Fellow: Awarded 2020
Field of Study: History of Science, Technology and Economics
Competition: US & Canada
Chris Otter teaches history at The Ohio State University. He studies the history of technologies of many sizes and at many scales. He is the author of two books: The Victorian Eye: A Political History of Light and Vision in Britain, 1800-1910, and Diet for a Large Planet: Industrial Britain, Food Systems and World Ecology, both published by the University of Chicago Press (in 2008 and 2020 respectively). The Victorian Eye received the 2009 Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the American Historical Association and the 2008 Sonia Rudikoff Prize from the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. For the period of the 2020-2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, he will be working on his long-term research project on the history and concept of the technosphere, the sum total of all human technologies comprehended at multiple scales, from the tools and devices in our hands to our slowly warming atmosphere. The Technosphere: A Deep Human History will provide a history of how homo sapiens has, over the course of millennia, engineered a gigantic niche which sustains, empowers, captivates, entertains, frustrates, divides, and threatens our entire species.