Benjamin Sacks is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Princeton University, and will defend his doctorate in September 2018. His dissertation, “Creating the Atlantic Port Town: Surveyors, Networks, and Geographies, 1670-1763,” examines how the emerging early modern French state attempted to develop and unify an Atlantic-wide urban planning framework, albeit with mixed results. The dissertation seeks to shift urban scholars away from traditional hub-and-spoke, metropole-to-periphery analysis, in favor trans-imperial, multidimensional and multi-directional approaches. As the CDH 2015-2016 graduate fellow, Benjamin investigated advanced network analysis in Cytoscape, Palladio, and Gephi, and developed a three-dimensional GIS method of reconstructing colonial towns from fractured primary visual and textual evidence. In August-September 2018, he will be a digital humanities associate and consultant on the Harvard/Cambridge Joint Center for History and Economics’ climate change and history project.
Benjamin’s work has appeared or will appear in The New England Quarterly, The History of Cartography Volume 5, A Companion to World History, and The Oxford Handbook on the History of Consumption. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Apart from urban planning, Benjamin is interested in the BBC’s role in soft power formation, US-UK-French socioeconomic and strategic relations, cartography, and geospatial intelligence.