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faj

In my current research I examine the points in which technology intersects with people’s experience and understanding of nature, on local and global scales. I teach history of technology and digital history at Umeå University.

I am employed as Associate Professor (docent) in History of Technology and Environment at the Department of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Umeå University. Since 2010 I have been active in developing Umeå Studies in Science, Technology, and Environment as an interdisciplinary research group at the intersection between environmental humanities and science and technology studies. My background is as a historian trained in Science and Technology Studies (PhD, Trondheim, 2007). I am an affiliate researcher with HUMlab, where I also serve on the Board.

In my research I have looked at the history of the scientific kitchen (MA thesis, Trondheim, 2001) and the infrastructure of beverage container recycling in Scandinavia and the United States (PhD dissertation and book, 2007 and 2011). I am currently wrapping up a large study of the history of the Norwegian leisure cabin, writing a small book on the history of littering, and developing a new project on encounters with sensors and data in nature. See my complete list of publications here.

In my teaching I highlight active student learning, community building, and discussions. I generally lecture very little, but prefer to facilitate student presentations and discussions as a way or learning, something which most students come to appreciate during the course of the semester. I integrate digital tools and resources in all my classes, including Zotero and WordPress. I also teach widely outside my own home discipline, for students in engineering, gender studies, computer science, design, and architecture. See here for an overview of my current and upcoming courses.

I am happy to serve as advisor for MA and PhD students working on topics that relate to my interests, in particular historical perspectives on technology, nature, design, architecture, consumption, computer games, waste, transportation, digital history, and animals. I currently serve as PhD advisor for Tomas Karlsson and Peter Bennesved (both in Umeå), and have advised MA students in Umeå and at University of Oslo.

I am deeply engaged in international organizations and journals in my field. In 2009 I founded the Nordic Environmental History Network with support from Nordforsk. I have served on the Executive Council of Society for the History of Technology(2011-2013) and on the Board of the European Society for Environmental History(2009-2013). I am Digital Content Editor for Environmental History and a Contributing Editor of Technology and Culture. Together with Sarah Elkind (San Diego State University) I am a founding editor of the new book series Intersections: Histories of environment, science, and technology in the Anthropocene with University of Pittsburgh Press.

Together with Dolly Jørgensen, I have started the New Natures Foundry, an initiative exploring the complex relationship between storytelling, nature, and technology through old and new historical methods.

Key publications

Making a Green Machine: The Infrastructure of Beverage Container Recycling (Rutgers University Press, 2011)

This book examines the modern history of recycling of bottles and cans in Norway, Sweden, and the United States. The book especially focuses on the development of technological solutions for handling a problem that has been transformed from infrastructural to environmental over the course of the last 40 years, and the implications of this transformation for consumers, policy makers, and businesses. This project grows out of my interest in the histories of waste, recycling, and technologically mediated modern environmentalism.

Reviews:

New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), co-edited with Dolly Jørgensen and Sara B. Pritchard.

New Natures broadens the dialogue between the disciplines of science and technology studies (STS) and environmental history in hopes of deepening and even transforming understandings of human-nature interactions. The volume presents historical studies that engage with key STS theories, offering models for how these theories can help crystallize central lessons from empirical histories, facilitate comparative analysis, and provide a language for complicated historical phenomena. Overall, the collection exemplifies the fruitfulness of cross-disciplinary thinking.

Reviews:

Norske hytter i endring: Om bærekraft og behag (Tapir Academic Press, 2011), co-edited with Helen Jøsok Gansmo and Thomas Berker.

This book is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary collection of essays exploring issues of sustainability in modern and historical Norwegian cabins, featuring contributions from historians, literature scholars, sociologists, architects, and geographers.

Reviews: