Research Interests

  • Environmental History
  • History of Science and Technology
  • World History
  • US History


  • Ph.D. in History, University of Delaware, DE, 1998
  • M.A. in History, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, 1989
  • B.A. in History, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, 1987

Awards, Honors, and Affiliations

  • Invited Scholar in Residence, Oslo Institute for Advanced Study, Norway, 2017.
  • Invited participant in the Aspen Institute’s Wye Faculty Seminar, Queenstown Maryland, 18-25 July 2015.
  • Selected by the Provost’s Office of Montana State University as Provost Distinguished Lecturer, 2014.
  • Charles & Nora L. Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research, January 2012
  • Awarded a $2,400 research grant from the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, April 2011
  •  Senior Research Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center, Munich, Germany, September 2011-August 2012 
  • George Perkins Marsh Best Book in Environmental History Prize, 2010, American Society for Environmental History, for Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines That Wired America and Scarred the Planet
  • Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines That Wired America and Scarred the Planet, selected as an “Outstanding Academic Title for 2009” by Choice, the review journal of the American Library Association. See: Choice, 47 (January 2010)
  •  Co-PI With Brett Walker, National Science Foundation Collaborative Grant, “Technological Symmetry and Hybrid Environments at the Ashio and Anaconda Copper Mines,” Award No. 0646644 for approximately $306,000, 2008-2012
  • Scholarship and Creativity Grant for research on the project, “Bio-Indicators, Hybrid Environments, and Vertical Symmetry at the Butte-Anaconda Copper Mining Complex,” 2006-2007,
  • Research Enhancement Award, Montana State University, Spring 2006
  • Scholarship and Creativity Grant for research on the project “Moving Mountains: The Technology of Environmental Mass Destruction,” 2004-2005
  • Huntington Fellowship, Huntington Library, San Marino, California, 1994
  • Study Scholarship, Middlebury College, Vermont, Summer 1993
  • Smithsonian Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Fall 1993
  • Dissertation Improvement Grant, National Science Foundation, 1993
  • Research Grant, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Fall 1992
  • H. B. du Pont Fellowship, University of Delaware, Newark, Fall 1992
  • Lyman Stewart-University of Delaware Internship Award, University of Delaware, Newark, Summer 1992
  • Merit Fellowship, University of Delaware, Newark, 1992-1993
  • Hagley Fellowship, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware, 1990-92
  • Best Overall Paper, Northwest Phi Alpha Theta Conference, Moscow, Idaho, April 1987

Select Publications

  • The Matter of History: How Things Create the Past (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming spring 2017.)
  • “Copper and Longhorns: Material and Human Power in Montana’s Smelter Smoke War, 1860-1910,” forthcoming in John McNeill and George Vrtis, eds., North American Mining and the Environment (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016).
  •  “The Persistence of Things: Copper and the Evolution of Space in Modernist America and Japan,” forthcoming in Economic History Yearbook (Germany, 2016).
  • *“Environmental History and Global Mining,” solicited chapter forthcoming in Stefan Berger, ed., Digging for Treasures (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). 
  • “Heralding a New Humanism: The Radical Implications of Chakrabarty’s Four Theses,” forthcoming in Perspectives (2015).
  •  “Against the Anthropocene: A Neo-Materialist Perspective,” History, Culture, and Modernity 3(2015): 1-28.
  • "The Ontology of Absence: Uniting Materialist and Ecological Interpretations at an Abandoned Open-Pit Copper Mine," Bjørnar Olsen and Þóra Pétursdóttir, eds., Ruin Memories: Materialities, Aesthetics and the Archaeology of the Recent Past (London: Routledge, 2014): 62-78.
  • "An Impure Nature: Memory, Geese, and Neo-Materialism at America’s Biggest Toxic Superfund Site,” Global Environment 11 (2013): 16-41.
  • “The Invention of Mass Destruction Mining, 1899,” in Global Environment 11 (2013): 203-204.
  • “The Neo-Materialist Flip,” Perspectives 5 (2013): 93-96.
  • “Frederick Winslow Taylor,” in Kathleen A. Brosnan, ed., Encyclopedia of Environmental History (New York: Facts on File, 2010).
  • Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines that Wired America and Scarred the Planet, (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2009).
  • “‘See America the Bountiful’: Butte, Anaconda, and the American Culture of Consumption,” Montana: The Magazine of Western History 56 (2007): 5-17.