Skip Navigation

Elizabeth Grennan Browning

Skip Side Navigation

Elizabeth Grennan Browning

Jennifer Davis

Elizabeth Grennan Browning is an Assistant Professor of US history, specializing in environmental history, urban history, the history of capitalism, and intellectual history. Her first book, Nature’s Laboratory: Environmental Thought and Labor Radicalism in Chicago, 1886-1937 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022) examines the complex ways that environmental theories and cultural imaginings of nature shaped contentious public debates about the conflict between labor and capital and the fate of American democracy in the modern industrial age from the Gilded Age through the New Deal. 


Browning’s current book project carries forward her interest in the intellectual evolution of social control and social reform to study intertwined histories of ecological restoration, environmental racism, and criminal justice theories across postindustrial American landscapes, and consider these histories' significance for climate resilience practices within frontline communities that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Browning’s publications have appeared in Environmental HistoryGlobal Environmental Change, Indiana Magazine of History, and Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, among other journals. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Newberry Library, and Indiana University’s Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge.

Browning’s teaching and research interests include US environmental history and race, the history of environmental justice and environmental health, transnational climate change history, toxic heritage, carceral studies, and public history. Her interest in interdisciplinary research and public scholarship around environmental change stems from her time as a postdoctoral Research Fellow at Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute. At IU-Bloomington she also served as Associate Director of the Integrated Program in the Environment, and adjunct faculty in the Department of History. Browning has supported K-12 professional development and curricula programming regarding environmental literacy with the California History-Social Science Project and IU’s Educating for Environmental Change initiative. She received her PhD in history from the University of California, Davis, and her BA in philosophy and international studies from Northwestern University.