Carolyn Thomas, UC Davis

Carolyn Thomas, professor of American studies at the University of California, Davis, studies the relationship between technology and health, production, and consumption in the U.S.

Thomas is currently working on a number of projects including articles on the mechanization of tomato harvesting in the 1960s, the rise in popularity of “behavioral vision therapy” for children and the value of engaged scholarship in the humanities. She is the author of two books: Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweetener from Saccharin to Splenda (2010, UNC), and The Body Electric: How Strange Machines Built The Modern American (2003, NYU), and the two co-edited volumes Re-Wiring the Nation: the Place of Technology in American Studies (2007, Ashgate) and Local Foods Meets Global Foodways: Tasting History (2012, Routledge).

As the director of the UC Humanities Institute from 2007-2012 she was awarded major collaborative grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. In 2011 her history of artificial sweetener in the United States, Empty Pleasures, received the Book of the Year Prize for Association for the Study of Food and Society and was designated a CHOICE outstanding academic book. She is also the former recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring at UC Davis.

Learn more about Carolyn Thomas.