School of Communication

Jennifer S. Light

Department of Communication Studies

Jennifer S. Light

Professor, Communication Studies, History, and Sociology
Frances Searle Building
2240 Campus Drive, Room 2-152
Evanston , IL 60208-2952
Graduate Programs: Media, Technology & Society; Communication Studies; Screen Cultures; History; Sociology; Science Studies

Jennifer S. Light is a Professor of Communication Studies, History, and Sociology and a Faculty Associate at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She is the author of From Warfare to Welfare: Defense Intellectuals and Urban Problems in Cold War America (2003) and The Nature of Cities: Ecological Visions and the American Urban Professions (2009), both published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Dr. Light serves on the editorial boards of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing; Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences; Information & Culture: A Journal of History; and Journal of Urban History. She is currently engaged in two research projects: a series of studies at the intersection of the histories of cartography and computing that use GIS as an analytic tool, and an investigation of the historical and contemporary significance of the junior republic movement in the US.


PhD History of Science, Harvard University
MPhil History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University (Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar)
AB History and Literature, Harvard College

Recent Publications

The Nature of Cities: Ecological Visions and the American Urban Professions, 1920-1960 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009)

From Warfare to Welfare: Defense Intellectuals and Urban Problems in Cold War America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003; 2005)

Articles appearing in New Media and Society; Technology and Culture; Journal of Urban History; Harvard Educational Review; Ecumene; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; Journal of the American Planning Association; New Directions for Evaluation; International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; and Gender, Place, and Culture.

Contributions to anthologies including:

Danielle Allen and Jennifer Light, eds., Youth, New Media, and Political Participation (forthcoming)

A. Akera and W. Aspray (Eds.), Using History to Improve Computer Science Education. Washington, DC: Computing Research Association, 2004.

Erik P. Bucy (Ed.), Living in the Information Age: A New Media Reader. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2004

N. Lerman, R. Oldenziel and A. Mohun (Eds.), Gender and Technology: A Reader. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Recent Awards and Honors

  • Member, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, 2011-2012
  • Catherine Bauer Wurster Prize, 2011
  • Honorable Mention, Lewis Mumford Prize, 2009
  • Derek Brewer Visiting Fellow, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, 2005


  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Grant, 2011
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, 2007
  • Haynes Foundation/Historical Society of Southern California, 2003
  • Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 2001


CS 374 ICTs in American Society
CS 386 Science, Technology and Society
CS 395 Games for Social Change
CS 484 Mind and Society in the Information Age
CS 488 Topics in the History of ICTs
CS 525 Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
CS 525 Mapping Race