“The Climate Change Comedy Hour”
Aaron Sachs is Professor of History and American Studies at Cornell University, where he has taught since 2004. In 2006, he published The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism (Viking), which won Honorable Mention for the Frederick Jackson Turner Award, given to the best first book in the field of U.S. history by the Organization of American Historians (OAH). In 2013, he published Arcadian America: The Death and Life of an Environmental Tradition (Yale U. Press), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. Sachs has also published articles in such journals as Environmental History, Rethinking History, American Quarterly, and History and Theory, and he has been recognized with prizes for his excellence in scholarship, teaching, and the mentoring of graduate students. He is co-editor, with Professor John Demos, of a book series at Yale University Press called New Directions in Narrative History. His interests range from creative writing to the history of consumer culture, from social and environmental justice to the development of ecology as a science, from landscape politics to the role of the environmental humanities in society at large. At Cornell, he is the founder of the Cornell Roundtable on Environmental Studies Topics (CREST) and co-leader of an initiative on “Sustainability via the Humanities and the Arts,” sponsored by Cornell’s Society for the Humanities. He was also part of the faculty-led initiative to create a new cross-college major at Cornell called Environment and Sustainability, officially launched in Fall 2019. Sachs is also the faculty sponsor of a graduate student working group called Historians Are Writers, which has held a History Slam every May for the past ten years. He advises graduate students in History, English, Science and Technology Studies, Anthropology, History of Architecture, City and Regional Planning, and Natural Resources. Currently, he is working on three projects: a joint study of Herman Melville and Lewis Mumford, broadly about the importance of retrospection in dark times; a deep history of the idea of environmental justice; and a manifesto arguing for the usefulness of comedy in coping with climate change.