Carnegie Mellon University

Edmund Russell

Edmund Russell

Professor of History

  • Baker Hall 340-D
  • 412-268-2059


Edmund Russell studies environmental history and history of technology. Major research topics have included the environmental and technological history of war, coevolution of human and non-human populations, and the environmental and technological history of capitalism. He is currently working on two books. One examines the coevolution of dogs and workers in England during industrialization. The other is a history of the U.S. transcontinental telegraph, which was built in 1861 and paved the way for the transcontinental railroad of 1869.

Professor Russell has published numerous articles and books, including:

  • Edmund Russell, Greyhound Nation: A Coevolutionary History of England, 1200-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
  • Sally K. Fairfax and Edmund Russell (editors), Guide to U. S. Environmental Policy (CQ Press, 2014).
  • Edmund Russell, Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
  • Richard P. Tucker and Edmund Russell (editors), Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward an Environmental History of War (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2004).
  • Edmund Russell, War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Professor Russell’s honors include:

  • President-Elect, American Society for Environmental History.
  • Dibner Distinguished Chair in the History of Science and Technology, Huntington Library, California (academic year 2019-2020).
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians.
  • Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Distinguished Professor of United States History, University of Kansas.
  • Vice President for Research, American Historical Association.
  • Leopold-Hidy Prize, American Society for Environmental History and Forest History Society.
  • Edelstein Prize, Society for the History of Technology.
  • Forum for the History of Science in America Prize.
  • State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award.
  • Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award, University of Virginia.
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
  • Rachel Carson Prize, American Society for Environmental History.
  • B.A. with distinction and highest honors, Stanford University.

Professor Russell has a keen interest in interdisciplinary research and teaching. He earned a B.A. in English and a Ph.D. in biology while en route to becoming a historian. His research methods often synthesize history with biology, especially ecology, evolution, and neuroscience. After teaching at other universities, Professor Russell came to Carnegie Mellon in 2019 partly because of the university’s emphasis on creative, interdisciplinary work.

Professor Russell encourages applications from potential graduate students in environmental and technological history. He is especially interested in applicants who want to do risky, pathbreaking research that synthesizes history with other disciplines. Professor Russell encourages those who might want to work with him to get in touch to discuss interests before applying. Professor Russell’s graduate advisees have gone on to tenure track jobs at research universities (e.g., Ohio State University) and teaching-intensive institutions (e.g., Christopher Newport University), as well as to employment in government (U.S. Department of State). Their research has won prizes, including the CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Fine Arts (awarded to one dissertation in the United States or Canada) and the Michael Katz Award for the best dissertation from the Urban History Association.


Ph.D.: University of Michigan, 1993
Department Member Since: 2019