Sara B. Pritchard

Associate Professor


Professor Sara Pritchard is a historian of technology and an environmental historian.  Her first book, Confluence: The Nature of Technology and the Remaking of the Rhône (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011), examines the history of the transformation of France's Rhône River since World War II.  She shows not only how technological development and environmental management were central to state building and shifting political identities in France, but also how historical actors reworked the boundaries of nature and technology, both materially and discursively.  The book's Introduction outlines a theoretical framework for envirotechnical analysis, which scrutinizes the relationship between nature and technology, historically and analytically.  Sara's second book project, From Blue to Black Marble: Knowing Light Pollution in the Anthropocene, explores how different scientific communities have studied artificial light at night and specifically environmental light pollution since the 1970s.  This research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (Scholars' Award #1555767, Program in Science, Technology, and Society), as well as Cornell's Society for the Humanities and Institute for the Social Sciences. Sara works with graduate students not only in STS and History, but also in Design and Environmental Analysis, Development Sociology, History of Architecture and Natural Resources.

Research Focus

History of technology (including environmental management technologies, colonialism, and gender), environmental history, and their intersection (envirotech); environmental knowledge-making; environmental and technical expertise; conservation science, politics, and history.


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