Professor, Engineering, Design and Society, Colorado School of Mines


Jessica M. Smith is an anthropologist and STS scholar whose research interests center on energy, engineering, and public accountability. She is a Professor in the Engineering, Design & Society Department at the Colorado School of Mines, where she also directs the Humanitarian Engineering and Science master’s program. She spent her 2018 sabbatical as a British Academy Visiting Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland). Her book Extracting Accountability: Engineers and Corporate Social Responsibility was published open access by The MIT Press in September 2021 and was funded by a Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM grant from the National Science Foundation. Professor Smith holds a PhD in anthropology and graduate certificate in women’s studies from the University of Michigan and a BA from Macalester College, where she majored in anthropology, international studies, and Latin American studies. Professor Smith’s first major research project investigated gender and mining from the perspective of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, where she grew up and drove haul trucks in the mines for summer employment during college. That research forms the basis of her book Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West (Rutgers University Press, 2014), which was funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and a research grant from the National Science Foundation. It received the 2018 Western Social Science Association book prize and honorable mentions from the Society for Economic Anthropology and the Society for the Anthropology of Work.

Selected publications

Smith, Jessica M. 2021. Extracting Accountability: Engineering and Corporate Social Responsibility. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

High, Mette M. and Jessica M. Smith, eds. 2019. Energy and Ethics? Special issue of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 25 (S1): 1-194.

Marlin-Tackie, Frances, Shurraya Denning, and Jessica M. Smith. 2020. Fracking Controversies: Enhancing public trust in local government through energy justice. Energy Research & Social Science (65): 101440. ttps://

Smith, Jessica M. 2019. The Ethics of Material Provisioning: Insiders’ Views of Work in the Extractive Industries. The Extractive Industries & Society 6: 807-814.

Rolston, Jessica Smith. 2014. Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.