Fred Gibbs

Photo: Fred Gibbs

Associate Professor

Assistant Dean for Curriculum

Office: Mesa Vista Hall 1077
Personal Website


Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison 2009
M.A.University of Wisconsin-Madison 2002
B.A. Carleton College 1998

Research Interests:

History of Diet and Health, Digital Public History, Food Studies, History of Science and Medicine, Spatial Humanities, Historiography


My work in digital history examines how technology shapes our access to and interpretations of the past, and how emerging technologies can bring the past to life and demonstrate the importance of historical perspective. Among digital history methods, I'm especially interested in infrastructures for sustainable digital public history projects and creating digital maps with historical data.

My work in the history of medicine focuses on diet and health, especially in the cultural construction of supposedly objective dietary advice. My current research focuses on the history of "natural" diets and how shifting ideas about nature have influenced the way we talk about natural foods and diets.

My first book, Poison, Medicine, and Disease in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Routledge, 2018) explores how premodern physicians debated the distinction between medicine and poison, as well as poison’s role in shaping understandings about disease and contagion.

Recent/Select Publications:

 “Mapping & Maps in Digital & Public History,” in Mark Tebeau and Serge Noiret (eds.), Handbook of Digital Public History (De Gruyter, 2022).

Poison, Medicine, and Disease in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Routledge, 2018).

“Teaching and Researching the History of Medicine in the Era of (Big) Data: Reflections,” Medical History, 61.4 (2017), 609-11. [with Jeffrey S. Reznick] PubMed

“Data, Humanities and the History of Medicine: New Pedagogical Approaches,” Medical History, 61.1 (2017), 177-180. PubMed

“Medical Literature on Poison, c. 1300-1600,” in Philip Wexler (ed.), Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, 159-166. London: Academic Press, 2017.

A Healthy Dose of Skepticism,” Nursing Clio, May 24, 2017.

“The Poetics of Digital Scholarship,” in Matt Bernico and Manuela Kölke (eds.), Ontic Flows: From Digital Humanities to Posthumanities, 101-122. New York and Dresden: Atropos Press, 2016.

“New Forms of History: Critiquing Data and Its Representations,” The American Historian 7 (2016): 31-36. TAH

“Editorial Sustainability and Open Peer Review at the Programming Historian,” DHCommons 1 (2015). DHCommons

“From Theory to Practice in the Digital Humanities,” in Bildungsgeschichte. International Journal for the Historiography for Education 1-2015, 95-99.