When the Grid was “The Grid”

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Date(s) - 04/21/2022
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

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When the Grid was “The Grid”

A Short History of Building Our Electric Power Networks

Presented by Julie Cohn, Ph.D., author of The Grid: Biography of an American Technology (MIT Press, 2017)

Research Historian, UH Center for Public Policy
Nonresident Scholar, Center for Energy Studies, Baker Institute

Julie A. Cohn, Ph.D., is a research historian in the Center for Public History at the University of Houston and a non-resident scholar at the Center for Energy Studies in Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Her work focuses on energy infrastructures, environmental history, technological change, and the relationships between government, business, and the public.

Cohn’s book, The Grid, Biography of an American Technology, examines the history of electrification in North America, and especially the story of how and why power companies chose to interconnect.

Other recent publications include “Texas CREZ Lines: How Stakeholders Shape Major Energy Infrastructure Projects” (online, November 2020), and “Historical Cases for Contemporary Electricity Decisions” (online, February 2020), Center for Energy Studies, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; “When the Grid was the Grid: The History of North America’s Brief Coast-to-Coast Interconnected Machine,” Proceedings of the IEEE, January, 2019; “Utilities as Conservationists? The Paradox of Electrification During the Progressive Era in North America,” chapter in Green Capitalism? Exploring the Crossroads of Environmental and Business History, 2017; and “Data, Power, and Conservation: The Early Turn to Information Technologies to Manage Energy Resources,” Information and Culture, July 2017. The latter article received the 2018 Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize. Cohn holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Houston and both B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology from Stanford University.


Recognition of attendance for continuing education will be provided upon request


Bookings are closed for this event.