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Molly Reed


I study environmental and cultural history in the nineteenth-century United States.  In addition to teaching first-year writing seminars at Cornell, I have taught through the Cornell Prison Education Program since 2014. Recent classes designed and taught include “From Graham Crackers to Anti Vaxxers: Alternative Health Movements in United States History,” “Nineteenth-Century Communal Utopias,” “Incarceration, Policy Response, & Self-Reflection,” “Nineteenth-Century United States History,” and “United States Environmental History.” The title of my dissertation is “Ecology of Utopia: Environmental Discourse and Practice in Antebellum Communal Settlements.”

Advisor:  Aaron Sachs


  • History


My work addresses the intersection of social reform and environmental thought and practice in the 1840s and 1850s United States and my research interests include physiological and diet reform, utopian socialism, and agricultural reform. My dissertation follows a network of radical reformers whose experiments in community were also experiments in living with a new orientation toward the natural world, as they engaged in experiments in labor, hygiene, and farming.