Etienne Benson

Membership:  2014

Member Bio

Etienne Benson is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD from MIT's Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society in 2008 and has been a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. He works at the intersections of environmental history, the history of science and technology, and animal studies. His book Wired Wilderness: Technologies of Tracking and the Making of Modern Wildlife (2010) focused on the impact of surveillance technologies on wildlife management and wilderness preservation in the United States in the late twentieth century. He has also published on the history of global infrastructures of environmental monitoring, the legal regulation of endangered species research, and the origins of the urban squirrel. He is currently working on a history of (the idea of) the environment.


  • "The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States." Journal of American History 100, no. 3 (2013): 691–710.
  • "One Infrastructure, Many Global Visions: The Commercialization and Diversification of Argos, a Satellite-Based Environmental Surveillance System." Social Studies of Science 42 (2012): 846–71.
  • "Endangered Science: The Regulation of Research by the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, 1971–1978." Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 42, no. 1 (2012): 30–61
  • "Autonomous Biological Sensor Platforms." Cabinet 41 (Spring 2011): 74–8
  • Wired Wilderness: Technologies of Tracking and the Making of Modern Wildlife. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
  • Publications