From:                                                                           Lisa Mighetto <>

Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 3:56 PM


Subject:                                                                       ASEH News Spring 2016



aseh news

spring 2016                         volume 27, issue 1


our next conference


March 30 - April 3, 2017

Winds of Change: Global Connections Across Space, Time, and Nature

location: Drake Hotel, downtown Chicago

host: University of Illinois-Chicago


Click here for Call for Proposals

Deadline for submitting proposals: July 8, 2016


Our 2017 conference could include the following special events:

  • workshop and field trip to Newberry Library
  • tour of Field Museum
  • boat tour of Chicago River
  • field trip to Pullman National Monument
  • field trip to Indiana Dunes
  • large book exhibit with opportunities to interact with publishers
  • career seminars and networking opportunities for students





The April issue of

Environmental History includes articles on Hetch Hetchy Dam, floods in Australia, the evolution of the Texas Longhorn, and more. Click here for more info.


Environmental History is pleased to announce that Lawrence Culver, associate professor at Utah State University, will be the journal's next Book Review Editor. Culver, a historian of the US-Mexico borderlands and the American West, specializes in cultural, urban, and environmental topics. His book The Frontier of Leisure: Southern California and the Shaping of Modern America (Oxford, 2010) won the Spur Award for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary Book from the Western Writers of America. His dissertation from University of California, Los Angeles, won the 2005 ASEH Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation in Environmental History. His current project examines historical perceptions of climate and climate change. The editorial team is pleased to welcome him aboard!


Culver takes over the helm from Dr. Jack Hayes (Kwantlen Polytechnic University and University of British Columbia), who served the journal as Book Review Editor for six years. Jack brought equanimity, persistence, humor, and good grace to the position and he will be greatly missed. We wish him well as he takes on greater responsibilities with Pacific Affairs as the Associate Editor (China) and in his research on wildfire and fire management in China from the 17th century.


Click here to view the new virtual issue on climate history.


Above: ASEH celebrated the 40th anniversary of our journal at the conference in Seattle. Susan Flader and Estella Leopold shared their memories of how the journal started. Click here to view a video of Susan Flader reminiscing at the conference.


Hal Rothman Fun(d) Run in Seattle


The 7th annual Hal Rothman Fun(d) Run was held, as always, on Saturday morning at the annual conference. The weather and company both proved ideal for the 5K outing. While only 18 cheerful folks ran or walked along Seattle's scenic waterfront, a total of 40 people (the appeal to non-runners to "Pay Not to Run" proved irresistible once again!) paid the suggested $20 contribution and the event raised nearly $800. All contributions go to the Hal Rothman Dissertation Fellowship. Many thanks to all who gave and participated. There are several people who have participated in all seven runs! Plans are underway for the 8th annual run in Chicago. With the hotel located right beside Lake Michigan, we'll be running the famous path featured in so many movies. So come join us and be ready for your close-up!


Above: Hal Rothman Fun(d) Runners in Seattle.


ASEH is grateful to Jamie Lewis for organizing this annual event.


Couldn't make the run this year? You can still donate to the Hal Rothman Dissertation Fellowship by clicking here and selecting the initiative to fund grad students.



photos from Seattle conference

Above: Seattle journalist Glenn Nelson takes a selfie at the National Park Service lunch.

Above: CNN historian Douglas Brinkley delivers a lively talk on FDR at the Forest History Society luncheon. Click here to view a video of his talk.

Above: ASEH birders spot something rare - sunshine! - in Seattle.

Above: ASEH birders pose for group shot at Discovery Park.

Above: Fred Brown leading the Animals in Seattle walking tour.

Above: Tour leaders Bill Willingham, Matt Klingle, and Jay Taylor (pictured left to right) leading the boat tour of Lake Union.

Above: Lake Union boat tour poses for group shot in front of Gas Works Park.

Above: Carolyn Merchant (left) and Sarah Elkind at closing reception.

Above: Japanese American Exclusion Memorial tour leader Clarence Moriwaki addresses the group.

Above: Participants in Japanese American Exclusion Memorial pose for a group shot.

Above: The Elwha River Dam Removal Tour Group pauses for lunch at Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park.

Above: Exploring the lower dam site, Elwha River.

Above: Elwha River.

Above: Elwha tour leader Christopher Johnson on ferry ride to Olympic Peninsula.

Above: Ebey's Landing group shot.

Above: Denis Hayes, one of the founders of Earth Day, addresses the group at the tour of the Bullitt Center building.




The Seattle conference was ASEH's largest to date, with 712 attendees. We thank everyone who registered and we are especially grateful to the local arrangements committee, program committee, and all the student volunteers who made this conference possible.


Conference photos in this newsletter courtesy Kathy Brosnan, Leisl Carr Childers, Joanna Dean, Gerard Fitzgerald, Jennifer Hoyt, Dolly Jørgensen, Jamie Lewis, Lisa Mighetto, Sarah Mittflefehldt, Glenn Nelson, Ellen Griffith Spears, Melissa Wiedenfeld, and Carl Zimring.



future conferences


March 29 - April 2, 2017


Riverside, California

March 14 - 18, 2018


2017 - our 40th-anniversary


This year marks the 40th anniversary of ASEH's journal and next year we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the organization. Our "Four for Fourty" contribution campaign to support ASEH's programs kicked off a few years ago. Thank you for your participation in ASEH - click here to donate.


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 June 17, 2016. 

Photo courtesy Laura Watt.



president's column: new developments at aseh

The recent ASEH conference in Seattle was a resounding success. The society enjoyed its highest attendance with 712 registrants. The local arrangements committee led by Lisa Mighetto, along with our student volunteers, had the conference running like a well-oiled machine. LAC planned terrific events to introduce participants to Seattle and its environs. We all know that Lisa has special talents but who knew that those included the ability to produce four days of sunshine in the Pacific Northwest.

The program committee led by Brett Walker put together a comprehensive and provocative program, including two well-attended and thoughtful plenary sessions on undergraduate teaching and global drought crises. People raved about the quality, depth, and variety of the research presented across the program. Sessions were well attended and the audiences were deeply engaged. Thanks to the many participants who stayed on schedule and allowed audience members to join in meaningful discussions.

The Environmental History Slam was tremendous fun. With only brief tidbits shared, the slam was less about deep, probing arguments and more about the beauty of the written word, particularly with lyrical excerpts shared by Marsha Weisiger, Lynne Heasley, and others. However, Aaron Sachs and his son Ozzie stole the show (and tickled the funny bone) with their
dramatic reading of the titles of contemporary books on global warming.

I found the diversity committee's session, which asked hard questions about the racial privileging of certain places in nature, quite compelling. Among other great contributors, Rick Mizelle persuasively argued that our field of environmental history, as well as academia more generally, must push past the treatment of whiteness as the normative standard by which we evaluate access to cultural spaces, including national parks, and contemplate more thoroughly the ways in which different humans encounter their environments. I am excited to see what the diversity committee puts together for our 2017 meeting in Chicago. ASEH has made great progress, but there still is much to be done on issues of inclusivity.

During the conference, the ASEH executive committee extended Lisa Brady's editorship of Environmental History to June 2019, a reflection of its confidence in Lisa's skills and leadership. Be sure to check out the most recent virtual edition on climate change as well as the routinely excellent offerings of the journal.

The executive committee has approved two new awards. ASEH will offer the Equity Graduate Student Fellowship to recognize a graduate student from an underrepresented group for his or her achievements in environmental history research. The $1000 fellowship supports dissertation research and travel. It will be given annually on the same schedule as the Rothman fellowship.

ASEH added Local Undergraduate Equity Student Grants for students from underrepresented groups who attend a college or university in the host city or metropolitan region and have engaged in environmental history research. The grant includes the conference registration fee, a one-year ASEH student membership, and a single payment of $500. Up to two grants will be awarded. The recipients will prepare posters on their research for the ASEH conference.

ASEH also is expanding opportunities for its graduate student members with two new summer internships, one with a private company and one with the National Parks Conservation Association. The application deadline is May 31, 2016. For more information, please visit

Finally, we had a bit of fun at the award ceremony as the inimitable Sarah Elkind passed her top hat for donations to ASEH. Some 40 people dropped in nearly $500. THANK YOU. Don't worry. We won't repeat this exercise every year. And our goal was not to put anyone on the spot. However, there was a point to the humorous theatrics. As ASEH works to develop donations from foundations and private companies, it is important that we establish a culture of giving within our membership. ASEH is now in the third year of its 4 for 40 campaign which will culminate next year with ASEH's 40th anniversary. Please know that donations in any amount are welcome and needed to demonstrate this culture of giving. And we hope to make it easier for you to give with adjustments to the online system that will allow you to make a contribution at the same time you renew your membership.

All in all, things are going great for ASEH. Many thanks to the members who make ASEH a vibrant, essential, and engaged community of scholars.

-Kathleen Brosnan, ASEH President



the profession: teaching and environmental history - seattle conference summary

by Mart Stewart, Western Washington University


No matter the emphasis on research at annual professional conferences, and the often welcome respite from classrooms that these conferences give us, for most environmental historians our primary mission remains one of teaching in those classrooms. Tiya Miles, Katherine Morrissey, Bill Cronon, and Brett Walker contextualized this mission within the practice of environmental history at a plenary session at the recent ASEH annual meeting in Seattle. At a time when enrollments in history courses are declining, how and what we teach has acquired a more pressing relevance. Brett Walker and Bill Cronon talked about the vitality of environmental history in the context of declining enrollments in history courses - our interdisciplinary field is able to attract students outside the field of history, and most importantly from the STEM disciplines, and environmental history courses might be one way that enrollments in history programs can be restored.


Environmental history courses can also take students to the field, and give them the kind of multi-dimensional education experience that classroom and online courses cannot. Katherine Morrissey's meditation on all the ways that environmental history can (and does) go into the field to teach students was perhaps the most resonant of this panel. But more importantly, environmental history courses can teach the core values of a liberal arts education, can embrace diversity, can provide students with opportunities to become who they want to be, and, as Tiya Miles eloquently explained, can allow students to feel "connected, supported, and nourished" by what they are learning about both individual and collective experiences with the natural environment.


Two other sessions at the meeting, one on teaching global environmental history and another on using experiential learning to teach environmental history, gave presenters representing the full range of institutions and public outreach programs in which most of us teach a venue to talk about other perspectives on teaching our field. Collectively, all of them reminded us of what most of us do most of the time, how to be more thoughtful about how to do it, and of the vitality and expansiveness of environmental history as a holistic counterpoint to online education as well as a medium for teaching fledgling scientists and engineers as well as humanists.  





ASEH Award Recipients


The following individuals received awards on April 2 at our conference in Seattle:


George Perkins Marsh Prize for Best Book:

Andrew Needham, Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest (Princeton University Press, 2015).


Alice Hamilton Prize for Best Article outside Environmental History:

Michael Christopher Low, "Ottoman Infrastructures of the Saudi Hydro-State: The Technopolitics of Pilgrimage and Potable Water in the Hijaz," in Comparative Studies in Society and History (2015).


Leopold-Hidy Prize for Best Article in Environmental History:

Alan Mikhail, "Ottoman Iceland: A Climate History" (April issue 2015).


Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation:

Gregory Rosenthal, "Hawaiians who Left Hawai'i: Work, Body, and Environment in the Pacific World, 1786-1876." 


Distinguished Scholar Award:

Martin Melosi


Distiguished Service Award:

Melissa Wiedenfeld


Public Outreach Project Award:


Click here for the comments from the award evaluation committees.


Tim Fenchel accepted the Public Outreach Project Award for the Schuylkill River Sojourn. Seen here with President Kathy Brosnan.


Martin Melosi received the Distinguished Scholar Award.


Martin Melosi, this year's Distinguished Scholar, seen here with wife Carolyn on the winery tour, Seattle.


Melissa Wiedenfeld received the Distinguished Service Award.


Santiago Gorostiza received the award for best poster. Seen here with his poster "When Africa Started in the Pyrenees."


First Call for ASEH Award Submissions 2016

ASEH presents awards for scholarship, service, and achievement. The deadline for this year's award submissions is November 18, 2016. For a list of awards and instructions on how to submit, click here.


Call for Proposals for ASEH's Next Annual Conference in Chicago


ASEH invites proposals for its 2017 conference in Chicago (downtown area). Click here for more info. Deadline: July 8, 2016.


Internships for Grad Students


ASEH is offering two summer internships for grad students - both in the Seattle area. Deadline for applications: May 31, 2016. Click here for more info. 



member news


Choice selected UNC Charlotte history professor Benny Andrés's book Power and Control in the Imperial Valley: Nature, Agribusiness, and Workers on the California Borderland, 1900-1940 (Texas A&M) as an Outstanding Academic Title in 2015. A total of 606 books in 54 disciplines and subsections received this distinction. Power and Control in the Imperial Valley is among 36 titles listed under the category "North America."


Cody Ferguson has accepted a position as assistant professor of U.S. History and Public History at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. He looks forward to developing new environmental history courses focused on water and public lands issues and working in affiliation with FLC's environmental studies program.


Jamie Lewis and Steve Anderson served as executive producers of (and Jamie was a writer for) the new documentary film "America's First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment," produced by the Forest History Society. The 55-minute film tells the story of the birth of the American forest conservation movement through the work of German forester Carl Schenck at the Biltmore Estate at the dawn of the 20th century. It will air on public television stations around the country through April. Jamie Lewis and Char Miller are among those interviewed in the film, and they, Steve Anderson, Kathy Newfont, Matthew Booker, and Scott Moranda served as historical consultants. The DVD also includes a 25-minute version of the film, ideal for classroom use.


Mart Stewart was a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia in January, assisting in the development of an interdisciplinary MSc. curriculum in climate change studies.



women's environmental history network

Nancy Jacobs addresses the group at the women's networking event.

By Julie Cohn, University of Houston


At ASEH's Seattle conference on March 31 a lively and enthusiastic group of nearly seventy individuals gathered for the first ever Women's Networking Reception at ASEH! The organizers of this event hoped to encourage greater visibility, interaction, and support for the women who are active in environmental history. Nancy Jacobs gave a warm welcome to everyone in attendance, thanked our sponsors, and invited those present to really focus on making new contacts and expanding networks within ASEH. While this gathering was billed as a "women's" event, we enjoyed the company of several men, and in general hoped to create an open atmosphere for anyone seeking to connect to others working in the field.


During her remarks, Nancy noted briefly that the event organizers are interested, among other matters, in understanding and addressing barriers to women pursuing professions in environmental history, while at the same time supporting and expanding opportunities for success. To that end, we are gathering data related to participation in the field and how that is reflected in publications, reviews, conference presentations, and related matters. Going forward, we plan to share our findings with those involved in the networking group, and with the ASEH board.


In the course of the evening, several individuals proposed an informal goal of holding similar networking receptions at environmental history meetings around the world. By acclimation, those in attendance created a new entity, tentatively titled "Women's Environmental History Network (WEHN)" and raised $100 to join the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations. We also raised an additional $120 in support of future gatherings at ASEH.


The reception was great fun! It lasted well past the scheduled ending time, and guests continued visiting while the hotel staff converted the room for the next event.


In the relatively near future, we will create a permanent email list and provide periodic communications to interested participants. If you would like to be included on this list, please send your name and email address to Julie Cohn at (Please consider re-sending your information even if you added your email address to the sign-in sheets at the reception).





for graduate students


The Graduate Student Caucus events in ASEH in Seattle brought new and old faces together for a range of academic and social events. We gathered for cake pops and a book raffle at the Graduate Student Reception, sponsored by CHASES. 2015 Grad Student Liaison Dan Soucier led a panel on "Advice and Tips for the EH Job Market" that drew a range of graduate student and professors as attendees. Panel participant Dagomar Degroot, Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University, posted a summary of his talk on his website that explores the job market for environmental historians. Ian Jesse led another year of the popular writing workshop, with graduate students and their faculty readers gathering for conversation about pre-circulated papers. Zach Nowak organized a well-attended grad happy hour that led nicely into our equally well-attended caucus meeting where we discussed goals and plan for the year.


This spring, the caucus will assemble the groups interested in planning graduate student events for ASEH 2017 in Chicago as well as year-round community-building. We will host another round of the graduate student writing workshop. Planners will recruit faculty, advertise, and select graduate student participants. Grads were also enthusiastic about planning a teaching panel that would be of use to graduate students.  Jessica DeWitt will lead the development of a digital presence for ASEH grad students so that we can remain connected between conferences. Contact her at to be added to the new ASEH Grad Student Caucus Facebook group or to join her in organizing ASEH grad contributions to existing environmental history blogs.


As the 2016 Graduate Student Liaison, I am the point person for organizing the events for ASEH 2017. If you have questions or comments, or are interested in participating in any of the committees, please email me. The caucus particularly hopes to hear from Chicago-area graduate students who can help us plan local social gatherings. Thanks to the volunteers and organizers who helped make the ASEH grad student events of 2016 so popular and successful. I look forward to working with many of you in planning the events for 2017.


Rachel Gross



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-Munich

Kathryn Morse, Bowdoin College
Cindy Ott, St. Louis University
Ellen Stroud, Bryn Mawr College 
Paul Sutter, University of Colorado


Rachel Gross, University of Wisconsin-Madison, grad student liaison
Ex Officio, Past Presidents:

John McNeill, Georgetown University

Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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


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



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