Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow
B.S. Linguistics, Truman State University, 2004
B.A. English Literature, Truman State University, 2004
M.A. Folklore, University of California, Berkeley, 2009
M.A. History, Columbia University, 2013
M.Phil. History, Columbia University, 2014
Sean O’Neil teaches and researches the history of science with a focus on information visualization in early modern Europe. His research broadly reconstructs early modern understandings of visual thinking in early modern terms, examining both how and why some people advocated for the use of new visualization formats while others regarded the same with deep suspicion. His dissertation studied early modern debates regarding the sharp rise in interest in symbolic notations across multiple domains of inquiry (e.g. algebra, dance, chemistry, music) in the years between 1500 and 1800. His current project considers how the legitimacy of visual thinking with symbolic notations, timelines, charts, and other forms of visualization was established during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. O’Neil’s research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Prior to coming to NYU, O’Neil earned bachelor’s degrees in linguistics and English literature at Truman State University, a master's degree in folklore at the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in history at Columbia University. He also worked for five years as a high school instructor, teaching in both the United States and Japan.
history of science; early modern Europe; information visualization; writing systems and symbolic notations; linguistics; history of education; folklore