Broadly stated, my current research involves an investigation into the historical impact of new technologies on practical aspects of the law. Thus, I am interested in broad questions like whether societal ideals and conceptions drive both the law and technology, or if technology drives the law and societal expectations, or if there is some other factor at play. While primarily a historical investigation, these questions have applicability to the contemporary world, e.g., to issues of Internet privacy, wiretapping, vaccination, contraception, and abortion.
My dissertation thus focuses on techno-scientific developments impacting the relationship between individuals and the state by following the late nineteenth- and twentieth-century efforts to establish a modus vivendi between the increasingly powerful administrative state and two foundational tenets of a liberal democracy: liberty and privacy.
For me, an analysis of the law provides an effective look back at the ways in which theoretical and practical concerns of the day were mediated, contained, implemented, and even ignored. There are few other mechanisms in American society quite like the court system. Judges and juries, when faced with particular cases and controversies, do not have the luxury of simply ignoring a problem because it is too difficult. Instead, they take legal theory and ideals and them into practical effect.