Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Graduate Students: Modern Culture and Media

Thomas studies cultural representations of ecology and environmental science in documentary and digital media. His current research focuses on the historical exchange of knowledge that occurred between the fields of computation, cybernetics, and systems ecology in the post-war United States. He is especially interested in how this intersection laid the groundwork for the development of supercomputers and computer modelling during the state practice of atmospheric nuclear testing, with two of the products being the mass-communication of ‘nuclear winter’ theories and important contributions to climate science. Following this history, Thomas’s dissertation wagers that media representations of an anthropogenic atmosphere help reveal how Cold War ideologies make their way into the cultural perception of climate change, including concerns surrounding energy scarcity and sovereignty, weather derivatives trading, and the nexus of resilience, civil defence, and national security.

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