Reflections on how popular opinions about the appropriate role of public enterprises have devolved since the founding of the American Public Works Association in 1937, and how historical inquiry can contribute to society’s understanding of this trend and its consequences.
Ph.D., 1984, M.A., 1978, B.A., 1975, University of California at Santa Barbara
- Environmental History
- History of Technology
- History of Science and Technology Policy
- The history of volunteerism and public lands
- The material culture of American environmentalism
- The intersections of public and environmental history
- Lighthouse Postcards (a Web exhibit launched in 2004)
- Make the Dirt Fly! Building the Panama Canal (1999–2001)
- Oil from the Arctic: Building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (1997–1998)
- Extending the Legacy: Planning America’s Capital for the 21st Century (1996–1997)
- Tunnels! (1993–1994)
- Manufactured Weather (1993)
- Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital (annual event; 1993- )
- Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective (author interview; 2004)
- Three Mile Island: A Look Back after 25 Years (panel discussion; 2004)
- Noontime lecture series on the history of Washington, D.C. (1996–1997)
- Capital Cities: Adaptable Infrastructure for the Next Century (symposium; 1996)
- Forum on Environmental Justice (lecture series; 1995–1998)
- Editorial Board, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (2010- )
- Editorial Board, Environmental Justice (2007– )
- Editorial Adviser, RFF Press (2003–11)
- Editorial Board, Environmental History (2002–10)
- Editorial Committee, Technology and Culture (1998–2002)
- Founder and senior co-editor of the University of Akron Press book series on Technology and the Environment (1993–2001)
- National Board of Editors, The Public Historian (1993–98)
- Editorial Board, Forest & Conservation History (1993–95)
- Book Review Editor, Technology and Culture (1987–95)
- Book Review Editor, Science, Technology, & Human Values (1986–87)
- Distinguished Service Award, American Society for Environmental History (2011)
- Smithsonian Secretary's Research Prize (2009)
- Board of Directors, Forest History Society (2005–11)
- President, Public Works Historical Society (2002–03)
- Thomas Phelan Endowed Lecturer, Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy, New York (2002)
- President, American Society for Environmental History (1999–2001)
- Charles Thomson Prize for an outstanding contribution to research in the history of the Federal Government (awarded by the Society for History in the Federal Government, 1999)
- Board of Directors, American Society for Macro-Engineering (1997–2008)
- Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award (1995)
- Abel Wolman Award for the best book published on the history of public works (awarded by the Public Works Historical Society, 1994)
- Smithsonian Institution Regents' Publication Program Scholar (1993–94)
- G. Wesley Johnson Prize for the most outstanding article in The Public Historian (awarded by the National Council on Public History, 1993)
- Trilateral Committee on Environmental Education (one of three charter U.S. commissioners appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency to the nine-member Canadian/Mexican/United States committee, 1992–96)
- James Madison Prize for the most outstanding article on federal history (awarded by the Society for History in the Federal Government, 1992)
- Trustee, Public Works Historical Society (1990–97; 1999–2001; 2003–04)
- Competitively selected member of the NSF-funded American Delegation to the NATO Advanced Study Institute on “Managing Science in a ‘Steady State’,” Il Ciocco, Italy (1989)
- Visiting Scholar, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1988–89)
- American Historical Association Congressional Fellowship (1984–85)
- Ohio State University Postdoctoral Fellowship (1984-85; declined)
- Gerald R. Ford Foundation Grant-in-Aid for research at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library (1984)
- Frederick K. Weyerhaeuser Award for the most outstanding article in the Journal of Forest History (awarded by the Forest History Society, 1984)
- University of California Patent Fund Research Grant (1982–83)
- Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship (1981–82)
- Center of Military History Visiting Research Fellowship (1981–82)
- U.S. Army Military History Institute Advanced Research Project Associate (1981)
- Richard Mayberry Prize for outstanding graduate work in the Department of History, University of California at Santa Barbara (1981)
- University of California Regents' Fellowship (1980–81)
- Comprehensive doctoral examinations passed with distinction (1980)
- President, Gamma Iota Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the international honor society in history) (1979–80)
- Competitively selected Participant, U.S. Student Pugwash Conference on Science and Ethical Responsibility (1979)
- Short-Term Research Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution (1979)
- American Historical Association
- American Society for Environmental History
- Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences
- Forest History Society
- Public Works Historical Society
- Society for History in the Federal Government
- Society for the History of Technology
A history of society's changing perceptions, values, actions, and laws pertaining to wetland environments in the United States.
A discussion of two prize-winning documentaries—Kelly Duane’s Monumental: David Brower’s Fight for Wild America and Bonnie Kreps’s Arctic Dance: The Mardy Murie Story—and the contributions of film biographies to the teaching of environmental history.
Reflections on the expansion and internationalization of environmental justice as a field of study.
A historical assessment of President Ronald Reagan’s environmental record.
An evaluation of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ sesquicentennial exhibition, which explores the profound—and frequently unappreciated—contributions of public works to the functioning of modern society.
An examination of the U. S. Congress’s evolving need for scientific and technical advice, the inherent difficulties in fulfilling this need, and a historical assessment of the mechanisms put in place to provide the legislative branch with independent technical counsel.
Discusses how and why environmental history should be integrated into exhibitions developed at both cultural and scientific institutions. The essay is a revised version of the author’s presidential address before the American Society for Environmental History.
A review essay of Dennis L. Soden’s edited book, The Environmental Presidency, which deals with the changing attitudes and actions toward natural resources among America’s chief executives.
A biographical sketch of the civil engineer best known for his work on the Panama Canal.
A collection of essays addressing the history of tunnels and tunneling from ancient times to the present, including discussions of the politics and construction of the Channel Tunnel and the ill-fated Super-conducting Super Collider. This richly illustrated volume also includes a detailed account of the Smithsonian’s Tunnels! exhibition.
A historical assessment of President Jimmy Carter’s environmental record. Recipient of the Society for History in the Federal Govern-ment’s 1999 Charles Thomson Prize.
A review essay of Orrin H. Pilkey and Katherine L. Dixon’s critique of coastal engineering and beach restoration, The Corps and the Shore.
A survey of publishing trends in the history of technology and environmental history that focuses on the growing number of works that have addressed the interplay of technology and the environment. It also suggests a range of opportunities for future research.
Reflections on the research opportunities that exist for those historians willing to analyze the interconnections between technology and the natural environment.
Examines the combined efforts of the nation’s leading scientific and engineering societies to provide technically trained staff to the U.S. Congress and its support agencies.
A biographical sketch of the first woman to manage a major transit system in the United States. Turner headed the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority from 1983 to 1990.
This history of the largest and most controversial water project ever built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers interweaves analyses of changing environmental values, engineering, and pork-barrel politics. Recipient of the Public Works Historical Society’s 1994 Abel Wolman Award and the 1995 Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award.
Traces the changes in the documentation and preservation of cultural heritage sites as influenced by the cultural resources management strategies employed during the construction of the nation’s largest water project in the 1970s and 1980s. Recipient of the National Council on Public History’s 1993 G. Wesley Johnson Prize.
A history of the U.S. government’s support of chemistry instrumentation, 1950–1990.
A historical overview of the patterns of collaboration among investigators in different fields of science and how federal science policy has attempted to account for those changes.
Analyzes the maturation of environmentalism in the American South during the 1970s as expressed in the opposition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ massive waterway in Mississippi and Alabama. Recipient of the Society for History in the Federal Government’s 1992 James Madison Prize.