Announcing the winner of the 24th Susanne M. Glasscock Book Prize
The Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University has awarded the Twenty-Fourth Annual Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship to James Morton Turner, for his book Charged: A History of Batteries and Lessons for a Clean Energy Future, published by University of Washington Press in 2022.
Jay Turner is a professor in the Environmental Studies Department at Wellesley College, where he teaches courses on US environmental history, politics, and policy. Jay has a PhD in History, with a focus on environmental history. He has written books on topics including public lands protection, conservatives and the environment, and his most recent book on the history of batteries. Jay enjoys playing pick-up soccer, carpentry, and canoe trips. Jay lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, in a house he and his family have renovated to be a net-zero all-electric home.
To achieve fossil fuel independence, few technologies are more important than batteries. Used for powering zero-emission vehicles, storing electricity from solar panels and wind turbines, and revitalizing the electric grid, batteries are essential to scaling up the renewable energy resources that help address global warming. But given the unique environmental impact of batteries—including mining, disposal, and more—does a clean energy transition risk trading one set of problems for another?
In Charged, James Morton Turner unpacks the history of batteries to explore why solving "the battery problem" is critical to a clean energy transition. As climate activists focus on what a clean energy future will create—sustainability, resiliency, and climate justice—the history of batteries offers a sharp reminder of what building that future will consume: lithium, graphite, nickel, and other specialized materials. With new insight on the consequences for people and communities on the front lines, Turner draws on the past for crucial lessons that will help us build a just and clean energy future, from the ground up.
Public Lecture & Award Presentation
Wednesday, November 29
12:00 - 1:00 PM
MSC 2300 D
The Susanne M. Glasscock Book Prize, first awarded in 1999, was permanently endowed in December 2000 by Melbern G. Glasscock ’59 and his wife Susanne M. Glasscock, for whom the prize is named. Nominated books are informed by research and expertise, yet appeal to a wider than academic audience. In celebration of the Prize, we hold annual events including the Prize-winning author's lecture.