School of Continuing and Professional Studies > Faculty & Staff > Faculty Directory > Donald L. Opitz

Donald Opitz

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  • Associate Professor, Director of Cannabis Studies
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  • Cannabis Studies
  • ​School of Continuing & Professional Studies

  • Faculty
  • 312-362-6426


A DePaul alumnus, Prof. Opitz (he/him) has devoted his career to advancing the education of nontraditional learners who seek to be leaders and agents of change in their professional, public, and personal spheres of life.

Prior to joining DePaul’s faculty in 2006, Prof. Opitz held teaching and administrative positions at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his doctorate in history of science and technology.

At DePaul’s School for Continuing and Professional Studies, Prof. Opitz has served in a range of administrative positions, including Interim Dean (2018-2020) and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management (2016-2018).

Prof. Opitz's ongoing research in the history of science focuses on women, gender, and sexuality in science, and science in Victorian culture. He is an editor of two books and author of more than 40 papers, including refereed journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. He is editor-in-chief of Endeavour, a leading journal in the history and philosophy of science, a volume co-editor of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project, and a general co-editor of the series, Gender, Colonialism, and Science (Routledge). His book-in-progress is provisionally titled, Daughters of Ceres: The Scientific Advancement of Women in Horticulture.

Prof. Opitz currently serves as vice president of the Commission on Women and Gender Studies of the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology; Treasurer of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, and Councilmember of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (representing Section L: History and Philosophy of Science).

Prof. Opitz is an affiliated faculty member of American Studies and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies, and he is an affiliated scholar in the Department of History.

Among his downtime activities, he especially enjoys running, gardening, and playing the French horn.

Recent Courses Taught

CAN 260 Introduction to Cannabis Studies​​​
LL 280 Liberal Arts in A​​ction: Rats in the C​i​ty
SNC 191 Issues in Science and Religion
SNC 193 Sexual Orientation & Science

Recent Awards and Grants

Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Keith S. Thomson Research Fellow, 2023-2024
DePaul Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, 2018-2020

Opitz, D.L., S. Bergwik, and B. Van Tiggelen, eds. (2016). Domesticity in the Making of Modern Science. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Lykknes, A., D.L. Opitz, and B. Van Tiggelen, eds. (2012). For Better or For Worse? Collaborative Couples in the Sciences. Basel: Birkhauser.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

Optiz, D.L. (2023). "Sealing Wax and String." In: Rentetzi, M ed. The Gender of Things How Epistemic and Technological Objects Become Gendered.​ London: Routledge.

Optiz, D.L. (2022). "Domesticities and the Sciences." In: Remmert, V., Achermann, and Stehrenberger, C.S., eds, (new) Histories of Science, in and beyond Modern Europe. Special issue of Histories 2(3), 259-269.

Opitz, D. L. (2022). “Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick, Country House Science, and Personas for British Women in Science at the turn of the Twentieth Century." In: Gehmacher, Johanna, Niskanen, Kirsti, and Prager, Katharina, eds, When Does the Genius do the Chores? Knowledge, Auto/Biography, and Gender. Special cluster in European Journal of Life Writing 11: WG13–43.

Opitz, D.L. (2019). “Cupcakes and Chemical Composition: Ida Freund's Legacy." Pp. 457-467 in Women in their Element: Selected Women's Contributions to the Periodic System, ed. Annette Lykknes and Brigitte Van Tiggelen. London: World Scientific.​​

Opitz, D.L. (2016). “Gender and Science.” Pp. 382-386 in A Companion to the History of American Science, ed. Mark A. Largent. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Opitz, D.L. (2014). "'Back to the land': Lady Warwick and the Movement for Women's Collegiate Agricultural Education" Agricultural History Review 62: 119-145

Opitz, D.L. (2014). "'The sceptre of her pow'r': Nymphs, Nobility, and Nomenclature in Early Victorian Education" British Journal for the History of Science 47: 67-94.

Opitz, D. L. (2013) "'A Triumph of Brains over Brute': Women and Science at the Horticultural College, Swanley, 1890-1910" Isis 104: 30-62.

Opitz, D. L. (2011). "Cultivating Genetics in the Country: Whittingehame Lodge, Cambridge." Pp. 73-98 in Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science, ed. C. W. J. Withers and D. N. Livingstone. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Opitz, D. L. (2010).  Three Generations in the Life of the Minnesota Women's Center: A History: 1960-2000, 2nd edn., University of Minnesota.