Josh Lappen specialises in electrification and energy history, with special attention to the politics of infrastructure and landscape. His doctoral dissertation examines shifting cultural understandings of natural resources, landscape, and electricity in 20th century Southern California.
His prior research on the electrification of greater Los Angeles, which was supported by a Marshall Scholarship, has won the RAI’s Carwardine Prize. He holds an MS in Atmosphere/Energy Engineering and a BA in Classics from Stanford University.
Josh writes regularly for non-specialist audiences in an effort to help uncover the obscured origins of today’s energy systems, and because he loves talking about this stuff:
- “San Francisco’s Misguided Climate Fight with PG&E.” SFGate, August 2021.
- “Exhuming California’s St. Francis Dam Disaster.” The Nation, May 2021.
- "How Climate-Driven Disasters Threaten Climate Progress." The Nation, October 2020.
- “A Policy History of Federal Coal Leasing: Past and Present Challenges.” Wyoming Law Review, 2019.