Work in progress
Ethyl War: Henry Ford, Charles Kettering, Bill Holmberg and the Fuel of the Future is a book about the agrarian, engineering and political battles over petroleum and biofuels. Based on both mass media and archival research, the book begins with the surprising history of fuels before petroleum, considers the fight between the whiskey trust and the oil trust, examines the battle for octane, and looks at the modern ethanol industry and its critics. The history of renewable energy in general, and ethanol fuel in particular, has all too often been overlooked or distorted for reasons that were never entirely supportable. These include, for example, the way traditional energy industries once dominated the field, or the way historians gravitate to "success" stories. But what if those traditional industries are no long paragons of success? What happens when great social and technological changes are in the wind? That's when we turn to serious history. As Thucydides said, we need history as a guide to the future, and as a possession for all time -- especially in approaching controversial questions like ethanol for fuel.
Brilliant! Exploring the history of Renewable Energy is a book about the long and surprising history of solar, wind, biofuels and water, and the conflicts between engineering and policy that emerged in the mass media. As French engineer Augustine Mouchot predicted in 1873: “The time will arrive when the industry of Europe will cease to find those natural resources, so necessary for it. Petroleum springs and coal mines are not inexhaustible but are rapidly diminishing in many places. Will man, then, return to the power of water and wind? Or will he emigrate where the most powerful source of heat sends its rays to all? History will show what will come.” What has come, it turns out, is bitter, ongoing debate about the social construction and deterministic qualities of energy technologies.
Revolutions in Communication is a critically acclaimed survey of media history now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher, Bloomsbury. The book has topped the Amazon sales list for media history for two years and has now gone into a second printing. The book is a social and technological history that explores four major epochs of the mass media through the technologies that characterized their development — printing, imaging, broadcasting and digital media. The historical narrative in Revolutions in Communication centers around technological change — a common thread that unites global media history. This approach also provides an alternative to nationalistic and professionally oriented narratives that have guided media history in the past.
Mass Media & Environmental Conflice with Mark Neuzil, published by Sage in 1996, is an award-winning history about the process of social change embodied in the news coverage of issues like smoke abatement, millinary massacres, wilderness preservation and leaded gasoline. The book is an historical exploration of the long forgotten history of the conservation movement through mass media as well as a critical examination of the media's role in fostering social change.
Research by Prof. K
Articles about Prof. K
- Tyee interview with Andrew Nikiforuk April 10, 2013 describes some of the problems and potentials of biofuels.
- With Good Reason featuring the history of radio Jan. 19, 2013.
- Thanks to Neil Young for a nod toward environmental history scholarship. What can we say but keep on rockin' in the free world.