From:                                   Lisa Mighetto <>

Sent:                                    Wednesday, September 23, 2015 7:36 AM


Subject:                                ASEH News Fall 2015



aseh news

fall 2015                      volume 26, issue 3


update on 2016 conference

If you submitted a proposal to present at our 2016 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 few weeks.

Our 2016 conference will include the following events:

  • 2 plenary sessions - one on Teaching Environmental History and one on Contextualizing Western Drought
  • 100 sessions
  • workshop on publishing
  • Forest History Society lunch featuring speaker Douglas Brinkley
  • 5 receptions, where you can meet friends and colleagues
  • exhibit area with more than 40 tables, where you can talk to editors and view the latest scholarship in environmental history
  • "meet the environmental history professionals" table providing info. and advice on career development
  • 14 field trips on Friday afternoon and Sunday

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



national park service centennial and aseh

In honor of the centennial of the National Park Service, ASEH's conference will feature sessions on the national parks and public lands as well as a free brown bag lunch featuring Audrey Peterman, author of Legacy on the Land, and Glenn Nelson, author of recent NY Times piece "Why Are Our Parks So White?"

We have also organized 2 day trips for April 3: Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island and Olympic National Park.

Above: NPS field trips will include a tour of the Elwa River Dam removal site in Olympic National Park, pictured above.


publishing workshop

Our 2016 conference will

feature a publishing workshop on March 30, sponsored by the University of Washington Press. Details will be available on ASEH's conference website later this fall.


travel grants

A limited number of travel grants are available for students and low-income scholars presenting at our 2016 conference. Please note that membership in ASEH is required for applying. Click here for more information.             


future conferences


March 30-April 3, 2016



March 29-April 2, 2017 


Interested in hosting a future ASEH conference? Contact




The October issue of Environmental History includes a forum on Technology, Ecology, and Human Health Since 1850, along with articles on Grizzly Adams, colonial North India, tourism boosters in California and Florida, and more.  Click here for additional information.


Our 2016 conference will include a field trip to the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Plant, and a visit to the underground cavity and generating station (pictured above).

Our field trips will include a birding trip to Discovery Park, pictured above - featuring a walk through a forest grove and along a beach.

Our 2016 conference will include an environmental justice tour (by boat) of the Duwamish River (pictured above).

Four walking tours of downtown Seattle will be offered during our conference.

Our 2016 conference will include a boat tour of Lake Union and the ship canal and locks (pictured above).

Our day trip to Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve will include a stop at the historic town of Coupeville (pictured above) for Penn Cove mussels.

Our 2016 conference will offer a day trip to Ebey's Landing (pictured above).


from the archives

Tom Dunlap donated a 1984 document to ASEH's archives that shows membership distribution. This graphic (above)  demonstrates that we had global membership even back then. Click here to view a larger, readable version of the membership map.


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 11, 2015.


fall leaves 1

president's column: climate change, ethics, and politics


"The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth." With blunt statements such as this one, Pope Francis's encyclical, or teaching document, offers a firm embrace of mainstream science on climate change and its causes, while reminding us that the issue is inherently linked to economic injustice. Thus, Francis contends, climate change is not only an environmental matter; it is an ethical crisis.


"Laudato Si" ("Praise Be to You") contends that the human burning of fossil fuels has rendered "unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us," but the poorest and the poorest nations experience its most dire consequences. While raising no new scientific questions for the members of this organization, it is the first papal encyclical devoted solely to environmental issues. Moreover, it offers a powerful critique of unchecked global capitalism and the inequities it has engendered.


Francis also observes, "It is remarkable how weak international political responses have been. The failure of global summits on the environment makes it plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance. There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good . . ." Whether this encyclical will help to break through such logjams when UN summits on climate change and sustainable development convene at the end of the year remains to be seen.


What was as striking as the Pope's bold statement was the scant attention paid to the issue of climate change in first two presidential debates. Only three candidates addressed it for perhaps five minutes in the second debate despite the fact that this contest took place in drought-ridden, wildfire-plagued California. The fault, however, lay as much with the moderators who failed to ask probing questions on the subject. Despite the Pope's encyclical, despite the global calamity that is well afoot, despite the thousands of lives arguably lost in human-exacerbated disasters, the media continues to give climate change sporadic, limited attention.


ASEH, on the other hand, hopes to bring these various issue to the fore at its upcoming meeting in Seattle. In addition to other provocative sessions, the program committee led by Chair Brett Walker has organized a plenary session, "Contextualizing Western Drought." I hope that you will join us in March 2016 for Environmental History and its Publics.


Finally, in my December 2015 column, I would like to address a special form of giving - mentoring. Mentoring occurs in many different ways in our profession. For example, 18 people participated in ASEH's mentoring program this past year; you can learn more about it at I would love to hear your ideas about mentoring generally and within ASEH in particular. Thank you!



Kathleen Brosnan, ASEH President -



the profession: report on aseh's 2015 internship

by Rachel Jacobson, North Carolina State University


Editor's note: This year, ASEH partnered with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Society for Conservation Biology to offer a student internship for an environmental history archives project, which includes the identification, collection and processing of primary documents associated with the history of conservation biology. Among these are materials from the early years of the Society for Conservation Biology, an international professional organization founded in 1985, and from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, a leading international conservation research center.


As a Master's Candidate in Public History with a primary focus in environmental history, it has been rewarding to get the first look at some of the SCB documents that have not been reviewed in over a decade and to decipher how the collection would best be organized. Aside from the opportunity to work with interesting content, getting to work with scientists and historians from the SCB, ASEH, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is exciting, as it is unusual to work with so many partners in a single project.


Eventually these records will become available to environmental historians, ecologists, biologists, public policy professionals, and anyone else who may benefit from access. Thus far, I have seen documents on conservation biology conferences, public policy discussions, and outreach to environmental organizations. In addition to
getting the SCB papers archived and accessioned, our project has another goal of creating a streamlined process for gathering and organizing conservation biology documents and artifacts. Improving records management systems will help any organization improve institutional memory, help to prevent the loss of records, and help meetings run more smoothly.  I am grateful to the ASEH and its partners for this opportunity.



member news


Cody Ferguson published This is Our Land: Grassroots Environmentalism in the Late Twentieth Century (Rutgers University Press).


Robert R. Gioielli published Environmental Activism and the Urban Crisis (Temple University Press).


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


Kate Brown, University of Maryland, for "Chernobyl Revisited: An Historical Inquiry into the Practice of Knowing"


Maura Capps, Maura, University of Chicago, "All Flesh is Grass: Cultivation as Conservation in Britain's Settler Empire, 1780-1850"


Bathsheba Demuth, University of California-Berkeley, "The Power of Place: Modern Ideology and Arctic Ecology in the Bering Straits, 1848-1988"


Congratulations to all!






Final Notice - ASEH awards submissions


ASEH will offer the following awards in 2016. Click on the links for application requirements - all submissions are due on November 16, 2015.


Outstanding Scholarship:


Click here for information on the George Perkins Marsh Prize for best book in environmental history


Click here for information on the Alice Hamilton Prize for best article outside journal Environmental History


Click here for information on the Rachel Carson Prize for best dissertation in environmental history


Please note that authors published in our journal Environmental History will automatically be considered for the Leopold-Hidy Prize for best article; no need to submit anything.


Service and Achievement Awards:


The Distinguished Service Award is presented every year to an individual who has contributed significantly to the development of ASEH as an organization; membership in ASEH is required. Click here for a link to the brief form to submit for nomination.


ASEH's Public Outreach Project Award is presented to an environmental history project that engages the public. Eligible nominees include films, exhibitions, historic preservation, archaeology, community programs, and other similar work. Scholarly articles and books are excluded. The project should have been presented or initiated (if it is ongoing, such as a website or blog) between January 2014 (when our last award was selected) and the fall of 2015. Nominations may be made by anyone, including those associated with the project. Click here for submission instructions.


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. Funding is for 2016.


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 to by November 16, 2015.



Final Notice - ASEH Hal Rothman Fellowship Applications

Students enrolled in any Ph.D. program worldwide are eligible to apply. Funding is for 2016.


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 November 16, 2015


Newberry Library Fellowships


ASEH has partnered with the Newberry Library in Chicago to offer an annual research fellowship. Membership in ASEH required. Click here for more info. Deadline for application: December 15, 2015.


Positions Open


Currently there are several tenure-track positions for environmental history and environmental studies posted on ASEH's website (Boston College, Brown University, Bowdoin College, Drexel, University of Oregon, and more). 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 Seattle 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, 2016.


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 Seattle, please indicate that preference as well.



for graduate students


Events at 2016 Conference


ASEH's Graduate Student Caucus has organized a session on career development and a workshop on writing. Anyone can attend the career development session. To sign up for the writing workshop contact Ian J. Jesse at by January 10, 2016.

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 2016.

ASEH will provide the recipient with a $500 USD travel subsidy to attend the ASEH annual meeting in Seattle in late March/early April 2016. Attendance at the executive committee meeting (Saturday, April 2) 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, 2016.

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 Daniel Soucier, current ASEH Graduate Student Liaison ( The deadline for applications is November 16, 2015. 

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, Daniel Soucier  at

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 2016 conference.




film review: a culture of commitment
By Mike Dockry, USDA Forest Service

"A Culture of Commitment: Indian Forestry," produced by Upstream Productions, is a primer on American Indian forestry. The film juxtaposes historical photographs with interviews with tribal forest managers, academics, and US government officials. It tracks Indian forestry from the late 1800s through the present and argues that it is a model of sustainable forestry for the US. The interview participants show us that American Indian tribes have managed their forests for millennia and since the 1900s, tribes have been pushing the US government to allow them to harvest timber and manage their forests to achieve tribal goals. From federal legislation in 1910 that allowed American Indian tribes to harvest live trees, through the 1990 National Indian Forest Resources Management Act, we hear how tribal forestry is an extension of tribal self-determination and sovereignty and how forestry has been a way for tribes to protect and restore their forestlands while sustaining their people.


The film neglects a larger body of historical scholarship that could have provided better context for understanding Indian forestry and its relationship with the progressive era; the history of the US Forest Service and Department of the Interior; and the interplay among the civil rights, environmental, and the American Indian movements of the 1960s and 1970s.  The film could have also explained more about the Intertribal Timber Council. These omissions remind us that there is a dearth of scholarly research on American Indian forest management and that this is fertile ground for future environmental history scholarship.


The film's greatest strength is in highlighting the historically marginalized voices of American Indian people and their forest managers as they discuss and explain their own values, forest management goals, and views on the importance of American Indian forestry. The film shows over a dozen tribes and includes compelling interviews with forest managers and leaders from the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, the Hoopa Valley Tribe in California, the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington, the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in Oregon. There are also interviews with former Bureau of Indian Affairs "Chief Foresters," the author of a detailed history of  Indian forestry (Newell et al. 1986), and Indian Forest Management Act Assessment Team members (see


In the end, the film reminds us that American Indian forest management is an important component of the history of forestry in the US and has been an important component of tribal sovereignty.



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


Kathleen Brosnan, University of Oklahoma, President

Graeme Wynn, University of British Columbia, 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

Emily Greenwald, Historical Research Associates, Inc.-Missoula

Christof Mauch, Rachel Carson Center

Kathryn Morse, Middlebury College

Cindy Ott, St. Louis University
Ellen Stroud, Bryn Mawr College 
Paul Sutter, University of Colorado
Ex Officio, Past Presidents:

Gregg Mitman, 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:

Daniel Soucier, University of Maine


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