Paul Josephson

Membership:  2011

Member Bio

Paul Josephson teaches Russian and Soviet history at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He is a specialist in the history of big science and technology in the twentieth century. Over the past ten years, Josephson has turned increasingly to environmental history in a series of comparative studies in which he examines the impact of large scale projects (hydroelectricity, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, forestry, industrial fisheries, nuclear power, and so on) on various ecosystems and local residents. He is a specialist in the history of the fish stick (Fischstäbchen) and in the irreversible environmental impact of jet skis, snowmobiles, and ATVs. He has also spent several years conducting research in the former Soviet Union. With colleagues at the Central European University in Budapest, he is finishing an environmental history of the USSR. An avid runner, Josephson also writes for New England Runner.
At the Center, Josphenson worked on an environmental history of Soviet arctic conquest.
Film Interview with Paul Josephson
Website Colby College, Department of History


  • “Technology and the Conquest of the Soviet Arctic.” Russian Review 70, no. 1 (2011).
  • “War on Nature as Part of the Cold War: The Strategic and Ideological Roots of Environmental Degradation in the USSR.” In Environmental Histories of the Cold War, edited by J. R. McNeill and Corinna R. Unger, 21-49. New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Would Trotsky Wear a Bluetooth? Technological Utopianism Under Socialism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
  • “The Ocean’s Hotdog:  A Brief History of the Fish Stick.” Technology and Culture 49 (January 2008): 1-21.  For discussion, see “Schreckender Meere,” on the Fischstäbchen in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 11, 2009, p. 4.
  • Motorized Obsession: Life, Liberty and the Small Bore Engine. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
  • Publications