From:                                                                            Lisa Mighetto <>

Sent:                                                                             Tuesday, June 12, 2018 11:00 AM


Subject:                                                                        ASEH News Summer 2018



aseh news

summer 2018                      volume 29, issue 2


notice to members


You have received this newsletter because you are a member of ASEH (and agreed to receive the newsletter and journal when you joined). If you do not want to receive the newsletter, you can use the unsubscribe link at the end of this newsletter or contact

Thank you for being a member!


2 important deadlines


July 13 - submit proposals for ASEH's 2019 conference (held in Columbus, Ohio in April 2019)


September 10 - submit proposals for World Congress of Environmental History (held in Brazil in July 2019)


update on 2019 conference


Theme: "Using Environmental History: Rewards and Risks"

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Dates: April 10-14, 2019

Host: The Ohio State University, home of Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center


Proposals are due July 13, 2018. Click here for information on submitting a proposal. We are standing by to assist with proposals, if needed. Contact with questions.


Our 2019 conference will include the following events:

  • workshop at Stone Laboratory, Sea Grant Research Facility on Lake Erie
  • talk by ASEH President Graeme Wynn - "Framing an Ecology of Hope"
  • field trips exploring local brewery industry, the Appalachia region, urban agriculture, and more
  • large exhibit area
  • poster presentations
  • 100 sessions, including panels, roundtables, experiemental sessions, lightning talks,and posters
  • networking events and opportunities for students

Our conference will include a workshop at Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie (pictured above).

Above: Indigenous earthen architecture at the Ohio State University  Newark Earthworks Center - site of 2019 conference field trip.

Above: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus.

The conference will include a review (and sampling) of the brewery industry in Columbus. 

The conference will include a destruction and revival walking tour of Columbus.

The conference will include a day trip to the Appalachians (pictured above and below).


conference hotel


The 2019 conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. To reserve a guest room, follow these links:

Click here to reserve a standard room ($168/night; single or double occupancy.

Click here to reserve a student room ($126/night; limited number of rooms).


travel grants


A limited number of travel grants will be available for students and low-income scholars presenting at ASEH's 2019 conference. Once the program committee selects the sessions and creates the program, we will contact presenters will more info., including how to apply.


future conferences



Columbus, Ohio

April 10-13, 2019


Florianopolis, Brazil

July 22-26, 2019


Ottawa, Canada

March 25-29, 2020


Boston, Massachusetts

April 20-26, 2021





Click here for information on the July issue of our journal Environmental History, which includes 

articles on summer camps and racialized landscapes, malaria and water management, animal disease, an environmental history of style, and more.


world congress of environmental


The 3rd world congress, sponsored by the International Consortium of EH Organizations, will take place in Florianopolis, Brazil July 22-26, 2019. Conference theme: "The Global South and the Global North in the Era of Great Acceleration." This is a rare opportunity to connect with scholars from all over the globe. Click here for general information. Click here to submit a proposal for a panel, roundtable, experimental session, or poster. Deadline: September 10, 2018.


the syllabus project: decolonizing the environmental history syllabus


Thanks to Nancy Langston, David Fouster, Anna Zeide, Julie Cohn, Sarah Elkind, Dolly Jorgensen and others for pointing environmental historians to The Syllabus Project - a website devoted to "Decolonizing the Environmental History Syllabus." Here you can find a link to the Zotero library created specifically for this project. If you set up an account on Zotero and then join The Syllabus Project library  you will be able to contribute additional material to the collection. This should serve as a valuable tool for those developing syllabi, comps reading lists, and bibliographies.


Additional resource: Women Also Know History, which provides a searchable website that makes it easier to identify and connect with women historians working in a wide range of fields and professional settings.


graduate student caucus election results


Sheri Sheu and Charlotte Leib have been elected President-Elect and Communications Office, respectively. Sheri will serve as President-Elect from now until May 2019, then President from May 2019 to May 2020. Charlotte will serve from now until May 2019. Camden Burd is the current President.

Congratulations to all!


For more information on the graduate student caucus and plans for ASEH's 2019 conference, contact Camden Burd at 


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 September 5, 2018. 


See you in Columbus, Ohio in April 2019!


Photos courtesy Experience Columbus.


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president's column: flight of fancy


I write this column high above the Arctic, on my way home from a conference in Europe. As such meetings should, this one offered a deal of enjoyment, even as it provoked thought and stimulated reflection. An area studies gathering, it show-cased a broad range of multi-disciplinary offerings. Anthropologists, political scientists, historians, ethnomusicologists, sociologists, environmental humanists, literary scholars, and colleagues-identified-with-many-kinds-of-"studies" - Africana, American, Canadian, comparative, cultural, film, food, Indigenous, integrative, international, media, literary, women's - filled the program. With such varied fare on offer, there was much to discover, but high above the clouds I find myself less inclined to savour the specifics of presentations than to ponder the imponderables raised by their collective shadow.


The existential choice between beef and pasta made, I recall an old Russian proverb (as rendered by Louis L'Amour in Sitka): "God's in his heaven and the Czar is far away." Among fur traders in 19th century Alaska, these words excused otherwise inadmissible behavior. Might they, I wonder, also illuminate some of the tendencies displayed in gatherings held on one continent to reflect on another, in which the usual strictures of disciplinary authority are attenuated? The question is, of course, contrived. As a card-carrying geographer, "passing" (to use the vocabulary of apartheid South Africa) as an historian, I am perturbed by some of my recollections of the conference. I readily and easily admire several of the contributions made by political scientists and historians; of others, mostly from interdisciplinary space, I am a deal less enamoured. Recognizing that any assessment of quality is tied up with questions of politics, power, and identity, I wonder whether I am an intellectual dinosaur, my capacity to appreciate good work blinkered by age and training. I hope (and dare to think) otherwise.  


In a nutshell - because that is all the space I have here -  I am beset by several disquiets. Where, I found myself asking myself, is the evidence? What are the consequences, for those of historical mind, when a mountain of interpretation is constructed from a single text with nary a thought about either the intentions of its author (who is alive in body but "dead" to such scholarship) or the ways in which thousands of readers have responded to it? Is the past evaporating? Most presenters had a very contemporary focus; few who looked back ranged as far as the nineteenth century. What are the implications, for historical scholarship and critical reflection upon both the past and the present, of the tendency to fetishize certain interpretations of the past? At one level fetishization simply creates a sense of déjà vu all over again by recitation of the incontrovertible "truths" of a particular dogma. But what, I wonder by way of example, lies obscured behind the new nobility accorded Indigenous peoples in "the era of Standing Rock"?


And then there is the plague of presentism. The search for a usable past has a long and defensible pedigree. We all hope that history can make a difference, can influence the course of...well, yes, history, by developing perspective and wisdom, by contextualizing issues of continuing contemporary concern, and adding to public understanding. But there is something disconcerting in the ever-increasing inclination to treat history as a handmaid of the present, to use the past to affirm current values and convictions.  


Here's the thing: environmental history emerged as an interdisciplinary field in the 1960s influenced by rising anxieties about pressing environmental issues.  50 or so years on from those beginnings, interdisciplinarity is much in vogue, promoted by university administrators and encouraged by granting agencies. But, like comparative history, it is a demanding genre, difficult to pull off with aplomb, and distressingly easy to botch.  We warn dissertation writers against undertaking comparative histories because of the effort (and time) required to master two (or more) literatures, contexts, and archives. It has been said that interdisciplinary scholars "live without the comfort of expertise" but this, it seems to me, is both facile and dangerous. Work in interdisciplinary space must surely rest on competence in the particular problematiques, techniques, and theoretical approaches of surrounding disciplines; that is why it is, so often in the sciences, a collaborative enterprise. Our challenge, as environmental historians, is to strive for such mastery, by drawing, thoughtfully, carefully, and intelligently upon the work of specialists in other fields, and forever resisting the embrace of dogma in place of evidence, reason, and logic.


As my plane bisects the sky between Fort McMurray and the delta of the Peace River, I worry that there is turbulence ahead for environmental historians, given to thoughtful, grounded, long-form analyses. Navigating between the hard rocks of fetishism and presentism on the one hand and the siren songs of interdisciplinary promise on the other, we need three things, I think, if we are to avoid the threatening whirlpools of our (scholarly) time: a glance over the shoulder to determine where we have come from, a firm affirmation of purpose to shape our course, and the resolve to speak and write loud, long, and well of what we know. 


Then, as I return to earth in Vancouver, I remember that our upcoming ASEH conference in Columbus aims, in part, to weigh the risks and rewards of using the past to address current issues against those entailed in writing history for history's sake. Let the debate begin.


Graeme Wynn, ASEH President



the profession: demystifying the publishing process

Lisa M. Brady, Editor in Chief, Environmental History


For many authors, especially those who are new to the process, the publishing system can seem arcane and frustrating. It need not be either and I hope this brief list will help to reduce authors' experiences of the latter by eliminating some aspects of the former.


1) Editors have to make difficult decisions. They receive scores, if not hundreds of submissions each year and must decide which to send out for review and which to accept once that process is complete. Among their considerations are: Is the manuscript pertinent to the journal's mission and of potential interest to the journal's readers? Has the journal published on this topic recently, and if so, is it desirable to do so again? To improve your chances of having your manuscript reviewed, do your research and submit only to those journals that are really relevant to your work.


2) The peer review process is the gold standard for all scholarly publishing. It involves evaluation by experts in the field and is a check against academic misconduct. Editors look for reviewers who are established authorities on a given manuscript's subject matter, but they also want to know if a manuscript will appeal to the journal's broader readership, thus non-specialists may be tapped to evaluate a manuscript from this perspective.


3) Publishing takes time. All told, it can take anywhere from 9 to 18 months to turn a manuscript into an article. Environmental History has a relatively quick turn-around rate, typically publishing manuscripts within a year from initial submission. On average, the time a manuscript spends with the editorial and production teams is five months: the first review process takes about 90 days; the second often takes less time, but typically at least a month; production takes another month or so. Although an article may not appear in print immediately, its publication date corresponds to the day on which it is made available through Advanced Access, which can precede the print publication by several months.


4) Most of the publishing process is out of the author's control, but there are things you can do to keep things on track, including following directions and responding to queries quickly and professionally. Make sure your submission follows the journal's style, formatting, and citation requirements, for example, and let the editor know whether or not you plan on revising and resubmitting your manuscript.

Click here for a longer, more in-depth version of this article.



member news


Nancy Langston was appointed Distinguished Professor of Environmental History at Michigan Tech, recognizing her outstanding contributions to both the university and her discipline.


John McNeill, Georgetown University, has been named a 2018 recipient of a A.H. Heineken Prize for his work on integrating environmental science and global history. John is a past president of ASEH and is the president-elect of the American Historical Association for the term beginning in 2019.


Caroline Merchant was honored at a symposium on May 3-4 at UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Carolyn will retire in June, after almost 40 years of teaching and research on the UC Berkeley campus. Click here to view presentations.


Mart Stewart, Western Washington University, recently completed a term in India on an Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Award grant. He gave several lectures in Kathmandu while there, hosted by Nepal USEF director and ASEH member Tom Robertson.


Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry have published A Primer for Teaching Environmental History Ten Design Principles - a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching environmental history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate environmental history into their world history courses.





Final Notice - Call for Proposals for ASEH's  Conference in Columbus, Ohio, April 10-14, 2019

There are many opportunities to participate in our next conference:

  • panels
  • roundtables
  • experimental sessions
  • lightning talks
  • posters

Proposals are due July 13, 2018. Click here for more information on submitting proposals.


Call for Nominations for ASEH's Next Election

Would you like to chart ASEH's course in the coming years? Have you admired a fellow ASEH member's commitment to our common principles, or their efforts to advocate on behalf of others? Perhaps you've been impressed by how effortlessly a colleague organized a workshop or conference panel. Or possibly you've appreciated how a fellow ASEH member instills a rich appreciation for environmental history among public audiences. If the answer is yes - ASEH's Nominating Committee would appreciate your help. During summer 2018, the committee welcomes self- nominations and nominations of other ASEH members to elected leadership positions. The following positions will be filled by election in 2019:

* One candidate for Vice President/President elect As Vice President

* Four Executive Committee Members (8 candidates needed)

* Two Nominating Committee Members (4 candidates needed)

Click here for more information about these positions and the nominating process. Deadline for suggestions: October 5, 2018.


Call for Papers - World Congress of Environmental History

ASEH is a member of the International Consortium of EH Organizations, which is arranging this conference in Brazil, July 2019. Click here for more information. Proposals are due September 10, 2018.


ASEH Award Submissions Due           

ASEH presents awards for scholarship, service, and achievement. These include prizes for best book, article, dissertation, and public outreach project, and more. The deadline for this year's award submissions is November 16, 2018. For a list of awards and instructions on how to submit, click here.


ASEH Fellowship Applications Due

The Samuel Hays Fellowship is open to practicing historians (academic, public, or independent). Graduate students are ineligible. A Ph.D. is not required. Deadline: November 16, 2018. Click here for submission instructions.

Students enrolled in any Ph.D. program worldwide are eligible to apply for the Hal Rothman Fellowship. Deadline: November 16, 2018. Click here for submission instructions.


ASEH Seeks Your Help in Publicizing Equity Fellowship

This fellowship recognizes a graduate student from an underrepresented group for their achievements in environmental history and provides $1,000 for Ph.D. research and travel. Students must be members of ASEH at the time of their application. For more information, please see


We ask all members to assist the Society by circulating information about the equity fellowship and identifying viable candidates for it. The deadline is November 16, 2018.



introducing new editors for

environmental history


We are delighted to announce that ASEH and the Forest History Society have together approved the appointment of Dr. Mark D. Hersey and Dr. Stephen Brain as co-editors-elect of the journal Environmental History. They will begin work with current editor, Dr. Lisa Brady, on July 1, 2018 and assume full charge of the journal on January 1, 2019. Dr. Hersey will serve

Photo courtesy Megan Bean, Mississippi State University

as lead editor thereafter, for an initial term extending through June 30, 2024. Both Hersey and Brain are members of the Department of History at Mississippi State University, which has committed substantial support to assist them in their editorial roles.  


Their appointment is the culmination of rigorous search process. The search committee, constituted by mutual agreement between ASEH and FHS, included Nancy Jacobs as Chair, Sara Gregg, Ellen Stroud, Chris Boyer and Adam Rome (with Steven Anderson and Graeme Wynn representing the two societies ex-officio). It considered an exceptionally strong set of candidates for the position. We appreciate and recognize the valuable contribution of these colleagues, to ASEH, FHS and the field of environmental history, and thank, especially, Nancy Jacobs for her fine work in bringing the deliberations of the committee to a timely and unanimous conclusion.  


We also recognize the stellar work of Dr. Lisa Brady as editor of Environmental History since 2013. She has set a high bar for her successors and we will acknowledge her contribution at a later date.


Hersey is an associate professor of history at Mississippi State University, where he directs the Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment of the South (CHASES). He is the author of My Work is That Of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver (2011) and of numerous articles and book chapters. As a graduate student at the University of Kansas, he served as an editor and interim director for two public history projects. He has since edited special issues on environmental history for two journals, and he is currently an editor for the University of Alabama Press's NEXUS book series. A collection of essays titled A Field on Fire: The Future of Environmental History, which he co-edited with Ted Steinberg, will be released later this year. He is working on a study of the physiographic Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi, exploring the intersections of land use, race, and identity there since the late eighteenth century.


Brain is an associate professor of history at Mississippi State University. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007 under the direction of Douglas Weiner and Carolyn Merchant. His first book, Song of the Forest, was published in 2011. He has published articles in Environmental History, Russian Review, Slavic Review, and Cold War History. He is working on the environmental history of Soviet collectivization, and the Soviet effort to build artificial environments in space.



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



Graeme Wynn, University of British Columbia, President

Edmund Russell, Boston University, 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, Univeristy of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa

Christof Mauch, Rachel Carson Center-Munich

Kathryn Morse, Middlebury College
Cindy Ott, University of Delaware

Conevery Valencius, Boston College

Camden Burd, University of Rochester, President, Graduate 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

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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