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Faculty Experts

Scott Knowles, PhD

Interim Department Head, Professor, Department of History

College of Arts and Sciences

Expertise:

history

public policy

Contact:

scott.gabriel.knowles@drexel.edu

215.895.6762

Knowles is a historian of modern cities, technology and public policy–with a particular focus on risk and disaster. His most recent book is The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). He is the editor of Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City (UPenn Press, 2009); and has published articles, essays and book reviews in The Next American City, Isis, History and Technology, Public Works Management and Policy, Technology and Culture, Business History Review, Enterprise and Society, The Smart Set and Annals of Science. His opinion pieces have run in The New York Times, The Hill and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and he has been a media commentator for such outlets as TIME.com, Al Jazeera, NPR, FOX News, Inside Edition and CNBC.com.

More information about Knowles

For news media inquiries, contact Emily Storz at els332@drexel.edu, 215.895.2705 (office) or 609.351.3592 (cell).

In the News

  • Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences was quoted in a Dec. 29 The Atlantic article about public consciousness facing the second year of the pandemic – and how the U.S. may remember or forget the particulars. 

  • What Disaster Experts Know

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor and department head of History in the College of Arts and Sciences, was featured in an Oct. 6 Daily Michigan article about his daily livestream interviews and discussion series “COVIDCalls.” Knowles discusses the importance of studying the history of disasters past to find solutions to the pandemic today. Michael Yudell, PhD, a professor and chair in the Dornsife School of Public Health, was quoted in the article discussing how W.E.B. DuBois embarked on a project to document public health disparities in Black men 124 years ago.

  • Scott Gabriel Knowles Is on a Quest to Understand What the Pandemic Reveals About Americans

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor and department head of History  in the College of Arts and Sciences, was featured in an Aug. 15 Philadelphia magazine article about his daily livestream interviews and discussion series “COVIDCalls” – where he works to understand just what the pandemic might reveal about Americans. Michael Yudell, PhD, a professor and chair in the Dornsife School of Public Health was quoted in the article discussing the social problems exacerbated by the pandemic. Sharrona Pearl, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Esther Chernak, MD, an associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, were also mentioned in the piece.

  • COVID-19 Reveals a Path Forward on Climate Change

    Richardson Dilworth, PhD; Scott Knowles, PhD; and Mimi Sheller, PhD, professors in the College of Arts & Sciences; and Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, co-authored a post for American Scientist's "Macroscope" blog on May 12 about how the pandemic might be showing us a path toward stemming climate change. 

  • What Can Previous Disasters Tell Us About the Response to COVID-19, and What Needs to Be Done? 

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed March 30 by NEWSTALK 1010 “The Night Side with Barb Digiulio” about what history and previous disasters can tell us about the response to COVID-19.

  • Mass Panic Is Unlikely, Even During a Pandemic

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a March 18 Wired article about panic behavior, and why it’s not likely that coronavirus will cause it.

  • Analysis: Most of Florence's Victims Have Died in Vehicles, on the Road During the Storm

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a Sept. 18 Los Angeles Times article about early fatality data from Hurricane Florence.

  • Sept-15-Knowles-HuffPo

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, authored a Sept. 15 Huffington Post article about how we define a disaster, which determines how we plan for and respond to them. The story was also picked up by Yahoo!.

  • The United States is Unprepared for the Next Major Earthquake

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a Sept. 23Think Progress story about how prepared U.S. cities are for major earthquakes.

  • Why We Need A National Hurricane Memorial And Museum

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, authored a Sept. 15 Huffington Post article about the need for a national hurricane and memorial museum to help governments and agencies keep track of past mistakes and address future disasters.

  • What if America Had a Detective Agency For Disasters?

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a Sept. 18Wired story about the science of disaster prediction and the need for a "detective agency" for disasters. Knowles also authored an opinion piece for The Conversation on Sept. 18 about how the destruction caused by recent hurricanes is not likely to spur action on climate change. The piece was also picked up by Salon. 

  • Tell Christie: We Shouldn't Risk Oil Trains Exploding Near Schools

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a Sept. 15 NJ.com article about disaster responses and the sometimes fatal results from poor government decisions.

  • First Harvey, Now Irma: How Back-to-Back Disasters Could Drain FEMA Even After $7.4B Top-Up

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a Sept. 9 CBC News “Analysis” about how back-to-back disasters could drain FEMA even following the administrations $7.4B top-up.

  • 11 Things You Might Not Know About Drexel University

    Richardson Dilworth, PhD, a professor and director of the Center for Public Policy in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the college, were mentioned in a Dec. 16 Philadelphia magazine story about Drexel's 125th anniversary.

  • Commentary: What Candidate you Gonna Call when Disaster Strikes?

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences authored an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer on Oct. 17 regarding the important role the president plays as the nation's chief emergency manager, discussing the potential disaster leadership success of presidential candidates Clinton and Trump. The op-ed was also published on Oct. 17 in The Daily World.

  • Burning Economic Issues Behind America’s Wildfire Problem

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences was quoted in an Aug. 1 New York Times story about the economic issues behind America’s wildfire problem.

  • Will The U.S. Ever Get Rid Of Its Lead Pipes?

    Scott Knowles, PhD, a professor and head of the History department in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a March 11 Huffington Post story on whether the United States will ever be able to move on from lead pipes in its water systems.

  • FBI is Asked to Investigate Whether Something Hit Doomed Amtrak Train

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a May 15 Los Angeles Times article about his experiences on a SEPTA Regional Rail train that was hit with a projectile minutes before the Amtrak crash

  • Amtrak 188 Derailment isn't Philadelphia's First Passenger Train Disaster

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed in a May 13 WHYY-FM “NewsWorks Tonight” segment about a 1943 train derailment that occurred a mile away from the recent Amtrak train accident. He was also quoted in a May 13 PhillyMag.com post about his experiences on a SEPTA Regional Rail train that was hit with a projectile minutes before the Amtrak crash.

  • Hurricane Sandy Anniversary 2014: Flood Insurance To Rise For Many NYC Homeowners

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in an Oct. 29 International Business Times article about the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

  • Syracuse University can teach us a lot about Ebola panic

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in an Oct. 17 Philadelphia Inquirer column written by Michael Yudell, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Public Health, about Syracuse University’s decision to disinvite a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist to a campus visit because of Ebola risks.

  • PROBLEMS WITH REPETITIVE FLOODING MEAN RECURRING LOSSES FOR INLAND NEW JERSEY

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed on WNYC 93.9-FM and was quoted on NJSpotlight.com on Aug. 29 about flood zones.

  • Flood Zone Foolishness

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote an opinion piece about flood insurance for Slate.com on March 23. He also was quoted in the Star Ledger on March 23.

  • Nutter appoints commission to probe L&I

    Dr. Robert Brehm, a professor in the College of Engineering, and Scott Gabriel Knowles, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, were mentioned in November 1 Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Business Journal stories about Mayor Michael Nutter creating a group to review the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

  • We Must Start Thinking Again about the Unthinkable

    Scott Knowles, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was mentioned in a Scientific American blog post on Nov. 18 about the “Workshop on Nuclear Issues Education” held at Stevens Institute of Technology.

  • Are we needlessly over-exposed to disasters?

    Dr. Scott Knowles, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed on FOX News’s live-streaming web show “On the Hunt with Jonathan Hunt” on October 29 about how to be better prepared for natural disasters.  He also appeared on the nationally syndicated public affairs program Inside Edition as part of a special segment on Hurricane Sandy on October 29.

  • A Year After Sandy, Living Dangerously by the Sea

    Dr. Scott Gabriel Knowles, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted on TIME.com and AlJazeeraAmerica.com about disaster prevention in light of the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

  • Seeing the big picture of the Market Street collapse

    Dr. Scott Knowles, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a Philadelphia Daily News story on October 24 about the building collapse on Market St. that killed six people in June.

  • No more superstorms, please. We're not quite ready

    Dr. Scott Knowles, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in a CNBC.com article on October 22 about whether or not we are prepared for another disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

  • Philly is prepared for Sandy level disaster, though nation may not be

    Dr. Scott Gabriel Knowles, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted throughout a Philadelphia Metro story on October 22 about disaster preparedness.

  • Aftermath of Hurricane Isaac

    Dr. Scott Knowles, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted throughout a story in The Epoch Times about the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

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