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Harvard University

Ben Goossen web

Ben Goossen is a scholar of global and transnational history at Harvard University. His current project, "The Year of the Earth (1957-1958): Cold War Science and the Making of Planetary Consciousness", is an interpretive history of the International Geophysical Year. Drawing on research conducted on six continents, it illuminates the intersections of science and geopolitics—including Antarctic law, the rise of Big Data, plate tectonic theory, and the discovery of global warming—at the dawn of the space age. "The Year of the Earth" offers a global perspective of the International Geophysical Year, considering the shifting dynamics of Cold War competition, cross-border humanitarianism, and anti-colonial nationalism. Interrogating the unequal power relations that have structured the production and uses of planetary knowledge, it illuminates the material contexts and diverse forms of labor contributing to the evolution of global consciousness during the second half of the twentieth century. Goossen's work includes publications on the history of religion and migration from global perspectives; he is the author of Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era, published in 2017 by Princeton University Press.

  • Research Projects / Interests: 
    • International Geophysical Year (1957-1958)
    • Global and Transnational History
    • Environmental History
    • History of Religion

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Keywords: History, Geophysics, Religion, Environment, Geography