Julie A. Cohn, Ph.D., is a research historian in the Center for Public History at the University of Houston. 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" (MIT Press, 2017), examines the history of electrification in North America, and especially the story of how and why power companies chose to interconnect. Cohn has authored and co-authored articles in the Journal of Global History, Proceedings of the IEEE, Information and Culture, and IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. In addition, she has contributed chapters to several edited volumes on topics related to electrification and the environment.
Current projects include examination of the Texas initiative to bring wind power into the state’s grid through Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ); electrification in Texas over the past century; the long history of storage batteries for electric power systems; and, for an edited volume, representation of electrical blackouts in American film. Through collaboration with other researchers in the Center for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute, Cohn hopes to apply historical lessons to contemporary energy challenges.
Cohn holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Houston and both B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from Stanford University.