Assistant Professor of Urban Studies
Meredith Linn's area of research is urban historical archaeology, with a particular focus on health and healing. She uses several different kinds of sources (including historical and folkloric records, archaeological remains, and ethnography) to investigate how newcomers to cities experience and treat illness and injury as well as how residents react to newcomers, given the socially constructed meanings of particular afflictions at specific historical moments.
So far, she has focused most on mid- to late 19th-century Irish immigrants in New York City. She has studied how epidemic typhus fever, tuberculosis, and work-related injuries altered native-born Americans’ views of Irish immigrants. She has also looked at how the Irish treated these ailments by combining resources from rural Ireland and New York City, and how this cultural encounter shaped immigration policy, healthcare, and the popularity of particular goods in New York City. Meredith is currently working on a book about this based on her dissertation as well as a couple of articles about Irish-immigrant medicine.
Meredith is also working on the Seneca Village Project, an archaeological and archival project researching the 19th-century community of African Americans and Irish immigrants that once existed in what is now New York City’s Central Park. Last summer, she helped uncover the remains of one family’s house and what was probably a shared backyard of a few other families. Meredith is now now engaged in the long process of carefully analyzing the artifacts and other clues she found with the hope of increasing understanding of what life was like in that forgotten community.
M.A. University of Chicago
Ph.D. Columbia University
(212) 854 3663
Milbank Hall 332A, Barnard College
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