Marga Vicedo

Associate Professor of the History of Science, Director of Undergraduate Studies,
IHPST, University of Toronto; Affiliated faculty, CSUS
Affiliated Faculty, CSUS


Victoria College, Room 314, 91 Charles Street West



I grew up in Agost (Spain), studied and worked in the United States, and I teach now at the University of Toronto. I am interested in genetics, evolution, animal research, and child development in the twentieth century.  I am also interested in how ideas from biology are used in other fields such as psychology and the social sciences. In the philosophy of science, I have worked on scientific realism, the question of whether our best scientific theories offer us a reliable account of the world. In the history of science, I have worked on several areas: the early history of genetics in the United States; the history of animal behaviour; and the history of views about human instincts, especially the maternal instinct. My book, The Nature and Nurture of Mother Love: From Imprinting to Attachment in Cold War America (2013) situates scientific views about maternal care and love in their historical context and provides a critical analysis of the ethological theory of attachment behavior.

Currently, I am working on two book-length projects. One is tentatively entitled “The Science of Maternal Instincts in American Society from Darwin to Evolutionary Psychology.” The other, “Historicizing the Science of the Affects: Autism, Emotions, and Gender,” is a historical examination of different views about autism in American society from 1943 to the present.

research interests

History and philosophy of biology in the twentieth century
History of genetics, evolution, and animal research
History of scientific views about human instincts and emotions
History of child development and attachment theory
History of autism


Ph. D Harvard University (2005)

Ph. D University of Valencia (1987)

M. A. University of Valencia (1984)

B.A. University of Valencia (1984)

awards and distinctions

Dean’s Award, University of Toronto, 2013
Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, MIT, Pre-doctoral Fellowship, 2003-2004
Harvard University, GSAS Merit – John Parker Doctoral Scholarship, 2002
Harvard University, Javier Arango Graduate Fellowship in the History of Science, 1999
Visiting Researcher, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 1998
Visiting Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1991
Ministry of Education and Science (Spain) Research Fellowship, 1990-1992
Fulbright Visiting Fellow, Princeton University, 1989
Fulbright Visiting Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1988
ITT International Fellowship, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1987-1988
Fulbright-Hay Scholarship, Commission for Cultural Exchange between Spain and the United States, 1987-1988

Selected publications

The Nature and Nurture of Love: From Imprinting to Attachment in Cold War America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

‘The Secret Lives of Textbooks,” ISIS, (2012) 103: 83-87.

‘Cold War Emotions: Mother Love and The War over Human Nature,’ in Mark Solovey and Hamilton Cravens (eds.), Cold War Social Science. NY: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, 233-249.

‘Mothers, Machines, And Morals: Harry Harlow’s Work on Primate Love From Lab to Legend’, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (2009) 45 (3): 193-218.

‘Experimentation, Realism, and the Historical Character of Science’, in Richard Creath & Jane Maienschein (eds.) Biology and Epistemology (1999), Cambridge University Press, pp. 215-243.


The Science of Human Nature
Evolution, Heredity, and Behavior
History of Evolutionary Biology I

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