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  • June 13, 2022 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASEH Sends Letter Urging the EPA Not to Retire its Online Archive

    ASEH joined the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) and Environmental Historians Action Collaborative to urge the EPA to keep its online web archive open to provide ready access to public agency documents. The EPA Web Archive has been a valuable resource for historians and the general public. Text of the letter is below. EDGI sent a letter simultaneously with many co-signers, and an accompanying press release, protesting the decision to sunset the EPA online archive.

    Download the letter as a pdf as transmitted on June 13.

    The Honorable Michael Regan


    Environmental Protection Agency 

    1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW 

    Washington, DC 20460 

    Re: Retiring the EPA Online Archive

    Dear Administrator Regan,

    We the undersigned write to express our opposition to EPA’s plan announced in February to sunset its online archive in July 2022. The vast majority of our government’s interaction with the public comes through digital channels; public digital archives such as the EPA’s are of enormous value to historians as well as to the public.

    This EPA archive has already proven immensely useful to environmental historians.[1] Not only are citations to it regularly featured in traditional scholarly venues, it has greatly facilitated projects such as  “A People’s EPA”, a website and Twitter feed through which historians help explain the work of the EPA to a broader public. 

    Not just historians but those from a variety of academic disciplines as well as the public rely on the EPA digital archive for information, insight, and analysis. The site has provided resources for others working in ecology, biology, toxicology, and other environmental sciences as well as geography, law, sociology, political science, and public health. Professors and teachers at various levels, from K-12 schools to the graduate level utilize the archive as a pedagogical resource, directing students to pages that offer authoritative records of the geographies they are exploring.  Not least among those who have relied on the EPA’s online archive are those working with and living in more marginalized or environmental justice communities, a stated priority of current EPA leadership.   

    Having easily accessible documentation of the extensive EPA’s investigations and records of decision for Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for instance, has helped overcome local doubts about the agency’s effectiveness, yielded greater understanding of chemical exposures, and otherwise significantly supported the agency’s efforts at clean-up. Here and elsewhere, residents faced with a potential environmental hazard can more easily access the agency’s past work in their locale as an aid to understanding prior investigations at the site. 

    The importance of EPA’s online archive is perhaps best illuminated by considering what will be lost when this archive is taken down. The many mentioned uses of EPA documents will become much more difficult for those who cannot travel to EPA’s print collections, and with any pandemic recurrence, well-nigh impossible. A tremendous gap will also open up in what more recent historical records are accessible, as it takes many years for any preserved documents to be transferred to and made available through the National Archives. It will become much more difficult for historians to assess and interpret this agency’s recent past, much less to situate it within longer histories and larger contexts. 

    We understand that the EPA’s provision of a public archive of its own documents and deliberations is voluntary and that online maintenance entails some costs. But those need to be factored against the better and broader understanding it has nourished of the vital work done by this federal agency, whose own future hinges on greater public awareness of and support for what it does. Instead of doing away with the EPA archive, the Biden administration should promote it as a model for other parts of the Executive Branch. In our digital age, agencies should make their own publications and other public interactions more quickly, thoroughly, and durably accessible, both to historians and to the larger publics our government serves.    


    Sarah S. Elkind


    American Society for Environmental History

    The following organizations have cosigned this statement:

    American Association of Geographers

    American Historical Association

    College Art Association of America

    Environmental Historians Action Collaborative

    National Council on Public History

    Society of Architectural Historians

    World History Association

    [1] Works that cite <> include: Bahng, Aimee. "The Pacific Proving Grounds and the Proliferation of Settler Environmentalism." Journal of Transnational American Studies 11, no. 2 (2020); Cronin, John. "The Cuyahoga fire at fifty: a false history obscures the real water crisis that never ceased." Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 9, no. 3 (2019): 340-351; Elmore, Bartow J. "Roundup from the ground up: A supply-side story of the world's most widely used herbicide." Agricultural History 93, no. 1 (2019): 102-138; Fredrickson, Leif, Christopher Sellers, Lindsey Dillon, Jennifer Liss Ohayon, Nicholas Shapiro, Marianne Sullivan, Stephen Bocking et al. "History of US presidential assaults on modern environmental health protection." American journal of public health 108, no. S2 (2018): S95-S103; Gillam, Carey. "An Award-Winning Discovery." In Whitewash, pp. 23-41. Island Press, Washington, DC, 2017; Gutkowski, Andrew. "The Evolution of Environmental (In) Justice in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1900–2000." Journal of American History 106, no. 4 (2020): 923-948; Hepler-Smith, Evan. "Molecular bureaucracy: Toxicological information and environmental protection." Environmental History 24, no. 3 (2019): 534-560; Rankin, William. "The Accuracy Trap: The Values and Meaning of Algorithmic Mapping, from Mineral Extraction to Climate Change." Environment and History (2022); and Spears, Ellen Griffith. Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town. University of North Carolina Press, 2014, and Rethinking the American Environmental Movement Post-1945. Routledge, 2019.

  • March 28, 2022 9:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the awards ceremony Saturday night March 26th in Eugene, OR, ASEH announced the winners of its annual awards, prizes, and fellowships. Congratulations to this year's winners:

    The Distinguished Scholar Award given every year to an individual who has contributed significantly to environmental history scholarship.

    Linda Nash

    The Lisa Mighetto Distinguished Service Award is given every year to an individual who has contributed significantly to the development of ASEH as an organization.

    William Cronon

    The Public Outreach Project Award presented every two years to an environmental history project that engages the public. 

    George Perkins Marsh Prize for best book in environmental history


    Lucas Bessire, Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains (Princeton)


    Bartow Elmore, Seed Money: Monsanto’s Past and Our Food Future (W.W. Norton)

    Faisal H. Husain, Rivers of the Sultan: The Tigris and Euphrates in the Ottoman Empire  (Oxford)

    Kristin A. Wintersteen, The Fishmeal Revolution: The Industrialization of the Humboldt Current (California)

    Rachel Carson Prize for best dissertation in environmental history

    Will Michael Wright, "Nature Unbound: What Gray Wolves, Monarch Butterflies, and Giant Sequoias Tell Us About Large Landscape Conservation" (Montana State University)

    Alice Hamilton Prize for best article outside journal Environmental History

     Tamara Fernando, “Seeing Like the Sea: A Multispecies History of the Ceylon Pearl Fishery, 1800-1925” (Past and Present, Vol. 254 (1), Sept 2021).

    Leopold-Hidy Award to honor the best article in the journal, Environmental History.

    Kendra Smith-Howard, “Absorbing Waste, Displacing Labor: Family, Environment, and the Disposable Diaper in the 1970s” (April 2021).

    ASEH-FHS Graduate Student Essay Prize

    Sherri Sheu, "'A Total Approach to Urban Problems': Summer in the Parks and the National Park Service" 

    The EH editors selected two Environmental History Fellows who will also participate in the Graduate Essay Prize workshops. These fellows are: 

    Julia Fine, "'Who Will Voluntarily Sacrifice His Life by Becoming a Labourer?': Water, Work, and Resistance in Colonial Bengal's Salt Industry, 1780-1862"

    Kyuhyun Han, "Protect the Forest, Prevent Forest Fires: CCP Forest Fire Prevention and Wasteland-burning Cultivation, 1949-1959"

    Hal Rothman Dissertation Fellowship

    Marissa Crannell-Ash, for “Unruly Swine: Pigs, Community, and Justice in Late Medieval Burgundy"

    J. Donald Hughes Graduate Research Fellowships

    Natascha De Vasconcellos Otoya, for “Geological Historical Bicycle Expedition in the Reconcavo Bay, Bahia – Brazil”

    Thanglienmang Haokip, for “Swidden Transformations in Manipur: Causes and Consequences on the Environment”

    Equity Graduate Fellowship

    José Manuel Santillana Blanco, for “Racial Motherhood Ecologies: Towards a Mapping of Social Life, Violence & Resistance in the Southwest Borderlands, 1980-Present”

    Samuel P. Hays Research Fellowship

    Claire Perrott, for Volcano in a Cornfield: The History of Parícutin Volcano, 1943-1952”

  • September 01, 2021 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's that time of year. ASEH is accepting applications for research fellowships, and submissions and nominations for prizes and awards.

    All deadlines are November 20, 2021, so apply now!


    Each year, the ASEH awards five prizes for outstanding scholarship in the field of environmental history. The instructions for submitting your work for consideration for each prize are listed below.

    George Perkins Marsh Prize for best book in environmental history

    Alice Hamilton Prize for best article outside journal Environmental History 

    Leopold-Hidy Prize for best article in journal Environmental History (with Forest History Society)

    Rachel Carson Prize for best dissertation in environmental history

    ASEH-FHS Graduate Student Essay Prize 


    The ASEH currently offers four research fellowships: the Hal Rothman Dissertation Fellowship, the J. Donald Hughes Graduate Research Fellowship, the Equity Graduate Student Fellowship, and the Samuel P. Hays Fellowship.

    The Rothman, Hughes, and Equity Fellowships are reserved for graduate students; the Hays Fellowship is open to practicing historians of any rank.

    In addition, the ASEH co-sponsors the ASEH–Newberry Library Fellowship for scholars who will work with the Newberry's extensive holdings in Chicago.


    ASEH will also award its annual Distinguished Scholar Award and Lisa Mighetto Distinguished Service Award, along with the Public Outreach Project Award.

  • June 17, 2021 8:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASEH signed a Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism in American History,

    The American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America have authored a joint statement stating their “firm opposition” to legislation, introduced in at least 20 states, that would restrict the discussion of “divisive concepts” in public education institutions. It is not possible to address divisions that exist, however, without an honest reckoning with their histories. “The clear goal of these efforts is to suppress teaching and learning about the role of racism in the history of the United States,” the letter explains. Education proceeds from exploration, facts, and civil debate. “These legislative efforts,” on the other hand, “seek to substitute political mandates for the considered judgment of professional educators, hindering students’ ability to learn and engage in critical thinking across differences and disagreements. . . . Americans of all ages deserve nothing less than a free and open exchange about history and the forces that shape our world today.”

    In total, 97 organizations have signed onto the statement.

    June 16, 2021

    We, the undersigned associations and organizations, state our firm opposition to a spate of legislative proposals being introduced across the country that target academic lessons, presentations, and discussions of racism and related issues in American history in schools, colleges and universities. These efforts have taken varied shape in at least 20 states; but often the legislation aims to prohibit or impede the teaching and education of students concerning what are termed “divisive concepts.” These divisive concepts as defined in numerous bills are a litany of vague and indefinite buzzwords and phrases including, for example, “that any individual should feel or be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological or emotional distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.” These legislative efforts are deeply troubling for numerous reasons.

    First, these bills risk infringing on the right of faculty to teach and of students to learn. The clear goal of these efforts is to suppress teaching and learning about the role of racism in the history of the United States. Purportedly, any examination of racism in this country’s classrooms might cause some students “discomfort” because it is an uncomfortable and complicated subject. But the ideal of informed citizenship necessitates an educated public. Educators must provide an accurate view of the past in order to better prepare students for community participation and robust civic engagement. Suppressing or watering down discussion of “divisive concepts” in educational institutions deprives students of opportunities to discuss and foster solutions to social division and injustice. Legislation cannot erase “concepts” or history; it can, however, diminish educators’ ability to help students address facts in an honest and open environment capable of nourishing intellectual exploration. Educators owe students a clear-eyed, nuanced, and frank delivery of history, so that they can learn, grow, and confront the issues of the day, not hew to some state-ordered ideology.  

    Second, these legislative efforts seek to substitute political mandates for the considered judgment of professional educators, hindering students’ ability to learn and engage in critical thinking across differences and disagreements. These regulations constitute an inappropriate attempt to transfer responsibility for the evaluation of a curriculum and subject matter from educators to elected officials. The purpose of education is to serve the common good by promoting open inquiry and advancing human knowledge. Politicians in a democratic society should not manipulate public school curricula to advance partisan or ideological aims. In higher education, under principles of academic freedom that have been widely endorsed, professors are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject. Educators, not politicians, should make decisions about teaching and learning. 

    Knowledge of the past exists to serve the needs of the living. In the current context, this includes an honest reckoning with all aspects of that past. Americans of all ages deserve nothing less than a free and open exchange about history and the forces that shape our world today, an exchange that should take place inside the classroom as well as in the public realm generally. To ban the tools that enable those discussions is to deprive us all of the tools necessary for citizenship in the twenty-first century. A white-washed view of history cannot change what happened in the past. A free and open society depends on the unrestricted pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.


    American Association of University Professors
    American Historical Association
    Association of American Colleges & Universities
    PEN America

    The following organizations have co-signed this statement:

    ACPA-College Student Educators International
    African American Intellectual History Society
    Agricultural History Society
    Alcohol and Drugs History Society
    American Anthropological Association
    American Association for State and Local History
    American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
    American Association of Community Colleges
    American Association of Geographers
    American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education
    American Council of Learned Societies
    American Educational Research Association
    American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
    American Folklore Society
    American Library Association
    American Philosophical Association
    American Political Science Association
    American Society for Environmental History
    American Society for Theatre Research
    American Sociological Association
    American Studies Association
    Anti-Defamation League
    Association for Ancient Historians
    Association for Asian American Studies
    Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
    Association for Documentary Editing
    Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies
    Association for the Study of Higher Education
    Association for Theatre in Higher Education
    Association of African American Museums
    Association of College and Research Libraries
    Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
    Association of Research Libraries
    Association of University Presses
    Association of Writers & Writing Programs
    Berkshire Conference of Women Historians
    Business History Conference
    Center for Research Libraries
    Central European History Society
    Chinese Historians in the United States
    Coalition of Urban & Metropolitan Universities (CUMU)
    College Art Association
    Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender History
    Comparative and International Education Society
    Conference on Asian History
    Conference on Faith and History
    Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes
    Czechoslovak Studies Association
    Dance Studies Association
    Forum on Early-Modern Empires and Global Interactions
    Freedom to Read Foundation
    French Colonial Historical Society
    German Studies Association
    Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
    Historical Society of Twentieth Century China
    Immigration Ethnic History Society
    John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education
    Labor and Working-Class History Association
    Middle East Studies Association
    Modern Language Association
    NAFSA: Association of International Educators
    NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
    National Association for College Admission Counseling
    National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
    National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education
    National Coalition for History
    National Council for the Social Studies
    National Council of Teachers of English
    National Council on Public History
    National Women’s Studies Association
    Organization of American Historians
    Pacific Coast Branch-American Historical Association
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Radical History Review
    Rhetoric Society of America
    Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
    Scholars at Risk
    Shakespeare Association of America
    Society for Austrian and Habsburg History
    Society for Classical Studies
    Society for French Historical Studies
    Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
    Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
    Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender
    Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States
    Society of Architectural Historians
    Society of Civil War Historians
    Society of Transnational Academic Researchers (STAR Scholars Network)
    Southern Historical Association
    Urban History Association
    Western History Association
    Western Society for French History
    World History Association

  • May 26, 2021 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2022 ASEH Annual Conference will be in Eugene, Oregon

    March 23-27, 2022

    The CALL FOR PROPOSALS is now open!

    While programming in Eugene 2022 will emphasize the theme of disaster and renewal, this conference, like all ASEH meetings, will feature research on all facets of environmental history, from any geographical or temporal context. The Program Committee welcomes traditional panels, individual papers, teaching and pedagogy sessions, innovative formats, and sessions that encourage active audience participation. Click the button below to view the entire Call for Proposals and submit complete panels, roundtables, experimental sessions, individual papers, and posters. 

    The deadline for submissions is July 16, 2021.

  • May 25, 2021 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASEH is Accepting Nominations for its Prize and Standing Committees

    Are you interested in volunteering to serve on an ASEH committee? Do you know someone who would like to help ASEH?

    Last year, ASEH adopted a policy to solicit self-nominations and nominations for committee members to enhance diversity and expand the pool of members who contribute to ASEH's work, prizes, and initiatives. Please consider nominating yourself or others for service on ASEH committees, including book, article, dissertation, and fellowship prize committees, as well as membership, sustainability, fundraising, meetings, and other committees.


  • March 30, 2021 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Registration will give you access to the exciting events planned for Environmental History Week 2021. Your registration confirmation email will include links to the virtual events. 

    Registration is FREE. Click on the blue REGISTER button in the left column.

    We have offered a paid registration option if you would like to support Environmental History Week and ASEH in this way.

    All events and registration are free, but there are costs associated with organizing and promoting EH Week.

    Your support is very much appreciated! Your donations and membership allow ASEH to support fellowships, grants, prizes, and events like Environmental History Week.

    ASEH is one of many organizations around the world promoting environmental History Week. Please support one of the EH Week International Partners.

  • March 18, 2021 11:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASEH signed the ACLS Statement Condemning Anti-Asian Violence. Additional ACLS member societies continue to sign on an endorse this statement.

    ACLS is angry and saddened by the recent increase in incidents of violence against Asians and people of Asian descent in the United States and around the world.

    We find ourselves in a moment where, for good reason, we and many other Americans have been and continue to be focused intently on anti-Black racism. But we are reminded by the horrific events in Georgia this week and increased acts of violence over this past year linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, of the deep prejudices affecting Asians in this country. These and other attacks against the Asian-American community represent the latest chapter in our history of xenophobia, which tends to flare during times of crisis.
    As an organization invested in supporting and advancing the study of what it means to be human, we believe the humanities and social sciences provide essential learning needed to unlock understanding of our historical pasts, good and bad, and help cultivate knowledgeable empathy for all of us in the present and the future.
    ACLS is committed to elevating perspectives on the human experience that have traditionally been marginalized or ignored. Our work and practices are firmly grounded in values led by inclusive excellence and anti-racism.
    We encourage educators, lawmakers, and community leaders to take this moment to listen closely to Asian and Asian-American voices and work with them in stemming this latest scourge of prejudice and violence. In the coming days, we will launch a new scholarly resource page focused on histories of anti-Asian bias, as well as the movements that have stood against them. This new page will appear as part of the “Race and Society” resource we first published in Summer 2020.
    Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and with the communities impacted, including members of our ACLS family, among which there are many scholars and students of Asian history and life, as well as staff, members, and partners carrying the extra burden of processing these hateful events personally while being asked to operate normally on other fronts.
    We commit to learning more and we encourage you to learn more about ways to support anti-violence and anti-hate efforts against the Asian community:

    Joy Connolly

    The following ACLS Member Societies have signed on to this statement:

    African Studies Association
    American Anthropological Association
    American Folklore Society
    American Historical Association
    American Musicological Society
    American Society for Environmental History
    American Society for Theatre Research
    American Studies Association
    Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
    Association of Research Libraries
    Center for Research Libraries
    College Art Association
    Dance Studies Association
    German Studies Association
    National Communication Association
    National Council of Teachers of English
    Organization of American Historians
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Renaissance Society of America
    Rhetoric Society of America
    Sixteenth Century Society & Conference
    Society for Ethnomusicology
    Society for Music Theory
    Society of Biblical Literature
    World History Association
  • March 05, 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    George Perkins Marsh Prize 

    for best book in environmental history


    Jamie KreinerLegions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020)


     David FedmanSeeds of Control: Japan's Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2020)

      Grace KarskensPeople of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2020)

    Rachel Carson Prize 

    for best dissertation in environmental history

    Geoffrey Wallace, "The History and Geography of Beeswax Extraction in the Northern Maya Lowlands, 1540-1700,” McGill University

    Congratulations to all of the winners of ASEH's 2021 awards and prizes!

    ASEH thanks all of the selection committees for their hard work.

    Join us for Environmental History Week in April to celebrate!

  • March 03, 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASEH is excited to announce its

    2021 Article Prize Winners

    Leopold-Hidy Prize for best article in Environmental History (with Forest History Society)

    Elizabeth Hennessy for her article “Saving Species: The Co-evolution of Tortoise Taxonomy and Conservation in the Galápagos Islands” (April 2020)

    Alice Hamilton Prize for best article outside journal Environmental History

    Christopher Conz for his article “Sheep, Scab Mites, and Society: The Process and Politics of Veterinary Knowledge in Lesotho, Southern Africa, c. 1900-1933" (August 2020) in Environment and History

    2021 Research Fellowship Awardees

    Samuel P. Hays Research Fellowship

    Caroline Grego for her project "Hurricane of the New South: How the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 Shaped the Jim Crow Lowcountry"

    Equity Graduate Student Fellowship

    Teona Williams for her project examining Black women’s intellectual and social engagement with ecology, land, and Black national ideologies across the Mississippi Delta

    Hal Rothman Dissertation Fellowship

    Terrell Orr for his project "The Roots of Global Citrus in “Nuevo South” Florida and Rural São Paulo, 1965-1995"

    J. Donald Hughes Graduate Research Fellowships

    Alyssa Kreikemeier for her project "Aerial Enclosures: From Commons to Conflict in the American West"


    Matthew Plishka for his project “Battling Banana Blight: Panama Disease, Smallholders, and Jamaica’s Agroecosystem, 1870-1962”

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