Megan Black is a historian of U.S. environmental management and foreign relations in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is the author of The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power, which analyzes the surprising role of the U.S. Department of the Interior in pursuing minerals around the world—in Indigenous lands, formal territories, foreign nations, the oceans, and outer space. This work garnered four prizes in different subfields, including the George Perkins Marsh Prize from the American Society of Environmental History, Stuart L. Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, W. Turrentine-Jackson Prize from the Western History Association, and the British Association of American Studies Prize. Professor Black has published articles and review essays in The Journal of American History, Modern American History, Diplomatic History, and American Quarterly. Her new book project follows a community in Colorado who battled a powerful international corporation intent on blasting through their mountain in search of a mineral of increasing importance to 1970s globalization. Where minerals and mining reach deep into the Earth in particular places, the networks of power driving and opposing extraction extend outward across the surface of the globe. This new work explores how international networks of industrialists and environmentalists fought in local places for the power to shape the more-than-human world.
Professor Black previously taught in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics. She has conducted postdoctoral research on fellowships from the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University and the John Sloane Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College.
At MIT, Professor Black offers the courses U.S. Environmental Governance: From National Parks to the Green New Deal and Global Commodities, American Dreams. Her teaching interests span the fields of environmental history, foreign relations history, history of capitalism, science and technology studies, and histories of the U.S. West and settler colonialism.