Michelle Hoffman

Michelle Hoffman (B.Sc., Concordia University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Toronto) is a historian of science specializing in the history of psychology and education. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bard College and a faculty member in the Bard Prison Initiative. She teaches courses in history and philosophy of science and in the First-Year Seminar program. Previously, she has taught at the American University of Central Asia, Bard’s partner in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship. She is interested in how educational psychologists in the early twentieth century re-conceptualized learning and thinking, and how this history speaks to how we conceive of learning and thinking today. Her current research focuses on transfer of training, a body of experimental research that examined (and disputed) whether learning skills acquired in one area readily transferred to other domains—a question that struck at the core of teachers’ work. This is part of a broader project on the history of pedagogical approaches to critical thinking. Her most recent paper, “Just a Theory: The Atomic Theory Debate and High School Chemistry Teaching, 1905–1917,” is forthcoming (2017) in Historical Studies of the Natural Sciences. She enjoys hiking, comparing the US to Canada, and debating for a long time over small decisions. She is considering taking up barre, but needs more time to think about it.