From:                                                                           Lisa Mighetto <>

Sent:                                                                            Friday, September 23, 2016 11:24 AM


Subject:                                                                       ASEH News Fall 2016



aseh news

fall 2016                      volume 27, issue 3


update on 2017 conference


If you submitted a proposal to present at our 2017 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 2017 conference will include the following events:

  • 100 sessions
  • plenary discussion
  • workshop on 
  • 5 receptions, where you can meet friends and colleagues
  • exhibit area with 50 display tables, where you can talk to editors and view the latest scholarship in environmental history
  • field trips on Friday afternoon and Sunday, including opportunities to explore the Newberry Library and Field Museum
  • 40th-anniversary events, including a panel of past presidents discussing the development of the field of EH and a panel of past journal editors discussing publishing trends

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



workshop in Chicago

Our 2017 conference will feature a workshop "Doing Local History: Engaging the Archives, Engaging the Community" on March 29, sponsored by the Newberry Library (pictured below). It is free for conference attendees, but sign-up ahead of time is required. The online registration form will be available on ASEH's website ( in late October.


Our 2017 conference will be located in a vibrant area of downtown Chicago, along the shores of Lake Michigan. Several field trips will explore the city, including a boat tour and a walking tour along the Chicago River (pictured above and below).

Our field trips will include a tour of Indiana Dunes (pictured above) on March 31.

Our 2017 conference will offer a behind-the-scenes tour of the world-famous Field Museum.

Conference attendees can explore the Garfield Park Conservatory (pictured above).

Some field trips will explore transportation networks in Chicago.

The conference site (Drake Hotel) is located downtown near many attractions, including Millennium Park (fountain and "bean" sculpture pictured above and below).


travel grants

A limited number of travel grants are available for students and low-income scholars presenting at our 2017 conference. Please note that membership in ASEH is required for applying. Click here for more information.             


from the archives

In anticipation of ASEH's 40th anniversary, we are seeking documents, images, photographs, and objects related to the organization's history. If you would have an item to share, please e-mail a digital version to, along with a description of the item. You could also mail an item to the following address:


Lisa Mighetto, University of Washington Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, 1900 Commerce, Tacoma, WA 98402


We can scan it and return it to you. Note: we already have copies of the first issue of the journal and the first conference program, pictured above.


future conferences


March 29-April 2, 2017


Riverside, CA

March 14-18, 2018


Interested in hosting a future ASEH conference? Contact


aseh and sustainability

Click here to view purchase of carbon credits for our past conferences. Below is a diagram from MeetGreen suggesting steps individuals can take to lower their carbon footprint. Click here to view the larger graphic.




The October issue of Environmental History includes articles on the music of the environment, New Zealand forests, botanical drug trade in Southern Appalachia, Lewis Mumford's urbanism, and more. Click here for additional information.


aseh equity fellowships

This year, ASEH has launched new fellowships to encourage and support underrepresented students. Please help us circulate the information on the equity graduate student fellowship and the local equity undergraduate fellowship. Deadlines: November 18, 2016.


See You in 2017!

Photos courtesy Lisa Mighetto, Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, and Shutterstock.


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 9, 2016.


fall leaves 1

president's column: aseh's mentoring program needs you!


In a September 2 article, Steven Pearlstein, a business and economic writer for the Washington Post and the Robinson Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University, asked us to "Meet the Parents Who Won't Let Their Children Study Literature." Pearlstein discusses a trend toward pre-professionalism on college campuses. According to the author, "some of the brightest students . . . had been misled - by parents, the media, politicians and, alas, each other - into thinking that choosing English or history as a major would doom them to lives as impecunious schoolteachers." This trend has continued despite evidence that the unemployment rate for recently graduated humanities majors was not significantly different than those for other disciplines. See


Those of us working within the academy deal with these myriad challenges on a daily basis, but presumably for most ASEH members, the humanities remain an essential component of an excellent college education.  Undergraduate history degrees do not doom our students to the ranks of unemployment; moreover, the American Historical Association has laid out fundamental reasons for studying history. "[H]istory offers a storehouse of information about how people and societies behave. . . Major aspects of a society's operation, like mass elections, missionary activities, or military alliances, cannot be set up as precise experiments. Consequently, history must serve, however imperfectly, as our laboratory, and data from the past must serve as our most vital evidence in the unavoidable quest to figure out why our complex species behaves as it does in societal settings. . . The second reason history is inescapable . . . [is] the past causes the present, and so the future. . . Only through studying history can we grasp how things change; only through history can we begin to comprehend the factors that cause change; and only through history can we understand what elements of an institution or a society persist despite change." See


At the same time, we must acknowledge the difficult job market facing graduate students in the humanities, including the field of environmental history. Recognizing those realities, ASEH established a mentoring program some five years ago. The objective is to assist students and early-career scholars in environmental history with professional development and engagement. In this program, mid-career or senior scholars, including professionals from outside the academy, counsel graduate students or post-graduates who received their degree (PhD, MA, and JD) within the past five years. 


In 2016, we had 18 mentor-mentee relations. The mentor does not try to replicate the role of the dissertation adviser. The mentor does not address the fine points of the mentee's scholarship. Rather the partnership provides the mentee with a sounding board in environmental history, an important source for career advice and information on professional advancement. In some cases, the mentor may be able to facilitate contacts for the mentee.


In the past, the program focused on the annual conference where the mentor and mentee could meet in person. While we still believe that this face-to-face interaction is important, in 2017, the program will incorporate the entire year. We trust the mentors and mentees to outline the appropriate parameters of these relations so that no one is unduly burdened by his or her participation.


ASEH strongly encourages its members to join the mentoring program. If you are an experienced scholar, please consider this service as a way to share the wisdom of your years. If you are a junior scholar, please take advantage of a unique opportunity to expand your professional horizons. International participants are welcome. For more information, click here.


And I am particularly pleased that the newly organized Women's Environmental History Network (WEHN) has identified mentoring as one of its priorities and plans to promote ASEH's mentoring program through its own activities.


WE NEED YOU! Thank you for being a part of ASEH and for considering this important program.


Kathleen Brosnan, ASEH President -



the profession: environmental history interns report on summary projects


This is the second year that ASEH has offered summer internships to grad studlents interested in environmental history projects and careers outside the university. See below for summaries of the 2016 projects.


National Parks Research

Rachel Lanier Taylor, grad student, University of Washington


Part of the mission of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a non-profit organization, is to protect and preserve the nation's "most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations." This includes advocating for new national park units, such as the recently established Stonewall National Monument, an important site for LGBTQ heritage and Pullman National Monument, a planned industrial community and site of the 1894 Pullman strike. My summer internship with ASEH involved researching the establishment of park units and producing a report, which the NPCA will consult in its discussions with policy makers who sometimes express concern about establishing parks without having the ongoing funding in place at the outset.


My internship with ASEH explored the early history of funding of six national parks - Yellowstone, Yosemite, Gettysburg, Mount Rainier, The Great Smoky Mountains, and Olympic. Through understanding early park funding issues, NPCA hopes to make historically-informed arguments for new national park sites.


Much of my research drew on the Congressional Globe and the Congressional Record. With the help of librarians at the University of Washington's Law Library, I discovered whether gaps existed between the establishment of national parks and federal appropriations. I also investigated what types of park values representatives discussed in session and in committee. These ranged from the value of historical memory and patriotism to discussions of the economic value of forestry versus the value of tourism to the exact price of elk teeth in the area that would become Olympic National Park. I supplemented this legislative research with digital collections and, in the cases of Mount Rainier and Olympic, with holdings in Special Collections at the University of Washington. Through this internship I developed my skills in compiling legislative histories, which will prove particularly valuable in my own research on federal land management.


In addition to developing historical and legislative research skills, my internship with ASEH introduced me to the work of historical consultation. Working with NPCA allowed me to establish valuable contacts and to explore a career in history outside of academia. The experience helped me see how fruitful collaborations between environmental historians and non-profit organizations can be, even when parts of my research did not entirely support the funding argument NPCA hopes to make. I am grateful for this internship and the opportunities it afforded and wish to extend my thanks to Lisa Mighetto, Rob Smith, and Graham Taylor for their help and collaboration on this project.


Mobile App Research
Madison Heslop, grad student, University of Washington

Next Exit History is a mobile application that enables users to explore the historic landscape around them in an "immersive digital history experience." My internship this summer with Next Exit History and affiliated company Three21 Innovations involved research on historic sites in Seattle to expand the environmental history content of the app. In all, I researched, photographed, and wrote summaries for approximately thirty sites in downtown Seattle and Bainbridge Island.

In selecting sites, I collaborated with ASEH's executive director, Lisa Mighetto, and project supervisors at Three21 to identify a set of themes and an appropriate list of historic buildings and points of interest. We soon settled on an overall theme of "Crossroads Seattle," containing multiple "backpacks" of sites arranged around the themes of "Shaky Landscapes," "Markets," "Pacific Connections," and a fourth backpack for the geographically distinct sites on Bainbridge Island. Shaky Landscapes was the most explicitly environmental theme, focusing on the influence of earthquakes, fire, tunnels, and road regrades as well as human mobility on the city's changeable

Above and below: property card and tax assessment records, Puget Sound Regional Archives.

landscape. The Market backpack considered sites like the famous Pike Place Fish Market to describe subjects such as the importance and ecological impact of fisheries in Seattle and Puget Sound. The Pacific backpack included sites tied to shipbuilding, trans-Pacific labor networks, the Klondike gold rush, prohibition-era rum running, marine life, and the water itself. Given these themes, my work for Next Exit History owes a great deal to Matthew Klingle's Emerald City, Coll Thrush's Native Seattle, and David Williams's Too High and Too Steep, all of which I drew on both to select my sites and to narratively tie each of them together.

During my internship, I developed my skills as a researcher, reaching out to state and local archives and learning to navigate Washington's online system of architectural and archaeological records. Further, my internship provided an opportunity to write history for a public
audience, placing productive limitations my word count and language. Last, my work for Next Exit History introduced me to ways of combining historical research with digital technologies, an
increasingly prominent area of historical work that many researchers such as myself hope to do but fear to attempt. I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity and intend to make the most of these lessons. Many thanks to Lisa Mighetto, Tim Roberts, Alan Newell, and Bob Butterworth.



member news


Robert Lifset's book Power on the Hudson: Storm King Mountain & The Emergence of Modern American Environmentalism (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014), was awarded the 2016 Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History by the New York Academy of History.


Edmund Russell has moved from the University of Kansas to Boston University, where he is a professor in the Department of History. Ed is now Vice-President, with responsibility for the Research Division, of the American Historical Association.


Coll Thrush, University of British Columbia, has published a new book, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire (Yale University Press, 2017). This history reframes the city's past through the experiences of Indigenous children, women, and men, and in doing so offers new insights into the urban origins and human costs of empire


Conevery Bolton Valencius takes up a new position September 2016 as Professor of History at Boston College, but is spending 2016-17 as a Research Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is working on a new projects on earthquakes and energy in the United States.


Congratulations to the following ASEH members, who recently received American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships:


Samuel Dolbee - Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Doctoral Candidate, New York University, "The Locust and the Starling: People, Insects, and Disease in the Ottoman Jazira and After, 1860-1930"


George Charles Halvorson - Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship., Doctoral Candidate, Columbia University, "Valuing the Air: The Politics of Environmental Regulation from the Clean Air Act to Carbon Trading"


Brian G. Lander - Luce/ACLS Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grant in China Studies, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, "Administrative Documents from the Three Kingdoms State of Wu Excavated at Zoumalou, Changsha"


For more on ACLS fellowships (and deadlines), see:





Final Notice - ASEH awards submissions


ASEH will offer the following awards in 2017. Click on the links for application requirements - all submissions are due on November 18, 2016.


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:


ASEH is accepting nominations for the Distinguished Scholar Award, Distinguished Service Award, and Public Outreach Career Award. Click here for a link to the brief form to submit for nomination.


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 18, 2016.



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 18, 2016


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, 2016.


Click here for information on additional fellowships available outside ASEH.


Equity Fellowships


This year, ASEH has launched new fellowships to encourage and support underrepresented students. Please help us circulate the information on the equity graduate student fellowship and the local equity undergraduate fellowship. Deadlines: November 18, 2016.


Positions Open


Currently there are several faculty positions open at the University of Minnesota, University of Maryland, Swathmore College, and Colorado School of Mines. Click here to view.

Call for Papers: "The Great Plains: An Environmental History"

Kathleen A. Brosnan and Brian Frehner, Principal Investigators and Editors


We solicit papers for a NSF-funded, interdisciplinary workshop (May 2017) and edited volume that explore the environmental history of the North American Great Plains and redefine the region and its environmental history by exploring how technological adaptations have shaped the history of this environment and the people who inhabited it.  Submissions should emphasize one or more of the interrelated themes of water, grasses, animals, and energy.  Technological adaptations can be defined in the broadest sense. We encourage proposals that emphasize the role of native people in shaping regional environments. Please submit a 300-500-word paper proposal and a short c.v. by September 30 to and additional information, see



for graduate students


Edge Effects/NiCHE Series in "New Research in Environmental History"


The ASEH Graduate Student Caucus is proud to announce its first blog series, "Seeds: New Research in Environmental History." The series is co-sponsored by Edge Effects and the Network in Canadian History and Environment-NiCHE. Its goal is to highlight the research of ASEH grad caucus members. For a few years, graduate students at caucus meetings have suggested building more opportunities for publication. Participants in the 2016 caucus meeting agreed that it would be fruitful to collaborate with existing online publications. A committee led by Jessica DeWitt helped bring that to vision to fruition. "Seeds" serves to highlight new work in environmental history and connect this research to other fields and contemporary issues. Writers were asked to respond to the following question: "How does your work push at the boundaries of current literature and add to existing discussions of environment/environmental history? What forces drive your research?" NiCHE and Edge Effects published the first two posts--"Sliding Down the Timber Chute: the 1901 Royal Tour of Canada," by Liz Cavaliere and "Finding Longleaf Pine in American History," by Stacy Roberts - in August and September. Readers can follow along with the monthly series here.


While "Seeds" is currently scheduled out through April (thanks to our enthusiastic contributors), there are opportunities for paired postings. Topics we are recruiting for include HGIS, agriculture, and indigenous history. ASEH caucus members interested in contributing to the series can be in touch with Jessica DeWitt at


Call for Papers for ASEH 2017 Writing Workshop


The Graduate Caucus is pleased to announce its call for participants for the 5th annual Graduate Student Writing Workshop to be held at the ASEH annual meeting in Chicago in 2017. Selected writers will join in small discussion groups with other graduate students and a faculty mentor to workshop pre-circulated pieces of writing. These small working groups will be organized by type of material - thesis/dissertation proposals; conference papers; journal articles (including Gallery submissions); and thesis/dissertation chapters. Please note that a 15-20 maximum page limit will be enforced. Applicants are invited to present their most current work.


The purpose of the Graduate Student Writing Workshop is to provide a forum for graduate students in environmental history to develop their writing and research skills. Guided by the faculty reader, each participant will read and comment on the work of fellow participants. The workshop will emphasize all aspects of the writing process, from cultivating the first germ of a project, to chapter organization and revision, to shaping proposals and abstracts. Groups will be encouraged to discuss writing style, voice, and mechanics, as well as practice how to get and give good feedback. Confirmed faculty participants include Eve Buckley, Andrew Case, Finis Dunaway, Catherine Dunlop, Stephen Pyne, and Kendra Smith-Howard.


To apply, submit a one-page (double-spaced) summary of the work that you intend to bring to the writing workshop. Note in your application the subject matter of your work as well as the format and potential audience. In addition to the one-page summary, include a one-paragraph bio indicating your research agenda, educational affiliation, and current contact information. Applications should be sent via email to Anastasia Day ( The deadline for applications is December 1, 2016. Please note that, if accepted, the final version of your work must be submitted to your faculty reader and fellow participants no later than February 27, 2017.


Graduate 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 2017. ASEH will provide the recipient with a $500 USD travel subsidy to attend the ASEH annual meeting in Chicago in 2017. Attendance at the executive committee meeting (Saturday, April 1) 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, 2017.


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 CV (maximum three pages). Applications should be sent via email to Rachel Gross, current ASEH Graduate Student Liaison ( The deadline for applications is November 18, 2016.


Please 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 at Also note that graduate students can apply for both the liaison position and an ASEH travel grant, but they can receive only one to travel to the 2017 conference. 


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:

Rachel Gross, University of Wisconsin-Madison


ASEH, UW Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program, 1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402



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