Sara B. Pritchard

Associate Professor


Professor Sara Pritchard is an environmental STS scholar specializing in the history of technology and environmental history. Her current research program critically examines the history, science, and ethics of excessive artificial light at night. Sara’s book, Night as Environment: Light Pollution and the Anthropocene, explores how different scientific disciplines have studied light pollution since the 1970s. Her research has been supported by grants from the US National Science Foundation (Scholars’ Award #1555767, Program in Science, Technology, and Society), as well as Cornell’s Society for the Humanities, Center for the Social Sciences, and Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.


Sara’s first book, Confluence: The Nature of Technology and the Remaking of the Rhône, (Harvard University Press, 2011), examined the history of the transformation of France’s Rhône River since World War II. The book’s Introduction and a related article outline a theoretical framework for envirotechnical analysis, which scrutinizes the relationship between nature and technology, both historically and analytically. She has also coauthored (with Carl A. Zimring) Technology and the Environment in History (2020), coedited (with Dolly Jørgensen and Finn Arne Jørgensen) New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies (2013), and coedited special issues in Environment and Planning A (2016), Journal of Energy History / Revue d’histoire de l’énergie (2019), and Minding Nature (2020).

Sara has worked with graduate students in not only STS and History, but also Anthropology, Asian Studies, Design and Environmental Analysis, Global Development, History of Architecture and Urban Development, and Natural Resources.

Research Focus

Environmental STS; environmental history, history of technology, and their intersection (envirotech); environmental humanities; environmental knowledge-making; environmental and technical expertise; conservation science, politics, and history.


Books and Edited Volumes:

Special Issues: 

  • “Climate Change, Coronavirus, and Environmental Justice: A Collection of Undergraduate Creative Projects” (co-edited with Rebecca Harrison and Amanda Domingues). Minding Nature (Fall 2020). 
  • “Light(s) and Darkness(es) / Lumière(s) et Obscurité(s): Shifting Historical Relations” (co-edited with Stéphanie Le Gallic). Special issue of Journal of Energy History / Revue d’histoire de l’énergie 2 (July 2019).  
  • "Knowledge and the Politics of Land" (co-edited with Steven A. Wolf and Wendy Wolford).  Special issue of Environment and Planning A 48 (April 2016): 616-770.

Select Articles/Chapters:

Interviews and Quotations:

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