Joyce Chaplin
James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History
History Humanities


Joyce E. Chaplin, BA (Northwestern), MA (Johns Hopkins), PhD (Johns Hopkins), is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History in the Department of History at Harvard University, where she teaches the histories of science, climate, colonialism, and environment. She is also an Affiliated Faculty Member in Harvard’s Department of the History of Science, an affiliate of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a Faculty Member of Harvard’s American Studies Program, and a Faculty Associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment where she is a convener of the Harvard Environmental History Working Group. She serves on the Faculty Executive Board of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture and is a Trustee of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the first historical society in the United States (1791). A former Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom, she has taught at six different institutions on two continents, an island, and a peninsula, and in a maritime studies program on the Atlantic Ocean. An award-winning author, Professor Chaplin’s major works include An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South, 1730-1815 (1993), Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500-1676 (2001), The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (2006), Round about the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit (2012), and (coauthored), The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: Rereading the Principle of Population (2016). She is the editor of Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography: A Norton Critical Edition (2012) and An Essay on the Principle of Population: A Norton Critical Edition (2017), and is a coeditor of two essay collections, Food in Time and Place (2014) and Genealogies of Genius (2016). Her work has been translated into French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Estonian, and, forthcoming, into Turkish and Chinese. Her reviews and essays have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal and Aeon. She is currently working on a history of resource conservation, climate change, and settler colonialism, “The Franklin Stove: Heat and Life in the Little Ice Age,” for which she received a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship. She tweets @JoyceChaplin1
Early American History

The Salata institute

The Salata Institute supports interdisciplinary research that leads to real-world action, including high-risk/high-reward projects by researchers already working in the climate area and new endeavors that make it easier for Harvard scholars, who have not worked on climate problems, to do so.