Frederick Gibbs

Photo: Frederick Gibbs

Associate Professor
Undergraduate Advisor

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, Food History, History of Medicine, Digital History, Public History, Historiography, Spatial Humanities


Dr. Gibbs investigates the changing relationships between food, diet and health—particularly the popularization of nutritional science—at the intersection of food, environmental, and urban histories. His current research investigates the history of discourse concerning natural food.

His work in digital history examines how technology shapes our access to and interpretations of the past. How does the digitization of cultural artifacts change the ways historians ask and answer questions about the past? What kinds of new research methods do historians need to analyze and interpret the exponentially growing digital archive? How has digital publishing and platforms like Wikipedia challenged traditional historical expertise and authority?

Among digital history methods, Dr. Gibbs is especially interested in representations of space, Historical GIS and critical cartography. His research experiments with digital mapping technologies to bring more humanistic and aesthetic approaches to the kinds of digital maps we see everyday.

His recent 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 disease and contagion.

Dr. Gibbs serves on the faculty advisory committee for the National Park Service - National Trails Intermountain Region office, is a co-founder and co-director of UNM's Spatial Humanities Working Group, and is currently developing a transcripted certificate program in Digital Cultural Heritage here at UNM.

Recent/Select Publications:

Poison, Medicine, and Disease in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Routledge, July 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.