Neil M. Maher


Neil M. Maher is a Professor of History and Master Teacher in the Federated History Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University-Newark.  He is an award-winning author, instructor, and public speaker interested in the environmental and political history of the United States.

Maher’s scholarship and teaching explore how the natural environment has mediated power relationships between people over time.  His most recent books include Apollo in the Age of Aquarius (Harvard University Press, 2017) and Nature’s New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement (Oxford University Press, 2008).  He has also written more popular essays and Op-Eds for The New York Times and The Washington Post.  Maher’s research has been supported by fellowships from Harvard and Princeton universities, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and NASA, among others.

Maher is currently working on his third book, which is tentatively titled Wasted: An Environmental Justice History of Newark, New Jersey.  The monograph, which emerged from his teaching and community engagement work over the past several years, analyzes the connections between racial and environmental discrimination in Newark during the post-World War II period.  During the 2022-2023 academic year, Maher began researching and writing this book as a Fellow at the New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers in Manhattan.  He continued working on this research project during the fall semester, 2023-2024, as a Shelby Cullom Davis Center Fellow at Princeton University.

Much like his research, Maher’s teaching also focuses on the intersection of environmental and political history.  His offerings include courses in U.S. environmental history, urban history, and political history seminars on the Great Depression, the immediate post-World War II period, and the 1960s-1980s era.  More recently, Maher has developed an environmental justice website for research seminars that he teaches on the undergraduate and graduate levels.  For such efforts he has received the two most prestigious teaching awards at his university.

While writing and teaching, Maher remains active in public history projects that promote civic engagement.  He has served as a Public Scholar for the New York Council for the Humanities, Co-Director of NJIT’s Distributed Technology Museum, Co-Coordinator for an exhibit titled At Home in Newark: Stories from the Queer Newark Oral History Project, and as a facilitator for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities “Face-to-Face: Community Conversations on Environmental Justice” program.




The Story Behind the Earth’s Most Famous Photo

The Bigger Picture

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

August 24, 2022


Walking on the Moon

Radio Times

WHYY-FM (National Public Radio)

July 19, 2019


NASA and the Civil Rights Movement

Ideas Matter

WAMC (Northeast Public Radio)

March 18, 2016


Nature’s New Deal: Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement

Focus 580: Interviews on Global Affairs and Daily Life

Illinois Public Radio

November 7, 2008


Apollo in the Age of Aquarius

New Books Network

June 20, 2017

A History Lesson from the CCC for the Green New Deal

Vanderbilt University

May 3, 2024 (1:15-2:45 pm EST)

Neil M. Maher

Federated Department of History
NJIT—Rutgers University, Newark