Rocks all the way down: The earthshaking history of Princeton mineralogy

Harrison-Blackman'17-ProfTomDuffy

Poster presentation at Princeton Research Day, May 10, 2018. Image Courtesy Georgette Chalker.

Project Summary:

For much of its history, Princeton has been at the forefront of revolutions in geoscientific understanding. Throughout all these years, however, mineralogy—the scientific study of the formation, classification, and geographical distribution of minerals—has been a constant discipline, one that has changed slowly along with improved methods and techniques. In tandem with this disciplinary stability, various professors and eccentric characters of influence have left their own imprint on Princeton’s stockpile of fascinating gemstones and rock samples.

In this history project, we explore the evolution of Princeton’s mineral collection through the lives and contributions of such figures as David Hosack, Alexander Hamilton’s doctor during the fatal duel; Arnold Guyot, co-discoverer of the last ice age; Alexander Hamilton Phillips, professor, politician, and the beleaguered subject of undergraduate ridicule; and of course, Harry Hess, who helped develop modern plate tectonics. All these personalities collected what became Princeton’s minerals, and as a result, we can say quite definitively—despite tectonic shifts in earth science—mineralogy remains the foundational layer that holds Princeton geology together.

The report is presently being adapted for short-form articles in several publications.


Senior Thesis: C.A. Doxiadis in Athens & the USA

IMG-20170510-WA0001
Presentation of “Planning for Ecumenopolis” at the 2017 Urban Studies Senior Thesis Colloquium on May 10, 2017 at Princeton University.

“Planning for Ecumenopolis: Constantinos A. Doxiadis’ Quest to Design Postwar Athens, the U.S., and the World,” April 2017. Department of History, Princeton University.

Project Summary:

From 1952 to 1975, Constantinos A. Doxiadis was one of the most prominent architects and urban planners in the world, and considered as important as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Since his untimely death, the Greek architect’s role in postcolonial planning and urban planning theory has been largely forgotten.

This 177-page senior undergraduate thesis in history strove to reclaim Doxiadis’ legacy in post-World War II Athens and the United States, as well as his interactions with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, organizations which underwrote many of his initiatives.

The thesis awarded an A+ by a faculty panel and received the Walter Phelps Hall Prize in European History, the Hellenic Studies Senior Thesis Prize, the Urban Studies Thesis Prize, and the Department of Art & Archaeology’s Frederick Barnard White Prize in Architecture. It was presented at the Princeton University Urban Studies Colloquium on May 10, 2017. The manuscript is currently being revised and expanded for publication.

IMG-20170510-WA0002
Urban Studies Senior Thesis Colloquium on May 10, 2017 at Princeton University.

Princeton’s Lost Museum

IMG-20170511-WA0006
Presentation of “Princeton’s Lost Museum” at Princeton Research Day, May 11, 2017.

“Princeton’s Lost Museum: Arnold Guyot’s E.M. Museum of Geology and Archaeology and the great juncture of American natural science museums,” May 2016. Department of History, Princeton University.

This 45-page research paper concerned a close reading and reconstruction of the 19th century E. M. Museum of Geology and Archaeology at Princeton, (which featured the second mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world!), through an exploration of the background of Prof. Arnold Guyot, the museum’s first curator.

Watch lecture on Princeton’s Media Central website. 

It was presented on May 11, 2017 at Princeton Research Day and was published in the Fall 2017 issue of the Princeton Historical Review.


The Marseille Plague

13256434_10206357753851603_2370318003816496230_n
Presentation of Marseille project at Princeton Research Day, May 5, 2016. Image courtesy of Princeton University.

“The Mantua-Makers’ misfortune: Reconsidering the 1720 Plague of Marseille through geospatial epidemiology and retrospective diagnosis,” January 2016. Department of History, Princeton University.

This 45-page research paper reconsidered the retrospective diagnosis of 1720 plague outbreak in Marseille. Previously considered to be bubonic plague spread through rats, this paper argued that the 1720 Marseille outbreak was initially a form of bubonic plague spread through parasite-infested-linen, which subsequently became the more virulent pneumonic plague. In doing so, it also challenges some of the long-held theories about bubonic plague spread through rats in the Black Death of 1348.

Presented as a ten-minute talk at Princeton Research Day, May 5, 2016, and funded by the Lewis Center for the Arts to adapt project into a thriller novella.


New Jersey Future

“NJ Development since 2000: 14 years, one big recession, and a shifting real estate market,” August 2015. Princeton Community-Based Learning Initiative Fellowship and New Jersey Future, Trenton, NJ.

This research project investigated the changes in average residential value and certificates of occupancy issued (COs) in order to attempt to establish the relationship between development and housing prices on the municipal level in New Jersey. I employed R statistics software and the Rutgers N.J. Legislative Data Book.

Advertisements