From: Lisa Mighetto <>
Subject: ASEH News Winter 2014
aseh news
winter 2014                       volume 25, issue 4
in this issue
new mentoring program
conference quick links
2015 conference update
ASEH has partnered with the DC Environmental Film Festival, which is taking place during our annual conference. Click here for more info.
The Cherry Blossom Festival will take place in DC during our conference. Click here for more info.
Our conference will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Zoo.
Our conference will include a field trip to Great Falls (pictured above).
Our conference will include a visit to Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello (pictured above), and local wineries.
The Sunday field trips include a visit to Harpers Ferry (pictured above).
The Sunday field trips will also explore Antietam National Battlefield (pictured above).
One of our field trips will explore DC water issues: past and present.
For more info. on the field trips (not all of which are listed here), click here.

photos courtesy Smithsonian Institution, US Army Corps of Engineers, Roger Hamilton, and Lisa Mighetto
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journal update
aseh news

president's column: in gratitude


Earlier this month, Time magazine announced the Ebola fighters as the 2014 Person of the Year. It is a fitting tribute to the many healthcare workers from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, and from many other nations across the globe, who have sacrificed their time, energy, and in some cases, lives, to help others.

This semester, I had a class of some of the most engaged and thoughtful students in my 25 years of teaching. But three-quarters of the way through the semester, I could sense their despair. The topics we covered in the history of environment and health - from Ebola, to Bhopal, to Chernobyl, to name a few - were anything but hopeful. When multinational corporations manufacture doubt about the harm of toxic chemicals, or when poor women of color in developing countries become unsuspecting subjects in clinical trials for the development of birth control drugs in the name of population control, it becomes difficult to avoid cynicism. But cynicism, they come to learn from citizens and activists around the world fighting inequitable environmental burdens in their bodies and communities, often emerges from a place of privilege. Cynicism, as Giovanna Di Chiro reminds us, is an impulse leading to inaction.

There is no place for cynicism for those on the front lines combating issues of environment, health, and justice. But hope has a place. It is the persistence of hope, arising not from blind faith, but from action in the world, that sustains so many people fighting for change in the world. When I see ambulance drivers and burial workers in Liberia, with little of their own, putting themselves in harm's way to help others, that is hope. When I meet individuals who grew up in Chicago under conditions of grinding poverty and racism and now dedicate their lives to urban transformation, turning brownfield sites into flourishing urban gardens that grow jobs and fresh produce while building community, I am humbled and inspired. I am grateful to be reminded that we live in a world where compassion is as prevalent as fear, hate, and greed, even if the media would have us believe otherwise.

I would like in my last ASEH column to say thank you. The commitment to service can be found, not only among the inspiring stories of healthcare workers and activists throughout the world: it can be found among members within our own society.

It has been a privilege and honor to serve a society, which has so many members actively giving of themselves, applying their scholarship and teaching in the service of a more just and environmentally sustainable planet. Your many actions on behalf of the society, volunteering on the program or local arrangements committee, contributing to the journal Environmental History, whether as an author or reviewer, serving on the Executive Committee, and donating your time and money in countless other ways, help to create a vibrant intellectual community. Your actions in the world, be they inspiring a student, bringing public attention to issues of environment and society across time, or working directly with organizations and citizens mobilizing knowledge to enact change, all lift up ASEH.


Your actions transform ASEH from a professional society serving its members to a society in service of the public. These actions may not make ASEH or its members candidates for Time Person of the Year. But in the very act of public engagement, we have the potential to transform cynicism, a staple of academia, into hope.

In this season of giving and hope, amid all the injustices in the world, I find much to be grateful for. Being president of ASEH is one. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Gregg Mitman, ASEH President

there's an app for that: 21st century history consulting and next exit history


By David Strohmaier and Timothy Roberts, Historical Research Associates, Inc.

Historical Research Associates, Inc. (HRA), a history and cultural resource management consulting firm, is always seeking new ways to make history come alive. We recently turned to mobile technology as a means to that end.

If you attended the ASEH conference in San Francisco in 2014, you might have explored historic sites around the conference hotel using the Next Exit History™ (NEH) mobile app, which was contributed to the conference. NEH was created by historians at the University of West Florida (UWF), and through an agreement with UWF, HRA fully reprogrammed the app and is now providing content-development services to clients such as the National Park Service, the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, the Florida Association of Museums, and others.

We see our use of mobile technology as an extension of the historian's craft. Historians engaged in digital interpretation can use their research skills and knowledge to reach a wide audience using iOS and Android platforms. One of the main considerations when developing interpretive content for the mobile platform is crafting a compelling and compact message, which for us means narrative blurbs no longer than 300 words and photos and graphics that can quickly convey the meaning and significance of a place. NEH users often explore sites on foot, and they use the mobile app on the go.

NEH is a free app compatible with Apple and Android phones and tablets, providing users with real time information about the history around them. Leveraging the GPS capabilities found in smartphones and tablets, NEH displays historical points of interest based on a user's physical location and interests, which is particularly useful for environmental history, as it roots the user in the landscape.

NEH offers a multimedia heritage tourism experience, including interpretive narratives, repeat photography, audio clips, and videos. Recognizing the uneven nature of cell phone connectivity around the country, we've organized interpretive content into geographic or thematic "backpacks," which can be downloaded to mobile devices for use in areas without cellular or wi-fi connectivity. The app will soon include "History Hunters" interactive game that will provide users another way to learn about and engage with the history around them-including environmental history.

To learn more about NEH, go to, download the app from either the iTunes Store or Google Play, or contact David Strohmaier at

[Editor's Note: 2015 issues of this column will include additional info. on environmental historians engaged in similar projects.]

member news


Gregory T. Cushman's book Guano and the Opening of the Pacific World: A Global Ecological History (Cambridge University Press, 2013) has won the inaugural Jerry Bentley Prize in World History from the American Historical Association and the Murdo J. MacLeod Book Award from the Latin American and Caribbean Section of the Southern Historical Association. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.


Ari Kelman's A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press ) was awarded the Bancroft Prize for 2014, in addition to

the Avery Craven Award, the Robert M. Utley Prize, and the Tom Watson Brown Book Award.

ASEH members and environmental history are well represented in the American Historical Association's 2014 awards:




Newberry Library Fellowship in Environmental History Available

ASEH has partnered with the Newberry Library in Chicago to offer a residential fellowship for research in environmental history.


The Newberry is an internationally renowned independent research library, which offers an extensive collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other printed mateials spanning six centuries. The maps, published texts, manuscripts, art and photography, and ephemera could be particularly useful to topics in environmental history. Newberry fellowships provide assistance to researchers who wish to use our collection.


This fellowship is for PhD candidates or post-doctoral scholars and supports one month in residency at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Applicants from outside of the Chicago area who have a specific need for research in the Newberry collection are eligible. Applicants must be members of the ASEH in good standing at the time of application and through the period of the fellowship. The monthly stipend for this fellowship is $2,500. Application deadline: January 15, 2015. For more info., click here


Call for Papers

Environmental History and Its Publics, ASEH's 2016 conference in Seattle - click here for more info.


Manufacturing Landscapes - Nature and Technology in Environmental History, Renmin University of China, Beijing - click here for more info.


Registration for Conferences


Online registration is now available for ASEH's 2015 conference in Washington, DC. Click here for more info.


Online registration for the third Hearing Landscape Critically conference (January 14-16, 2015, at Harvard) is now available - click here for more info.

Positions Open


Positions available at the University of Vermont, Colorado State University, and Harvard University. Click here for more info.


for graduate students


New Discussion Group for Students and Recent PhDs


Nancy Germano, graduate student at Indiana University, has generously agreed to monitor a discussion group for students. If you are interested in joining, contact her at


2015 Student Liaison


Recently ASEH's grad student caucus elected Daniel Soucier, a grad student at the University of Maine, as the 2015 liaison to the executive committee. If you have questions or comments, contact him at


We are very grateful to Bathsheba Demuth, University of California-Berkeley, for serving as our 2014 grad student liaison.

Thank You, Bathsheba!


Free Registration at 2015 Conference


Graduate students can get free registration in exchange for volunteering at the conference. Click here for more info.


Mark Your Calendars: Student Reception and Meeting in Washington, DC


There will be a free reception for students at ASEH's 2015 conference on Thursday, March 19, 9:00 - 10:00 p.m., Washington Marriott Hotel - Georgetown.

Sponsored by Georgetown University - Environmental Initiative, College of Arts and Sciences and Office of the Provost


The graduate student caucus will meet in DC on Friday, March 20, 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Washington Marriott Hotel - Georgetown


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

Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, President 
Kathleen Brosnan, University of Oklahoma, 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 
Sterling Evans, University of Oklahoma
Sara Gregg, University of Kansas
Ellen Stroud, Bryn Mawr College 
Paul Sutter, University of Colorado
Louis Warren, University of California-Davis
Graeme Wynn, University of British Columbia

Bathsheba Demuth, University of California-Berkeley - grad student liaison
Ex Officio, Past Presidents:
Nancy Langston, 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
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