History of Science, Technology, and the Environment

Over the past several years, historians have produced exciting scholarship at the intersections of the History of Science, Technology, and the Environment.  Although these sub-disciplines have developed separately – with distinct scholarly traditions, methodologies, and even their own journals and professional associations – scholars at the University of Virginia have led a drive to integrate these approaches in order to answer fundamental questions about how humans have come to understand “nature,” what technologies they have constructed to interact with the nonhuman world, and how these interactions have wrought significant changes to both nonhuman and human systems.  Beginning in 1996, historians in the History Department and the Engineering School’s Department of Science, Technology, and Society organized the Committee for the History of Environment and Technology (“CHET”) to advance this integrated approach, eventually securing a National Science Foundation grant to fund graduate and post-graduate research demonstrating its utility.  This mission to harness all the methodological tools of environmental, scientific, and technological studies continues today with UVA’s current Committee on the History of Environment, Science, and Technology (CHEST), which sponsors public talks and colloquia featuring innovative and insightful new works from graduate students and renowned scholars employing this integrated approach.  

While UVA faculty and graduate students remain fundamentally grounded within the three disciplines of environmental, scientific, and technological studies, this intellectual community is also committed to demonstrating how insights gained through these perspectives reach across traditional disciplinary boundaries to inform the important work being done in political, economic, social, and cultural history.  Recognizing the importance of this interdisciplinary pursuit, the Corcoran Department of History has recently created a Major Field of Study for graduate students interested in these issues.  Mobilizing the ample intellectual resources of faculty  in both the History Department and the Department of Science, Technology and Society, UVA offers a wide range of expertise in American and global environmental history, evolutionary history, energy history, public policy history, business and economic history, and the “contextual” approach to the history of technology.  Faculty and graduate students working in these areas include:    


Brian Balogh

Professor of History, Department of History, University of Virginia

Director and Chair, The Miller Center National Fellowship Program, Compton Professor

20th Century U.S. Political; American Political Development; Environmental History; History of Science and Technology

John K. Brown

Associate Professor
Technological and Industrial History

W. Bernard Carlson
History of Technology; American Business History; Social and Cognitive Theories of Innovation; Entrepreneurship

Christian W. McMillen
Assistant Professor
Native American; U.S. West

Karen Parshall
Professor of History and Mathematics
History of Science

Robert Stolz
Assistant Professor
Japanese History, Social Theory

Graduate Students

Frank Garmon

American Economic and Business History; Taxation and Public Finance in the Early Republic; History of Technology

Andrew Meade McGee
20th Century U.S. Political and Cultural; American Political Development; Global Environmental and Technological History

Allen Miller
U.S. Early Republic; Technology

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
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Charlottesville, VA 22904

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