Frederick Gibbs

Associate Professor
Undergraduate Advisor

Photo: Frederick Gibbs

Office: Mesa Vista Hall 1077
Personal Website


Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Interests:

Digital Humanities, Medieval Medicine , History of Science and Medicine, Medieval Europe


Dr. Gibbs joined the UNM History department in 2013.  As a historian of medicine and science, he studies the confluence of medicine and natural philosophy in the medieval and early modern periods.  He is also interested in the circulation and diffusion of medical knowledge in the late Middle Ages.  The majority of his current projects attempt to use new digital research methodologies to provide new historical perspectives through unusual combinations of historical data at scale, and to use new media technologies to make history more engaging and accessible to a broad public.  His manuscript-in-progress explores medical literature on poison c.1200-1600, especially how physicians debated its definition, properties, ontological existence, and its role in disease and contagion. He also experiments with digital methodologies that employ various mapping, text mining, and visualization techniques in the service of historical research.

Recent/Select Publications:

“Poisonous Properties, Bodies, and Forms in the Fifteenth Century,” Preternature 2.1 (2013): 19-46.

“The Historical Value of Ephemeral Discussion of Science on the Web” in Science @ Risk: Toward a National Strategy for Preserving Online Science, (Washington, DC: Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, 2012).

“Critical Discourse in the Digital Humanities,” Journal of the Digital Humanities 1.1 (2012).

“The Hermeneutics of Data and Historical Writing,” in Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki (eds.), Writing History in the Digital Age. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013) [with Trevor Owens]


  • Humanities Exposed (HEX) Scholar at the UW Center for the Humanities (2008)
  • Dissertator Fellowship from UW Graduate School (2007)
  • John Neu Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship from UW HoS Dept. (2007)
  • Research Award from the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (2007)
  • Paul Klemperer Fellowship from the New York Academy of Medicine (2006)
  • National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant (2005-06)
  • Heckman Research Grant from the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library (2005)
  • Vilas Travel Grant from the UW Graduate School (2005)


  • Medieval Science and Medicine
  • Digital History
  • History of Early Medicine
  • Scientific Revolutions
  • Food, Diet, and Health