Benjamin W. Goossen is a historian of modern nationalism and the global environment. His work examines how human communities think and act on planetary scales in the age of the nation state, especially regarding science, religion, militarism, and the far right. Benjamin developed his current book project, ‘The Year of the Earth (1957-1958): Cold War Science and the Making of Planetary Consciousness,’ while completing his Ph.D. at Harvard University. This project offers the first global history of the International Geophysical Year, an intensive period of worldwide scientific collaboration in which tens of thousands of scientists working across every continent and ocean produced data to study Earth as a dynamic environmental system.
Drawing on sources collected from more than sixty archives in eighteen countries, ‘The Year of the Earth’ shows how environmental science has counterintuitively spurred social inequality and ecological collapse since the end of the Second World War, while at the same time helping to construct notions of our planet as a peaceful and universalist space.
Benjamin’s first book, Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era (Princeton University Press, 2017), tells the surprising story of a predominantly rural and historically pacifist religious community that developed a broad fascist constituency across three continents in concert with rising transnational sensibilities.
Expertise for Teaching and Mentoring of Ph.D. Researchers
As a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, Goossen has taught courses on modern Europe and the deep history of human ancestry. His teaching interests encompass the history of science, nationalism, and the environment across broad scales of time and space.