From:                              Lisa Mighetto []

Sent:                               Friday, September 26, 2014 12:27 PM


Subject:                          ASEH News Fall 2014



aseh news

fall 2014                       volume 25, issue 3


update on 2015 conference

If you submitted a proposal to present at our 2015 conference - thank you! Our program committee has been evaluating the submissions and is very close to creating a program. We will contact you with the results within the next week.

Our 2015 conference will include the following events:

  • plenary session - invited speaker: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy 
  • presidential lunch banquet and talk by Gregg Mitman on "Forgotten Paths of Empire" 
  • workshop on environmental history records at the National Archives
  • 11 field trips on Friday afternoon and Sunday

Click here for general info. on the conference, including hotel reservations and a list of fees.

The Cherry Blossom Festival and Environmental Film Festival will be taking place in DC at the time of our conference.




conference etiquette: what would george washingon do?


George Washington never attended an ASEH conference, but the following excerpts from Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation provide timeless advice applicable to many conference situations. [George Washington's papers, University of Virginia; he transcribed his list from a manual as a student in the 1740s].


General Code of Conduct:


(1st ) Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present


While in Sessions:


(6th) Sleep not when others Speak ...


(18th) Read no Letters, Books, or Papers [or Mobile Devices] ...but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave


(40th) ...always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty


(74th) When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience


(80th) Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased there


Attending Receptions and Banquets:


(54th) Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Deck't


(66th) Be ...friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it's a time to Converse


(98th) Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking [ ok - we're not sure why you can't look around while you're drinking]


(107th) If others talk at Table be attentive but talk not with Meat in your Mouth [especially when seated next to ASEH vegans]


While on Field Trips:


53d Run not in the Streets, neither go too slowly [avoid the horrendous DC traffic]



travel grants


A limited number of travel grants are available for students and low-income scholars presenting at our 2015 conference. If you are presenting at our conference, click here for more info. 



future conferences


Washington, DC March 18-22, 2015


March 30-April 3, 2016 


Interested in hosting an ASEH conference in 2017 or 2018? Click here for more info.




The July issue of Environmental History includes John McNeill's presidential address - and more. Click here for more info. The October issue will be available soon.


reminder: sign up for aseh member directory


ASEH's Digital Communications Committee has launched an online directory of members. Any member can register on this site, which is publicly available to anyone searching for contact info. on environmental historians and their research. The site is now open for registration and viewing.


We encourage all ASEH members to register. If you have questions or comments, contact


Click here to register. Thank you for your participation!



Our 2015 conference will include field trips to the National Mall (pictured above).

Our field trips will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum of the American Indian (pictured above).

An ecological wine tour will stop at Monticello (pictured above).

Our 2015 conference will include a field trip examining "DC Water Issues: Past and Present."

Our 2015 conference will include a birding trip to Patuxent Wildlife Refuge.

ASEH's War & Environment Group will lead a field trip to Antietam National Battlefield.

Field trips will include a tour of Great Falls (pictured above).


aseh news


Published quarterly by the American Society for Environmental History. If you have an article, announcement, or an item for the "member news" section of our next newsletter, send to 
by December 12, 2014.


fall leaves 1

president's column: living through a plague


Environmental historians love to debate questions about the agency of nature. But such questions take on a quite different gravity and tone when contemporary disasters, at once both natural and social, come to impact both our professional and personal lives. The Ebola crisis unfolding in West Africa is a case in point. I found myself in Liberia this June, when the first Ebola cases appeared in the capital city of Monrovia, well before the outbreak became the focus of international attention and concern.

It is hard to underestimate the toll that this disease is taking on the health, well-being, and economies of the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The virus is already affecting cultural behaviors. The wonderful handshake, widely shared in Liberia, where you clasp hands and snap your fingers as you pull away (which took me a couple of trips to master) is disappearing off the streets of Monrovia and in rural areas. Communal farming practices, dependent on male or female work groups clearing land, sowing seed, and harvesting crops, are now in question, since bodily contact is the single greatest risk of infection and spreading the disease. And as farms are cut off from markets because of the increased risks and costs of transportation, the consequences for food insecurity are great. Cultures of fear, both in West Africa and the Western world, are likewise altering how the virus is spreading through the population. (For more on the ecology of fear in relation to Ebola, please see Ebola in a Stew of Fear recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.) Biology and culture can never be so easily teased apart.

If you find yourself in a classroom this fall, I hope you will consider devoting some space-be it 15 minutes, a lecture, or a class discussion-to how perspectives from environmental history can bring greater understanding to the Ebola crisis. What is rapidly becoming a tragic, sad, and all-too-real episode of an epidemic shaping the course of history requires greater understanding of the historical circumstances that created the conditions for Ebola to emerge and spread. It also requires compassion for those trying to cope with and live through a plague.


Gregg Mitman, ASEH President



the profession: a plea for timely cancellations at conferences


By Lisa Mighetto, ASEH director and Melissa Wiedenfeld, local arrangements committee chair, 2015 conference


ASEH conferences are known for their collegiality. Years of conference evaluations and comments from outside observers have demonstrated that ours is an unusually tight-knit, supportive, and engaged organization. Our conferences could not take place without the dedicated commitment of many volunteers - or without the 400+ presenters who generously come to share their research. Even so, a review of one aspect of conference etiquette might be useful, with the planning for our 2015 meeting in DC now in full swing. Recent articles and blogs on conference etiquette highlight the importance of professional behavior during the meeting, but we suggest that it is equally important before the conference.


An increasing number of presenters are cancelling within six weeks of the conference date (reaching 7% for some meetings). These cancellations affect the other session presenters (who must find and accommodate a new speaker); the audience (many of whom come to hear specific presenters listed in the program); and the conference organizers (who scramble to enter last-minute edits to the printed, posted, and mobile app versions of the program as well as to negotiate with caterers regarding continually shifting attendance numbers). Here are several points to consider:


1. When you agree to be included in a session proposal, or when you submit an individual proposal for a poster or paper, you have committed to attending the conference and presenting that research.


2. ASEH conferences have a proposal rejection rate of 30-50%, and when the program committee accepts your session or paper, it is important to realize that someone else's has been rejected - perhaps someone who would have truly valued the opportunity to present.


3. If you sign up to present a poster and don't show up or fail to provide adequate notice of cancellation, you waste the society's money and time (poster boards are expensive and require space and storage in the conference hotel). More important, people attend the poster session expecting to see the research as promised in the conference program.


4. Orders for poster boards and AV equipment, banquet food, bus transportation, and other items are submitted at least a month in advance.


True emergencies do occur - accidents, deaths, serious illness, severe weather, sudden financial hardships, and unexpected events affect presenters at every meeting. Conference planners, session organizers, and attendees are understanding and sympathetic when people have to cancel owing to a catastrophe; however, many last-minute cancellations are due to poor planning. If one's institution denies travel funding, the professional and collegial response is to cancel immediately and not wait until the last minute. Moreover, feeling overwhelmed or inconvenienced by conference commitments are not valid reasons to cancel within a few days of the meeting. A good rule of thumb is to cancel as soon as you think you cannot attend - and at least six weeks in advance.


A recent post on conference etiquette for grad students applies to the greater academic community as well. The recommendation to be a "generous scholar" is a sound one, and we suggest that it is also important to be a "respectful scholar" by showing up for your session as promised. Although scholars can research and publish with minimal contact with others, it is the in-person interaction that makes conferences special. As the ASEH community expands, the collegiality of our meetings continues to bind our community, fostering vibrant discourse. Everyone appreciates the respect we demonstrate by participating as promised.


If you have comments or suggestions, e-mail the authors at




member news


Jared Farmer is the 2014 recipient of the Hiett Prize, one of the USA's most prestigious honors in the humanities. A professor at Stony Brook University in New York, he will receive the award at a 10th anniversary public luncheon on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. Click here for more info.


ACLS Fellowship Recipients


The following ASEH members received 2014 fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies:


Fredrik Albritton Jonsson / ACLS Fellowship

Assistant Professor, History, University of Chicago

The British Origins of the Anthropocene: Coal, Climate, and Deep Time 1784-1884


John P. Murphy / Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art Doctoral Candidate, Art History, Northwestern University Comrades in Craft: Arts and Crafts Colonies in the United States, 1894-1915


Cynthia Radding / ACLS Fellowship

Professor, History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Bountiful Deserts and Imperial Shadows. Seeds of Knowledge and Corridors of Migration in Northern New Spain


Gregory Rosenthal / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship Doctoral Candidate, History, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Hawaiians who left Hawai'i: Work, Body, and Environment in the Pacific World, 1786-1876


Congratulations to all! For more info. on ACLS Fellowships, click here.






Final Notice - ASEH awards submissions for 2014


The next year's prize committees will evaluate submissions (published books and articles and completed dissertations) that appear between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014. 

Please send three copies of each submission for books and articles (these must be hard copies, or paper copies) for receipt by November 14, 2014 to:
Lisa Mighetto, ASEH, UW Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program, University of Washington, 1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA  98402

Articles that appeared in our journal, Environmental History, are automatically considered by our journal's editorial board, and there is no need to submit copies for the Leopold-Hidy Prize.

Electronic submission of dissertations:
We encourage electronic submissions of your dissertation, if your dissertation was approved between Nov. 1, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2014. Submit in pdf format as a single file less than 5 megabytes in size to by November 14, 2014.


Note: ASEH also offers awards for distinguished scholar, distinguished service, and distinguished career in public environmental history. Deadline for applications: November 14, 2014. Click here for more info.


Final Notice - ASEH Samuel P. Hays Fellowship Applications


It is open to practicing historians (either academic, public, or independent). Graduate students are ineligible. A Ph.D. is not required. Submissions will be accepted between June and September 30, 2013, and the recipient will be selected and notified in December 2014 for funding in January 2015.


To apply, please submit the following items:

  • A two-page statement (500 words) explaining your project and how you intend to use the research funds.
  • A c.v. no more than two pages in length.

All items for the Samuel P. Hays Research Fellowship must be submitted electronically by October 1, 2014 to Barry Muchnick, committee chair, at



Final Notice - ASEH Hal Rothman Fellowship Applications

Students enrolled in any Ph.D. program worldwide are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted June 1- September 30, 2013, and the recipient will be selected and notified in December 2014, for funding in January 2015.


To apply, please submit the following three items:

  • Two-page statement (500 words) explaining your project and how you intend to use the research funds.
  • A c.v. no more than two pages in length.
  • A letter of recommendation from your graduate advisor

All items for the Hal Rothman Research Fellowship must be submitted electronically to by October 1, 2014


Newberry Library Fellowships


ASEH has partnered with the Newberry Library in Chicago to offer an annual research fellowship. Click here for more info.


Positions Open


Currently there are several positions for senior scholars and assistant professors posted on ASEH's website (Oberlin College, Lake Forest College, University of Wisconsin, University of Montana, and others). Click here to view.

ASEH Mentoring Program


ASEH conferences are known for their friendliness and collegiality - a characteristic enhanced by our mentoring/hosting program. Would you like to introduce a student or new professional to our conference by meeting with them in Washington, DC and explaining our events and including them in some of your discussions?


If you are interested in serving as a mentor or in being a mentee, please contact by March 1, 2015.


Indicate your preference (mentor or mentee) and we will match people before the conference and send them one another's contact info.


Note: If you are a non-academic mentor willing to talk about your work and if you are a student or new  professional who would like to talk with a non-academic mentor in Washington, DC, please indicate that preference as well.



for graduate students


Workshops at 2015 Conference


ASEH's Graduate Student Caucus has organized two workshops on writing and career development for our 2015 conference. Instructions for signing up will be available in the next issue of the newsletter.


ASEH on Twitter


ASEH's Graduate Student Caucus has created the handle #ASEHGradCaucus. ASEH's 2015 conference continues to use #ASEH2015 for conference-related tweets.


Grad Student Liaison Position Available

ASEH's Graduate Student Caucus invites applicants for the position of Graduate Student Liaison to the Executive Committee for the year 2015.

ASEH will provide the recipient with a $500 USD travel subsidy to attend the executive committee meeting at the ASEH annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in March 2015. Attendance at the executive committee meeting (Saturday, March 21) is required, as is consulting with graduate students and the graduate student caucus throughout the year. The term of the position runs from January 1 to December 31, 2015.

To apply for this position, please submit a one-page statement describing your interest in this position, including information regarding previous participation in ASEH activities and/or leadership and service experience. Please also submit a short c.v. (maximum three pages).

Applications should be sent via email to Bathsheba Demuth, current ASEH Graduate Student Liaison ( The deadline for applications is October 17, 2014. All applicants will be notified of election results by October 25, 2014.
Note that to vote in this election one must be a current member of the ASEH Graduate Student Caucus. Membership in the caucus is simple! To join, please send a statement of interest to the current liaison, Bathsheba Demuth at If you are a graduate student in environmental history, please consider joining the caucus in advance of the October 4 election deadline.

Also note that graduate students can apply for both the liaison position and an ASEH travel grant, but they can receive only one for travel to the 2015 conference.



aseh news is a publication of the American Society for Environmental History


Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, President 
Kathleen Brosnan, University of Oklahoma, Vice President/President Elect
Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Treasurer
Jay Taylor, Simon Fraser University, Secretary

Executive Committee:
Sarah Elkind, San Diego State University 
Sterling Evans, University of Oklahoma
Sara Gregg, University of Kansas
Ellen Stroud, Bryn Mawr College 
Paul Sutter, University of Colorado
Louis Warren, University of California-Davis
Graeme Wynn, University of British Columbia
Ex Officio, Past Presidents:

Nancy Langston, University of Wisconsin-Madison
John McNeill, Georgetown University
Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ex Officio, Editor, Environmental History
Lisa Brady, Boise State University

Ex Officio, Executive Director and Editor, aseh news:
Lisa Mighetto, University of Washington-Tacoma


Ex Officio, Graduate Student Liaison:

Bathsheba Demuth, University of California-Berkeley


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