CBI Staff: David E. Nye
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Center for the History of Information Technology

David E. Nye
Senior Research Fellow

Contact Information
Charles Babbage Institute
University of Minnesota
211 Andersen Library
222 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Current and Recently Completed Research

I am an American historian, born in Boston, specializing in the history of energy, particularly electricity, although some of my work explores other areas as well. I am active in the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), and I have served on the Executive Board there as well as on two of its prize committees. My teaching career since 1981 has been in Denmark, and I helped to host the SHOT annual meeting in Copenhagen a few years ago. I have also been active in several associations of American Studies, notably in the Nordic countries and the European Association of American Studies, and for a decade I served on the Danish-American Fulbright Board and Scholarship Committee.

Brief Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D., American Studies, University of Minnesota, 1974.

M.A., American Studies, University of Minnesota, 1971.

B.A., American Studies, Amherst College, 1968.

Prizes, Awards, and Distinctions
Knighthood conferred by the Queen of Denmark, 2013

Leonard da Vinci Medal, Society for the History of Technology, 2005

Danmarks Magisterforegning, Research Prize, 2015

Sally Hacker Book Prize, Society for the History of Technology, 2009

Elected By-fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge University, 1999

The Dexter Book Prize, Society for the History of Technology, 1993

Able Wolman Book Award, American Public Works Association, 1991

Fellowships and Visiting Positions
Visiting Professor, Warwick University, UK, 2005-2006

Welch Visiting Professor, American Studies, Notre Dame, winter, 2003

Carlsberg Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge University, fall 1999

Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor, Leeds University, spring 1998

Fellow, Center for Mankind and Nature, Danish Research Council, 1996

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Research Fellow, 1991-1992

American Council of Learned Societies, Research Fellowship, 1986

Visiting Scholar, History of Science, Harvard University, 1981-1982

National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, held at MIT, 1981-1982

Fulbright Lecturer, Oviedo University, Spain, 1977-1978

Select Book Publications
The Environment Humanities [with Robert Emmett] (MIT Press, 2017).

American Illuminations (MIT Press, 2018).

America’s Assembly Line, 1913-2013 (MIT Press, 2013). Chinese translation in preparation.

When the Lights Went Out: A History of American Blackouts (MIT Press, 2010).

Technology Matters: Questions to Live With (MIT Press, 2006). Paper, 2007. Translated into French and German, 2008.

America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings (MIT Press, 2003).

Consuming Power: A Cultural History of American Energies (MIT Press, 1998).

Narratives and Spaces: Technology and the Construction of American Culture (Columbia University Press, 1997).

American Technological Sublime (MIT Press, 1994) [reviewed in Nature, 4.13.95].

Electrifying America: Social Meanings of a New Technology, 1880-1940 (MIT Press, 1990). New York Times Notable Book of 1991.

Image Worlds: Corporate Identities at General Electric (MIT Press, 1985). Japanese edition, Kyushu University Press, 1997.

Aside from books, I have written c. 200 articles, book chapters, and book reviews, and served as a peer reviewer for many journals and university presses. A more detailed CV, including European publications, is available upon request.