writer and historian


credit: V.K. Wilde 2014

Brief bio.

I am a historian, environmental studies, and Science & Technology Studies (STS) scholar. I'm also the co-host of the internet's only undefeated podcast about small college life, Various Breads and Butters (try here too).

Academically, my research fits at the intersection of the histories of science, technology, and the environment with particular attention to industrial and sustainable agriculture. Since 2011, I have been a professor of Engineering Studies and Environmental Studies at Lafayette College and live in Easton, PA, with my family. I am also an editorial board member of the History for a Sustainable Future book series and a past contributor to The Believer and McSweeney’s. From 2005 until 2011, I taught in the Department of STS at U.Va., where I was a founder and director of The UVA Food Collaborative and founder and curator of the Thornton Hall Art Gallery.

I was trained as a historian and an engineer, worked in industry for a few years as a polymer researcher, and then went to graduate school to return to historical studies. I earned a Ph.D. on the History Track of STS from Virginia Tech in 2005, writing about U.S. environmental history and the history of science. That became Notes from the Ground. It was set within the early American Republic. My current work on the environmental, cultural, and scientific history of food adulteration (“Pure Adulteration”) carries that interest into the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Both projects try to figure out the origins of modern industrial food and agriculture. In teaching and local activities, I work with students, faculty, others across campus, and community members to move beyond the limitations of that industrial system. 

In the time left over I write for various forums outside the academy, some interviews, some satire, a few personal essays, and a fair amount of it on-line. If there’s any time after that, it's movies and reading and co-hosting VBB, which I already said above.

Contact info:
304 Acopian Engineering Center
Lafayette College
Easton, PA 18042