Our 2020 Speakers

Dr. Patrick McGovern
Scientific Director, Adjunct Professor

Patrick E. McGovern is the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology. His academic background combined the physical sciences, archaeology, and history-an A.B. in Chemistry from Cornell University, graduate work in neurochemistry at the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology and Literature from the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department of the University of Pennsylvania. Over the past two decades, he has pioneered the exciting interdisciplinary field of Biomolecular Archaeology which is yielding whole new chapters concerning our human ancestry, medical practice, and ancient cuisines and beverages. He is the author of Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (Princeton U., 2003/2004), also translated into French and Italian. A new 2nd edition, with an Afterword bringing it up to date, was recently published in the Princeton Science Library.   Other alcoholic beverages, including grape wine, are dealt with in Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages (U. California, 2009/2010), which follows human ingenuity in making fermented beverages before and after our ancestors came “out of Africa” 200,000 years ago and traveled around the world. His latest book, Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-created), was published in June 2017 (WW Norton, New York). It tells the scientific, experimental, and personal backstories of how the Dogfish Head Brewery series of Ancient Ales and Spirits came about (nine re-created brews thus far). Ranging from galactic alcohol to the beginnings of life on earth to how our early ancestors reveled in extreme fermented beverages of every kind, including grape wine, the book lays the groundwork for how to go about bringing the past alive in as authentic a way as possible. It sheds new light on the earliest biotechnology of our innovative species. Dogfish Head, one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the U.S. Midas Touch was its first and premier Ancient Ale. It is its most awarded brew, and among the best-selling honey-based fermented beverages in the U.S.

Dr. Ashley Bowen
Historian, Editor

Ashley Bowen received her PhD in American Studies and Public Humanities from Brown University. Her research focused on nineteenth century public health and medicine, the material culture of medicine, and representations of patient experience. She is currently the editor of the American Historical Association’s newsmagazine, Perspectives on History. Prior to joining the AHA, she served as the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow, Digital Engagement Manager at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and as a guest curator for the National Library of Medicine’s exhibition program in Bethesda, Maryland. Her writing has appeared in academic journals as well as on Atlas Obscura, Book Riot, the Smithsonian’s blogs, and on the Mercy Street blog run by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

Dr. Donna Bilak

Donna Bilak is a historian of early modern science specializing in the study of 17th-century emblematics; medico-alchemical laboratory technologies, materials, and sensory experiences; as well as the production and trade of chemical medicine in the British Atlantic world. Donna's research extends to the cross-cultural examination of jewellery, artisanal technologies, and meaning-making with materials. Donna's first book is the born-digital publication, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier's Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, co-authored with Tara Nummedal (Brown University), developed by Brown University’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative, and published by the University of Virginia Press (2020) as an open-access edition: Furnace and Fugue builds on Donna's earlier postdoctoral research into Atalanta fugiens, a 17th-century musical alchemical emblem book, in presenting a multi-disciplinary collaboration involving historians of science and of art, musicologists and performers, digital scholars, and rare books curators. Donna received her PhD from the Bard Graduate Center, and she is the Creative Director of 12 Keys Consultancy & Design, LLC.

Dr. Stephenie McGucken
Art Historian, Adjunct Professor

Stephenie was awarded her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2018. Her thesis examined the representation of women in Early Medieval English manuscripts, considering where, how, and why they were portrayed, as well as what such depictions reveal about the audiences who used the manuscripts. During her PhD, Stephenie founded the Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Project to facilitate experimentation with pigments commonly used in the Middle Ages. Stephenie also works on the presentation of the past and its material culture in popular culture; publications to date include an analysis of heritage sites in Outlander and an exploration of Star Wars Rebels in terms of the development of fourth wave feminism. She is currently adjunct faculty at the University of Tampa while working on a range of publications.

Andrea Helton
MSAOM, Acupuncturist, Clinical Herbalist

Andrea Helton, MSAOM, L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist, clinical herbalist, and follower of wise women traditions & earth-based spirituality. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine. After almost a decade of working in the healing arts, Andrea has realized the importance of integrating the rich history of botanicals and other natural materia into conventional medicine. She believes that the mindful intersection of science and spirit is where whole healing can be realized. The combination of her rigorous education and spiritual philosophy has inspired Andrea to exist as a bridge between academia, medicine, and spirit, which is one reason the All Souls books hold such a special place in her heart. Today, Andrea co-owns and operates an acupuncture clinic and apothecary with her husband, Colby. Together, they help their community heal and maximize their health literacy so they can live in harmony with the cycles of nature. They also partner with the University of Louisville as providers in the state's first large-scale integrative clinic that offers both conventional and holistic medicine. When she’s not at work, she enjoys looking after her 2 dogs and plethora of plants, journaling, reading, learning, gardening, and adventuring with her husband.

Beth Lander
Managing Director, Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries

Beth Lander obtained a B.A. in History from Drew University, and an M.L.S. from the State University of New York at Albany. Beth has worked across multiple types of special collections, including stints at a Fortune 500 company, a state archives, a public library and multiple museums. During her tenure as College Librarian/The Robert Austrian Chair at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Beth curated exhibits in the Mütter Museum including Vesalius on the Verge: The Book and the Body and Going Viral: Infection Through the Ages. She also collaborated with chemists and other scholars on the verification of anthropodermic material in College collections. Beth is best friends with Mary Lynch, whose skin binds three of the five anthropodermic books at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Beth was appointed the Managing Director of the Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries in July 2020, and is now the happy amanuensis to forty of the finest special collections libraries in the world.

Dr. Marisa Galvez
Associate Professor

Dr. Marisa Galvez is Associate Professor of French and Italian at Stanford University. She specializes in the literature of the Middle Ages in France and Western Europe, especially the poetry and narrative literature written in Occitan and Old French. Her areas of interest include the troubadours, vernacular poetics, the intersection of performance and literary cultures, and the critical history of medieval studies as a discipline. She is the author of two books, both published by the University of Chicago Press: Songbook: How Lyrics Became Poetry in Medieval Europe (2012). and most recently The Subject of Crusade: Lyric Romance, and Materials, 1150-1500 (2020).

Dr. Lisa Berry Drago
Art Historian

Elisabeth (Lisa) Berry Drago is a research curator at the Science History Institute. She also cohosts (with Alexis Pedrick) the Institute’s podcast on the odd and fascinating histories of science, Distillations. Berry Drago holds a PhD in art history from the University of Delaware, specializing in the representation of science and artisanal work, the history of the print, and artistic identity-making. Her new book, Painted Alchemists, is the first on the painter Thomas Wijck (1616–1677), whose pictures of alchemists in the laboratory offer new perspectives on early modern science and artistry.

Daemons Domain is the brainchild of three overachieving women who met on line in 2012 because of a shared passion for a book - A Discovery of Witches. It quickly grew into a friendship and an unhealthy obsession with all things de Clermont. After following the bread crumbs through history and the fantastical world that Deborah Harkness has created for five years, they decided to invite the world into their personal chat box overflowing with historical research, speculation and flights of fancy. Their podcast, Daemons Discuss, is their popular fortnightly deep dive into the All Souls Universe. Sometimes serious. Sometimes irreverent. Occasionally ridiculous. Always All Souls.

Victoria Orzechowski, Ashley Augustyniak, Caroline McCarthy, Alexis Pedrick
Librarians at the Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History

Ashley Augusytinak, Caroline McCarthy, and Victoria Orzechowski are librarians at the Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Othmer Library serves as a repository of materials relating to the history of science and technology, with an emphasis on chemistry and chemical engineering from the 15th to 21st centuries. The library houses approximately 140,000 volumes, including rare books and manuscripts, oral histories, archival collections, and historical photographs. The researchers we generally serve come from an international crowd of historians of science, and a variety of interdisciplinary fields such as literature, anthropology, and art. Between our collections and patrons, the Othmer Library proves ever the vibrant and lively research environment.

Ashley Crawley, Nikki Gastineau and Janet Reynolds are All Souls Witchy Women. They met over a shared love of a different book series but realized they had room in their hearts for a few creatures. As they raced through the All Souls Trilogy together (separated by hundreds of miles) it became apparent they had more feelings about the books than a simple text chat group could hold. They decided to speak their thoughts into the universe with the hope that someone would listen and some of you did! They are captivated by the themes of magic and female power woven throughout Deborah Harkness's books and they can’t wait to talk more about them at All Souls Con 2020.

Belia Simm
Artist, Illustrator

Mom, artist and illustrator, Belia is inspired by nature, life, and her family to design and create beautiful experiences for others through her artistic expression. She found her inspiration through her father’s passion for art and now as a mom, hopes to inspire her son and plant the same seed of creativity and love for art.

Amy Austin-Taggart and Leah DiPilato
All Souls Yarn Conventicle Founders

Leah and Amy met at All Souls Con and became fast friends. They now co-run the All Souls Yarn Conventicle. Amy Austin-Taggart is a writer, Worship Media Designer, and avid knitter. In 2018 she started the All Souls Yarn Conventical on Facebook for fans of the All Souls books who also knit and crochet. The group now has over 800 members. She is a wife and mother of two grown children. Leah DiPilato is an English major with an MBA that turned into a biotech extraordinaire by day and crocheter by night. Her best friend from high school and her best friend from college both told her about the All Souls Trilogy multiple times, and she brushed them both off. Leah finally settled down to read A Discovery of Witches one summer day when she had jury duty. The book was finished within two days, and the second purchased immediately....the rest is history.

Jen Daine and Cait Parnell
Bloggers and podcasters, Chamomile and Clove

Jen and Cait began podcasting about the All Souls Universe in 2017 as a way to explore the intellectual and artistic merit of the All Souls Trilogy and the All Souls Universe. They are thrilled to be presenting at All Souls Con for the third time. Jen Daine is an occupational therapist with a BFA in creative writing. She first read A Discovery of Witches in 2016 on the recommendation of Cait, and read straight through the trilogy. Jen loves sharing literary discussions about the trilogy with Cait, as well as other members of the All Souls Fandom. In her spare time, Jen loves dancing, singing, participating in community musical theater, writing, growing orchids, gaming, camping and hiking with her husband and family, sewing, crochet, experimenting with home cocktails, and staring into space for long periods of time. Cait Parnell is a lawyer by day, podcaster by night. She borrowed A Discovery of Witches from her mother and read Shadow of Night while deployed in Kandahar. Cait loves books of all kinds, gardening, horses, gin martinis, blazers, oysters, vinyl, and her metal bassist husband. She belongs to two rescued pit bulls, Oliver and Dottie, and one elegant (but snooty) Thoroughbred named Mirabelle.