Dr. April Kiser

April Kiser
Department, Office, or School
Department of History
  • Assistant Professor

Environmental Studies Program Director 
Global Studies Program co-director

Teaching fields: History of Science and Medicine, Environmental History, History of animals, Globalization and Global history, European history


State University of New York at Buffalo PhD


HIST 108 History of Science and Medicine
This class focuses on the connections between science and our society. We consider what we believe, why we believe it, and the conditions that cause us to doubt our scientific findings. We will also try to understand the human aspects of science by focusing on the people who do it and science’s impact on individuals and communities. We pursue the relationships between science and society: including religion, politics, economics, art & literature, popular culture, gender, and race. The class looks at notable people and case studies—such as Hippocrates, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Charles Darwin, evolution, germ theory, surgical revolution, nuclear weapons, digital technology, climate change—that highlight science’s role in our society. The course uses these case studies to evaluate with some depth the changes in scientific ideas and practice, along with the people, beliefs, and heated debates. From there, the course will cultivate an appreciation of today’s connections to the past and the notable differences. We also consider the role of groups not fully integrated into the narrative of the history for reasons of race, gender, and class. Their contributions are often underappreciated yet very important to the development of knowledge. 

HIST 258 Environmental History
This course explores the relationship between humans and the natural environment in the past.  Students will consider specific historical examples illuminating the ways nature has shaped human societies and the impact people have had on their environments. Current debates about the place of people in the environment and concerns about human-driven environmental change are marked by complex social, political, economic, scientific, and natural considerations. Environmental history proves essential to this debate, offering long-term perspectives on these issues. Our readings and discussions, based on key moments in history, illuminate the reciprocal relationship between humans and their environment. 

HIST 272 Globalization, 15th Century to the Present
This course examines the historical roots of the globalization that we experience today with a close look at the long history of the relationships between different regions of the world. We consider the impulses that bind regions together and facilitate globalization. We also look at the tensions and issues that make globalization challenging. We will approach important issues of globalization through a series of case studies that zoom in on specific episodes that illustrate key concepts and conflicts. Such a study reveals the complexity of contemporary globalization and the diverse contributions of many peoples throughout the world. 


Research interests in the history of natural history, history of animals, images and knowledge, early modern European history

Current research includes the role of pictures in animal anatomical books in the 17th century and the use of pictures in early modern European natural history
“Leonardo’s transformations of nature” on the website: Leonardo da Vinci: Between Art and Science