Committee for the History of Environment and Technology
CHET supports a post-doctoral fellow to develop teaching skills and publish original work at the intersection of environmental history and the history of technology. Candidates for the postdoc have Ph.D. degrees in the history of technology or environmental history and use the fellowship to build knowledge in the complementary discipline.
Previous postdocs developed courses and initiated second book projects that integrate the disciplines of environmental history and the history of technology. Their successful use of the fellowship serves as a model for this proposal. In filling the fellowship, we seek people who traditionally are under-represented in these fields. Environmental historians and historians of technology have begun to address issues of gender, race and class in their work and the field attracts increasing numbers of young people interested in pursuing these themes. The fellow is able to work with several faculty who publish in these related areas.
The fellowship is for three years, subject to annual renewal. The appointment is for 12 months, so that the fellow is paid during the summer and free to pursue his or her research. The fellow receives, full faculty benefits and a research budget of $2,000. The STS Department provides office space, a computer workstation, photocopying, and phone service. Faculty mentors support professional development by setting goals three times a year and assessing the fellows progress.
Currently the fellow teaches two courses each year. Typically, they are two sections of STS 401, Western Technology & Culture, or STS 402, Engineering, Ethics, and Society. By requiring only one preparation and using a standard syllabus (or modifying it to reflect the fellows interests), this structure enables the fellow to expand their teaching expertise while minimizing the time investment. In addition, the fellow may develop courses reflecting his or her interests; One fellow, for instance, taught a graduate seminar on global environmental history.
The fellow participates in the semi-monthly STS Division colloquium, a gathering in which colleagues share original work. There are other opportunities on campus to share original work and meet colleagues. The research budget included with the fellowship enables the fellow to attend and propose panels to annual meetings of SHOT and the American Society for Environmental History. During his or her term, the post-doc participates works closely with the PIs in writing research proposals and so has the opportunity to learn grantsmanship first-hand.
At the end of the fellowship, the fellow is expected to have a first book under contract and plans made for a second research project. As a result, the postdoc should be a highly competitive candidate for a faculty appointment at another university.
Alex Checkovich is the current postdoctoral fellow.
Betsy Mendelsohn, who was the fellow for 2001-2004, earned a Ph.D. in legal history and used the fellowship to prepare the book manuscript Architects of Our Own Abiding Place: Law and Chicagos Waters, 1820-1920. Her next project examines the introduction of scientific and technical data and expertise into legal venues for the resolution of environmental conflicts in the period 1860-1930.
|Paul Sutter, who was the fellow from 1997-2000, earned a Ph.D. in environmental history and used the fellowship to develop skills in the history of technology. During his tenure, he completed a book, based on his dissertation, titled Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement (2002). Sutter successfully applied for a Smithsonian Institution grant to develop his second project, an environmental and technological history of U.S. sanitary engineering during the construction of the Panama Canal, and he secured a tenure-track position at the University of Georgia after completing the fellowship. Sutter is currently Assistant Professor in history with an emphasis on Environmental History at University of Georgia.|