Deborah Coen

Professor of History

Deborah Coen, Professor of History, joined the Barnard faculty in 2006. Professor Coen is the Curriculum Coordinator and Barnard Liaison for the Columbia Center for Science & Society. She is also a member of Columbia's European Institute, Harriman Institute, and Committee on Global Thought. Prior to coming to Barnard, Professor Coen was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows.

Professor Coen has taught such courses as "Bodies and Machines, 1750-1939," "History of Environmental Thinking," "Gender and Knowledge in Modern History," "Vienna and the Birth of the Modern," and "Central Europe: Nations, Cultures, and Ideas."

Professor Coen's research centers on the history of the physical and earth sciences and the cultural history of central Europe. Her current book project, Climate in Word and Image: Science and the Austrian Idea, explores how climate came to be understood in terms of the exchange of energy among systems at a spectrum of scales, from the molecular to the hemispheric.

Selected Publications:

The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science from Lisbon to Richter (University of Chicago Press, January, 2013)

Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty: Science, Liberalism, and Private Life (University of Chicago Press, 2007; paperback 2011)

Editor, Witness to Disaster: Earthquakes and Expertise in Comparative Perspective, Science in Context volume 25, issue 1 (2012)

Co-Editor, with James R. Fleming and Vladimir Jankovic, Intimate Universality: Local and Global Themes in the History of Weather and Climate (Science History Publications, 2006)

“The Common World: Histories of Science and Domestic Intimacy,” Modern Intellectual History 11 (2014): 417-438.

“The Storyteller and the Seismograph,” in Andreas Killen and Nitzan Lebovic, eds., Catastrophe: A History and Theory of an Operative Concept (De Gruyter, 2014).

“Rise, Grubenhund: On Provincializing Kuhn,” Modern Intellectual History 9 (2012): 109-126.

“Imperial Climatographies from Tyrol to Turkestan,” Climate and Cultural Anxiety, Osiris volume 26 (2011), eds. James Fleming and Vladimir Jankovic, pp. 45-65


Academic Focus: 

European history
Modern Central Europe
History of science and technology

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Office Hours: 

AB, Harvard University

MPhil, University of Cambridge

PhD, Harvard University

Related Web Sites: 

In the News

Congratulations to Deborah Coen, associate professor of history, Andrea Miller, dance faculty member and guest artist, and Annie Baker, adjunct lecturer in the theatre department.

History professor answers questions about her research and the evolution of seismology.