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Department of Science and Technology Studies

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell University Science and Technology Studies

Sara Pritchard




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Sara Pritchard

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Science & Technology Studies

phone: 607-255-3691
room: 311 Morrill Hall

Office Hours, Fall 2016:
M 1:15 - 3:15 and by appointment


  • Ph.D., History, Stanford University

  • M.A., History, Stanford

  • B.A., History, University of Puget Sound

Graduate Fields:

  • Science & Technology Studies
  • Department of History

Awards and Distinctions:

  • "Light Pollution's Social and Ecological Consequences and Contexts," Scholars' Award (#1555767), Program in Science, Technology, and Society, National Science Foundation (April 2016-March 2019)

  • Envirotech's Best Article Prize (2005) for "Reconstructing the Rhône: The Cultural Politics of Nature and Nation in Contemporary France, 1945–1997," French Historical Studies 27 (2004): 766-799.

  • Rachel Carson Best Dissertation Prize, American Society for Environmental History.

Other News:

Research Interests

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.

Recent Courses Taught

  • Fall 2015 - (BSOC/STS 2061) Ethics and the Environment
    TR: 10:10-11:25, 4 credits

  • Fall 2015 - (STS 4231) Gender and Technology in Historical Perspectives
    R: 2:30-4:25, 4 credits

  • Spring 2014 - (STS 6181) Confluence: Environmental History and STS

  • Fall 2013 - (BSOC/STS 2061) Ethics and the Environment


Books and Edited Volumes:

Select Articles/Chapters:

  • “An Envirotechnical Disaster: Negotiating Nature, Technology, and Politics at Fukushima.” In Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, edited by Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett L. Walker. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013.
  • “Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies: Promises, Challenges, and Contributions.” In New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies, edited by Dolly Jørgensen, Finn Arne Jørgensen, and Sara B. Pritchard. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013.
  • “Envirotechnical Disaster at Fukushima: Nature, Technology and Politics.” In Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima Daiichi: Social, Political and Environmental Issues, edited by Richard Hindmarsh. New York: Routledge, 2013.
  • “‘Paris et le désert français’: Urban and Rural Environments in Post-World War II France.” In The Nature of Cities: Culture, Landscape, and Urban Space, edited by Andrew C. Isenberg, 175-191. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2006.