From:                                                                            Lisa Mighetto <>

Sent:                                                                             Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:32 AM


Subject:                                                                        ASEH News Fall 2018



aseh news

fall 2018                      volume 29, issue 3


message from lisa mighetto


As my retirement date of September 30 is fast approaching (this is my final issue as editor of aseh news), I want to thank ASEH's members for their exceptional collegiality and dedication over the years. You have amazed and inspired me and I am so very fortunate to have worked with you. This is my farewell to the position of Executive Director but not to the Society. I look forward to participating as a member in watching ASEH continue to grow and develop. -Lisa

Thank You, ASEH Members!

Meet David Spatz, ASEH's new executive director, pictured here reviewing ASEH's archives at the National Conservation Training Center. He can be reached at


update on 2019 conference


If you submitted a proposal to present at our 2019 conference - thank you! Our program committee will send acceptance and rejection notices in early October. 


Our 2019 conference will include the following events:

  • 100 sessions
  • plenary session, lightning talks, and thesis slam
  • Graeme Wynn's presidential address "Framing an Ecology of Hope"
  • 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 Byrd Polar Research Center and the Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie



Mark Your Calendars


columbus conference information


For information on the conference schedule, hotel reservations, and more, click here.


travel grants


A limited number of travel grants are available for students and low-income scholars presenting at our 2019 conference. Please note that membership in ASEH is required for applying. Click here for more information. Deadline: November 16, 2018.



presenting a poster at the 2019 conference


If you are interested in presenting a poster at the conference in Columbus, send your name, affiliation, and poster title to

by November 16, 2018. Click here for more information on the posters.

Above: poster session at ASEH's 2017 conference in Chicago.


future conferences

Columbus, Ohio

April 10-13, 2019


Florianopolis, Brasil

EH World Congress

July 23-26, 2019


Ottawa, Canada

March 25-29, 2020



April 20-26, 2021


Interested in hosting a future ASEH conference? Contact


aseh equity fellowships


ASEH has launched new fellowships to encourage and support underrepresented students. Please help us circulate the information on the equity graduate student fellowshipDeadline: November 16, 2018.


Environmental History World Congress


Join the global community of scholars at the world congress of environmental history in beautiful Florianopolis, Brazil July 22-26, 2019. We welcome colleagues from every continent for this event. Click here to submit a proposal. Deadline: October 1.




The October issue of Environmental History includes articles on river historiography, urban waters and the development of Vienna, the battle against the TVA in North Carolina, and more. Click here for additional information.


see you in columbus in 2019!


in memoriam: david lowenthal

by Laura Alice Watt, Sonoma State University


David Lowenthal, a historical geographer with enormous influence on both landscape and heritage studies, passed away in his sleep at home in London on September 15, 2018 at the age of 95. His remarkable career spanned from doing his masters-level work with Carl Sauer at UC Berkeley in 1950, and then his PhD on George Perkins Marsh at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, through decades as a Professor at the University College London, while maintaining strong connections with the Geography program at UC Berkeley. His book The Past is a Foreign Country truly reshaped worldwide conceptions of heritage and people's relationships with the past; in 2015, already in his 90s, Lowenthal published a completely revised and re-thought version of the book, which earned him a British Academy Medal. Lowenthal

had a long history of interaction with the ASEH, giving a keynote speech at the 2001 Durham, NC, meeting, and another at our recent conference in San Francisco in 2014. I was lucky enough to get to know David over the past four or five years, after asking him to write a Foreword for my book, The Paradox of Preservation, which he graciously did-and I am fairly certain I'll never meet anyone like him again. Warm, incredibly witty, and able to speak intelligently on nearly any topic imaginable, David was a great conversationist, an inspirational scholar and mentor, and a kind and thoughtful friend. It was a delight to help celebrate his 95th birthday this past April with him and Mary Alice and a houseful of geographers at their home in North Berkeley, and also to chat with him at the Festschrift Symposium celebrating Carolyn Merchant's career a month later. His insight will be sorely missed, although we can also look forward to his last book, Quest for the Unity of Knowledge, which will be published by Routledge later this year.

Pictured above: David Lowenthal and Laura Watt.


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 7, 2018.


Photos courtesy Experience Columbus, Lisa Mighetto, and Laura Watt


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president's column: transitions


Clio may be the muse of History, but sometimes I think Heraclitus should occupy that pedestal. I entertain this notion aware of the unfortunate inferences that might be drawn from descriptions of him as "The Obscure," and his reputation as the "weeping philosopher." And I do so not simply because his work - "a continuous treatise On Nature" - might have paved an early path for environmental history. Rather, I think of Heraclitus in this way because philosophers much more learned than I have concluded that the seemingly incoherent qualities of his fragmentary writings aimed "to produce readers who have a proper grasp of the world and their place in it." Further these scholars suggest that Heraclitus was critical of those who poured great effort into collecting information but did little of the hard work necessary to understand its meaning. These ideas surely provide useful touchstones for all who labor in the garden of the humanities. 


More than this, Heraclitus gave us a handful of aphorisms (variously rendered), emphasizing the ubiquity of change: "everything flows"; "life is flux"; "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man"; "The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change." Change is the essence of history, of course, and so we might justly conclude that Heraclitus framed the historians' charter, especially as those who have pored over these words find them both subtle and profound. Yes, they mark the pervasiveness of change, but they also point up the fact that some things stay the same only by changing.


I have found myself musing (pun entirely intentional) about such things lately. Change has not been the only constant of the last several months, but it has certainly carved its ringing grooves through ASEH and my experience. Our society is in transition. As I write, and as these words reach your screens, Lisa Mighetto is in her last days as Executive Director of ASEH. We marked her retirement, publically and in advance, with a celebration of her enormous contributions to the affairs and well-being of the Society at our annual meeting in Riverside. Part of that occasion was the presentation, to Lisa, of a collection of warm commendations of her work, friendship, and overall invaluable contributions to ASEH from two dozen colleagues who worked with her over the years. This tribute has been posted on ASEH's website. It spans the twenty years of Lisa's time as secretary and then as Executive Director - half the lifetime of the society; the Lisacene? We know when this began, but I am considering the formation of a new committee, chaired by John McNeill, to assemble the evidence necessary to certify the Lisacene as epochal. Thank you Lisa. You will be missed.


David Spatz, who has been working alongside Lisa the last two months learning the many ropes that end on the ED's desk, will assume "sole charge" on 1 October. Welcome David. We recognize that there is much for you to learn, but we are confident that the change you represent will help lead us forward.  We won't place you on that pedestal with Heraclitus or Clio - just yet.  Nor do we expect or want ASEH to stay the same as you assume your new role. Indeed, there are many ways in which the Society needs to change. Many of these are documented in the new Strategic Plan, which is currently before the Executive Committee. 

Developed and refined through a protracted process, it will - if approved by the EC - be posted on the website early in October. I encourage all members to read it. We have sought to distil meaning from, and find appropriate direction amid, the shifting social, cultural, economic, technological, and other flows that bear in upon organizations such as ours at this time. Life is flux. Particularly acute, because it requires our concerted individual and collective attention, is the need to ensure that people of all ethnicities, nationalities, genders, and sexual orientations feel entirely welcome, respected and included within the orbit of ASEH activities. We hope that the Strategic Plan provides each of you, as members of ASEH, with a sharpened sense of the world in which the society operates, even as it encourages you to think about your place in it. 


Our journal Environmental History is also in transition, as new editors Mark Hersey and Stephen Brain, both of Mississippi State University work in tandem with Lisa Brady toward the assumption of full editorial control on 1 January 2019. We will mark Lisa B's stellar work with the journal at a later date. Many things about the journal will remain the same for the foreseeable future: its name, its broad format, its publication by OUP, and so on. But as issue follows issue the editors will realize, as all journal editors probably have, the wisdom of Heraclitus's aphorism about the river. Constant as we hope the flow of manuscript submissions will be, it will never be the same this year as it was last, and our editors will find themselves "different men" as the result of their labours (with the aid of Heraclitus's touchstones) on our behalf. Thank you in anticipation. We look forward to the same ever-changing but constantly stimulating assemblage of material that has distinguished our major publication for many years.


On a more personal note, I have been prompted to reflect on change by my own transition. With "retirement" has come the need to vacate my university office. I have spent tranches of time contemplating, and (painfully, slowly) "downsizing."  There is no room at home for the fifty-year accumulation of books in my office, and no earthly home (other than the dump) for similarly long runs of journals. And file drawers full of course and research notes, reprints, offprints, and photocopies!!! Even I have no need of most of these in the age of the digital library. But jettisoning, gifting, and selling (for a token) much of this material has been tough. The past keeps surfacing: in the form of inscriptions on offprints from luminaries of the discipline who are no longer with us; in memories of the times and places where books were bought and read; as recollections of students past; in the realization that a particular sheaf of files and notes was an article-in-embryo that will never be realized. Time bears in as I disassemble my intellectual life. But that is the way of things. New prospects, new challenges, new enthusiasms, arise simultaneously.  "All things pass and nothing stays" said Plato channelling Heraclitus. But I remember that rivers, societies, organizations, people, and human minds are remarkable in their capacity to remain what they are by changing what they contain and how they exist in the world.


-Graeme Wynn, ASEH President



the profession: environmental history and engaging the broader public

by Mary E. Mendoza, Penn State University


Public engagement matters and, as historians, we have a lot to offer. With that in mind and given the current political climate, I have been making a point to engage with the public in ways that I never have before and this is a brief note to encourage others to do the same. It's not as difficult as you might think, and you don't necessarily have to have a media contact to do it. There are several blogs out there looking for someone with expertise in environmental history to write for them and, the new Washington Post column Made by History is a column run by historians, for historians. This summer, a number of our colleagues published in that column as headlines about the border, the administration, women's rights, and many other topics dominated the news. I wrote a piece, complimentary to my article in Environmental History about the history of border fences at the U.S.-Mexico divide. I also co-authored a piece about the history of immigration law as it pertains to definition of a public charge.


Given the ways in which many issues of the day are deeply entangled with environmental history, it makes sense for us to use our expertise to engage the broader public. The process is not nearly as daunting as it might seem. All you have to do is send an email to the venue of your choice, pitch an idea, and then, if they go for it, you send a draft which they will edit and eventually print. You can find the contact information for most blogs on the about or contact tabs of the website and for the "Made by History" column all you have to do is email the editors at the address listed on the website.


Engaging with the public not only provides context for folks who might not otherwise have that information, it also proves that studying history and the humanities has value. In this time of political divisiveness and disregard for accurate information, we have a lot of power. Let's get out there and use it.


Mary E. Mendoza is an assistant professor of history and Latinx studies at Penn State University, the David J. Weber Fellow for the study of southwestern America at Southern Methodist University, and a Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.



a conversation about getting the most out of the aseh conference
by Sarah Elkind, San Diego State University and Nancy Jacobs, Brown University


Nancy Jacobs: So Sarah. Lisa Mighetto has asked us to think about how to get the most out of a conference experience. You and I have been hanging out at ASEH and other conferences for a long time now. We began as PhD candidates and now are environmental history mavens! You, especially, have been committed to attending the ASEH. I'd like to know how you see the changes in the organization over the past 25 years.


Sarah Elkind: The conference and organization are so much bigger now that they both seem a bit more formal. If I were new to environmental history, I think I'd feel more intimidated than I did when I started attending. But even though a lot of us are at the conference to see old friends, I think many in the organization value the welcoming accessibility of the smaller conferences, and are trying to keep that spirit alive. I try to talk to people I don't know at the conference, for example, and introduce them to people they want to meet. Do you see the conference as a place to build on old networks or to meet new people, Nancy?


N: Well both, but networks need tending if they are going to circulate ideas and introductions efficiently and fairly. 


A few years back some of us decided that it would make sense to cultivate connections between women in the ASEH, to make their scholarship more visible and to create meaningful relationships. So we formed Women's Environmental History Network (WEHN) in 2015-6. At our receptions during the annual meeting, we lay value on introducing people and making connections. We wanted an event where it was expected and easy to strike up a conversation with someone you didn't know. The reception features also tables staffed by mavens (as we call ourselves) with expertise on a specific theme because we thought this would help people start a conversation with new acquaintances. WEHN mavens also participate in the ASEH mentoring program. Now that we've found our feet, WEHN is committed to providing a space for ASEH members to be intentional about connecting with each other and to supporting the organization's diversity initiatives. So everybody should come to our receptions! Sarah, do you have any other wisdom to share?


S: I'd also love to see the mentoring and networking reception grow, and to see the spirit of the thing the tone for the conference. My other advice is that people just act like ASEH is a welcoming place - because I think it is and because if we all talk to people we don't know, it'll be a welcoming place: ask questions during and after sessions, introduce yourself to new people. Have a meal or a coffee with the rest of your panel, or with someone you've met during a session. Volunteer to serve on an ASEH committee. And if you want to get on the program, use H-Environment to put together a panel proposal, as it is much easier to get on the program with a panel than with a single paper.


Editor's note: Click here for information on ASEH's mentoring program. Email ASEH's director at if you are interested in serving on a committee.



member news


Drew Isenberg and Jay Turner recently launched a teaching and research website focused on conservatives and the environment - It is a collection of primary documents, discussion questions, and a timeline that allows students to investigate how the Republican Party's position on environmental issues has changed since the 1970s. They hope it will be useful for putting together lectures, discussions, and student research papers. It serves as an accompaniment to their forthcoming book, The Republican Reversal: Conservatives and the Environment from Nixon to Trump, which will be released in mid-October.


Mary E. Mendoza has accepted a new position as an Assistant Professor of History and Latinx Studies at Penn State University. This year, she is also the David J. Weber Fellow at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies and a Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.





Final Notice - ASEH awards submissions


ASEH will offer the following awards in 2019. Click on the links for application requirements - all submissions are due on November 16, 2018.


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 (scroll down).


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 2018.


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, 2018.



Final Notice - ASEH Hal Rothman Fellowship Applications

Students enrolled in any Ph.D. program worldwide are eligible to apply. Funding is for 2018.


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, 2018


Equity Fellowships

Several years ago ASEH launched a new fellowship to encourage and support underrepresented students. Please help us circulate the information on the equity graduate student fellowship. Deadline: November 16, 2018.


Newberry Library Fellowship

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, 2018.


Third World Congress of Environmental History
October 1, 2018 is the deadline
for proposals for the world congress in Brazil July 2019. Click here for more information.


Boston Seminar on Environmental History

Click here for information on this series, which is now underway.



call for nominations for ASEH executive committee and other positions


ASEH's Nominating Committee (Brian Black, Jay Turner, Liza Piper, and Kendra Smith-Howard) encourages nominations from ASEH members for elected leadership positions in ASEH. Click here for more information. Deadline: October 5, 2018.



for graduate students: events in columbus


Three-Minute Thesis Slam: Call for Participants

ASEH's conference in Columbus will include a Three-Minute Thesis Slam - a very popular event at past meetings. There will be prizes for the top three finishers as determined by a panel of judges.

If you are interested, please contact Melissa Wiedenfeld, program committee chair, at The first fifteen Ph.D. students to contact Dr. Wiedenfeld will be included in the session. Melissa will compile a back-up list in case anyone drops out of the competition.

First developed in Australia, Three Minute Thesis competitions help doctoral candidates hone academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Students have three minutes to present compelling orations on their dissertation topics and their significance to an intelligent but nonspecialist audience. Each participant is permitted a single Powerpoint slide. Deadline for applying: December 14, 2018.


Mentoring Program

ASEH has a mentoring program to assist students and new professionals with career advice, help with conference participation, and more. If you are interested in participating, click here.



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


Graeme Wynn, University of British Columbia, President

Edmund Russell, Boston College, Vice President/President Elect
Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Treasurer
Sarah Elkind, San Diego State University, Secretary


Executive Committee:

Emily Greenwald, Historical Research Associates, Inc.-Missoula

Lynne Heasley, Western Michigan University

Kieko Matteson, University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa

Christof Mauch, Rachel Carson Center-Munich

Kathryn Morse, Middlebury College
Cindy Ott, University of Delaware

Conevery Valencius, Boston University

Camden Burd, University of Rochester, President of Grad Student Caucus

Ex Officio, Past Presidents:

Kathleen Brosnan, University of Oklahoma

Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ex Officio, Editor, Environmental History
Lisa Brady, Boise State University

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


Incoming Executive Director and new Editor, aseh news:
David Spatz, University of Illinois-Chicago


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



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