Benjamin Cohen is a historian, environmental studies, and Science & Technology Studies (STS) scholar. He also co-hosts the internet's only undefeated podcast about small college life, Various Breads and Butters (try here too) and is an Associate Professor of Engineering Studies and Environmental Studies at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.
He is a Series Editor for “Public Thinker” at Public Books, an editorial board member for MIT Press’s History for a Sustainable Future book series, and a long-ago Lists Editor at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. From 2005 until 2011, he taught in the Department of STS at U.Va., where he was a founder and director of The UVA Food Collaborative and founder and curator of the Thornton Hall Art Gallery.
Cohen was trained as a historian and an engineer, worked in industry for a few years as a polymer researcher, and then pursued graduate work as a return to historical studies. He earned a Ph.D. on the History Track of STS from Virginia Tech (2005), writing about U.S.
environmental history and the history of science. That became Notes from the Ground, set within the early American Republic. His current work on sincerity, artifice, nature, and food (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, he works with students, faculty, others across campus, and community members to move beyond the limitations of that industrial system. The co-edited Technoscience and Environmental Justice (with Gwen Ottinger) is a contribution to this second area of research.
In the time left over he writes for various forums outside the academy, some interviews, some satire, a few personal essays, and most of it on-line. After that, it's movies, reading and co-hosting VBB.
304 Acopian Engineering Center
Easton, PA 18042