Digital and Analog. Big data and Qualitative Research. Humanities and STEM. Activism and Academia. For some, these concepts may seem like polar opposites, but each is integral to the work of Dr. Merlin Chowkwanyun, a historian at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. In his conversation with Dr. Josiah Rector on Dec. 7th, 2021, Dr. Chowkwanyun details his varied career on the intersection of history, data, and health advocacy. From publishing online once secret documents from toxic chemical companies to contextualizing racial health disparities within the ongoing COVID crisis, Dr. Chowkwanyun lives out the values of public history and encourages other historians to enter the crucial policy debates of our time.
Visit Dr. Chowkwanyun online at http://www.merlinc16.com/.
Explore the millions of pages of previously classified documents on industrial poisons through Project Toxicdocs at https://www.toxicdocs.org/.
Read Dr. Chowkwanyun's latest book, All Health Politics is Local: Community Battles for Medical Care and Environmental Health (The University of North Carolina Press, 2022).
Editing assistance of this episode provided by Dylan Allen.