From:                                                                           Lisa Mighetto <>

Sent:                                                                            Friday, January 27, 2017 3:24 PM


Subject:                                                                       ASEH News Winter 2016



aseh news

winter 2016                      volume 27, issue 4


thank you for your contributions

Click here to make an end-of-the-year donation to support students or awards and fellowship programs.


mentoring program


ASEH expanded our mentoring program, which in the past focused on the annual conference, to include the entire year of 2017. The objective is to assist students with professional development and engagement. Click here if you are interested in participating as a mentor or mentee. If you have already signed up you will hear from us at the end of December.



Chicago conference update

Our 2017 conference will be held at the Drake Hotel (March 29-April 2), located on the Lake Michigan shore in a vibrant area of downtown close to public transportation, restaurants, museums, and more. Celebrate our 40th anniversary! Our meeting will include the following events:

"Environmental Justice in Chicago and Beyond" and "Nature's Metropolis 25 Years Later: A Conversation with Bill Cronon"

  • workshop on local history at the Newberry Library
  • field trips on Friday afternoon and Sunday
  • exhibit hall including a variety of publishers
  • poster display
  • several receptions and networking opportunities
  • special 40th anniversary events, including an ASEH Presidents' Slam, sessions on 40 years of publishing, and more

Theme - Winds of Change: Global Connections across Space, Time, and Nature


Our conference will be located in downtown Chicago, along the lakeshore. Pictured above: famous "bean" sculpture.


Our field trips will include a walking tour of downtown Chicago and a river tour on the Chicago River (pictured above).

Field trips will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Field Museum and a trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory (pictured above).


Conference attendees will have the opportunity to explore Indiana Dunes (pictured above).


The Sunday field trip to Pullman National Monument will be led by labor historian Leon Fink, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Illinois-Chicago.


For more info. on the field trips (not all of which are listed here) click here.


photos courtesy Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, National Park Service, and Lisa Mighetto

Click here to register for the conference.


women's environmental history network


The women's environmental history network will hold its 2nd reception at our conference in Chicago on Thursday evening, March 30. Click here for more information.


journal update

Coming Soon: The January issue of 

Environmental History includes articles on US military uses of the Libyan desert, Anarctica, climate change activism and more. Click here

for more information.


it's time to renew your membership


Two years ago ASEH activated a new membership system, which is easy to navigate. Our memberships run on a calendar year, from January - December. Have you renewed for 2017? Click here to join or renew.


We celebrate our life members:

Sarah Elkind

Christof Mauch

Sara Pritchard

Julia Thomas

Christopher Jones

Donald Jackson

Adam Rome


The life membership option is available at the membership link.


reminder: sign up for aseh member directory


ASEH's Digital Communications Committee created an online directory of members. Any member can register on this new site, which is publicly available to anyone searching for contact info. on environmental historians and their research. The site is open for registration and viewing.


We encourage all ASEH members to register. If you have questions or comments, contact


Click here to register. Thank you for your participation!


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 April 14, 2017. 





president's column: reaffirming our values

Dear Colleagues,


As this challenging year comes to a close, I want to reaffirm ASEH's commitment to fostering an inclusive community of devoted scholars, educators, and professionals. Contemporary politics have challenged people's ability to reach across social, economic and cultural divides, but our Society remains committed to opening dialogues and listening to the perspectives of others. We will ensure that our Society actively pursues and integrates myriad voices, particularly the voices of those people whose contributions were overlooked or undervalued historically. We do this because it is essential to our work as historians. We do this because it is equitable. We do this because it is just.


Regardless of the shifting sands of politics (and perhaps because of these shifting sands), ASEH and its members stand steadfast in our commitment to producing important, provocative scholarship that contributes to and defines contemporary environmental debates while advancing a greater understanding of the history of the complex, contested human interactions with the natural world.


Perhaps it also is a good time to take stock of what ASEH offers. ASEH officers, committees, and members work hard to perpetuate a professional organization that addresses a variety of their concerns: providing arenas for intellectual debate at our conferences and in Environmental History; celebrating excellence in publications and amongst our graduate students; offering limited travel support for students; sponsoring career development programs for young scholars; securing internship opportunities; posting teaching materials on the ASEH website among other resources; and advocating for policies that support our members' scholarship.


I hope that you plan to attend the annual meeting in Chicago (March 29-April 2, 2017). It will give you an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to the ideals that define our lives as professional historians and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ASEH. Those who founded our society accomplished tremendous things and we are in their debt. Nonetheless, we still have work to do as a professional organization. With your help, we will continue to grow and improve. Your participation in the conference and other ASEH activities, whatever your role, allows you to be a part of our present and our future. Your contributions are deeply valued.


As 2016 comes to a close, I wish you and all of yours the very best.


Kathy Brosnan, ASEH President



message from education committee
by Megan Jones, Pingry School

ASEH'S newly revised Education Committee will focus on developing new partnerships, programs, and materials for educators in grades K-16. We will continue to help create and support panel presentations for educators at the annual conference, and two panels have been organized explicitly for high school teachers at the upcoming Chicago meeting. It is our belief that the role of place in education at all levels is vital to meaningful understanding of one's locale; to that end, we hope to develop programs that bring students and educators together in particular locations for intensive field study. The ASEH recently launched a GoFundMe initiative to raise funds for teachers to attend the ASEH conference and participate in field trips led by environmental historians at future annual meetings.


As we all know, historical understanding and reasoning are critical skills that students should learn during their years of formal education. Such skills are particularly important in the present day as we face an uncertain future. The educators and historians on the Education Committee hope that ASEH members will continue to support and develop materials and programs for students and the general public. Please email Megan Jones at, Education Committee co-chair, if you are interested in supporting or participating. 

the profession: making the most of a conference book exhibit

by Karen Darling, University of Chicago Press


The upcoming ASEH annual meeting in Chicago will feature exhibits from more than 30 university presses. One of the pleasures of participating in a society's conference as a publisher is watching the attendees' look over, gently handle, and comment on the beauty and utility of the books on display. We hope, of course, that this tangible way of bringing our books to your attention results in sales and interest. However, there are other, very important reasons why as publishers we will attend ASEH Chicago and why you might benefit from our displays. One of these reasons, if made explicit, might help you make the most of an important part of the conference experience: the book exhibit.


As an acquisitions editor, I am often asked what I look for in a book proposal. One way to answer is to list the parts of a proposal, including the "discussion of comparable or competing works." Sometimes authors treat this item as a throw away: surely nothing compares to my book! But the discussion of recent, related titles is, in fact, of tremendous importance, of equivalent value to the editor, or nearly so, as what the book is about. Why? There are countless manuscripts (even interesting, well-written ones), and no editor or house can take on every one of merit that enters the inbox. So a factor we consider when deciding whether to pursue a project is how well it fits our "list," that is, our collection of published titles. The books we have published provide a precedent of topic and style that informs-although it does not determine-what we might do next. The reason for this is that we are in general better able to leverage our experience and reputation, built up with academic and media contacts and review outlets, for example, for those sorts of books we are already known to publish well.


At the book exhibit you have the opportunity to figure out where your book might fit best and why. Look around: With whose books are you in conversation, and whose do you cite? Which new books would your intended readers buy? Is the voice you want to cultivate like these, here? Do you want it to look like those, there? Or carry a price like that? You are more likely to convince an editor to read more if you explain in your cover letter why you're writing to the publisher you've chosen to approach. And your book proposal is more likely to impress if it provides specific reasons why your book would enhance the editor's list. You can learn more about the publishing landscape and come up with those reasons at the conference, as you enjoy a stroll around the exhibit.


Note: As a senior editor at the University of Chicago Press, Karen Darling will participate in the publishing session "How to Pitch Your Book" at ASEH's Chicago conference, Thursday, March 30 at 1:30 p.m.



update on US EPA history program
by Kathy Brosnan, University of Oklahoma

Pictured above: John McNeill and Gina McCarthy talk during the plenary session at ASEH's 2015 conference.

In April 2016, ASEH joined other scholarly organizations in encouraging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy to re-open the agency's History Program.  In the 1990s, this Program helped preserve the Agency's core documents and interviewed Administrators William Ruckelshaus, Russell Train, Douglas Costle, William Reilly, and others. In our letter to the EPA, we observed that every year EPA loses institutional memory with the retirement of employees who have spent 20 or more years at the Agency; their memories should be preserved. Moreover, with the approaching 50th Anniversary in 2020, we believed, it was time for the EPA to act.


There have been a few signs that these efforts had a positive impact. At the end of August, Stan Meiburg, EPA's Acting Deputy Administrator, met with Terrence Rucker, a past President of the Society for the History in the Federal Government to discuss the role of history in the federal government. Beginning in October the EPA's history webpages at were updated for the first time in many years. Of course, we do not know at this time how the recent election results will affect future efforts to preserve the agency's history.  



member news

Silas Chamberlin published On the Trail: A History of American Hiking (Yale University Press, 2016).


Sara Dant published Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West (Wiley, 2016).


Finis Dunaway's Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images (University of Chicago Press, 2015) received the following awards: the John G. Cawelti Award from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association; the AEJMC History Division Book Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication; and the Robert K. Martin Book Prize from the Canadian Association for American Studies.


Michael Engelhard published Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon (University of Washington Press, 2016).


Jacob Darwin Hamblin won the History of Science Society's Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize (2016) for the best book in the history of science aimed at a general audience for Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism (Oxford University Press).


Mark Hersey has been named the 2017 Breeden Scholar by the Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Auburn University. He will spend the spring semester as a scholar-in-residence at Auburn, teaching a course on landscape and identity in the American South.


Rachel Jacobson, ASEH intern in 2015, recently was hired by History Associates, Inc. (and she reports that the ASEH internship proved helpful).


Mary Mendoza, University of Vermont, won the W. Turrentine Jackson award from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association for the most outstanding dissertation on any aspect of the 20th-century American West for her dissertation, "Unnatural Borders: Race and Environment at the U.S.-Mexico Divide" (University of California, Davis, 2015).


Cindy Ott is now an associate professor of history and material culture studies at the University of Delaware. She continues to serve as the president of Society of Fellows for the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.


Darren Speece recently published Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics (University of Washington Press, 2016).


Laura Alice Watt, Sonoma State University, has published a new book, The Paradox of Preservation: Wilderness and Working Landscapes at Point Reyes National Seashore. The book chronicles how national ideals about what a park "ought to be" have developed over time and what happens when these ideals are implemented by the National Park Service (NPS) in its efforts to preserve places that are also lived-in landscapes, by documenting the case study of Point Reyes and its changing landscapes through time. 




ASEH's Chicago Conference (March 29-April 2, 2017)

Click here to register.

Click here for general information on the conference.


Call for Papers

International Conference on Environmental History, Department of Historical and Geographical Sciences and the Ancient World, Ecosystem Services in European Floodplains, Padua, May 17-19, 2017


The conference will last three days and will be hosted at the Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient Wold. It will include a field trip in the Southern Venetian Plain. Proposals for participation should be submitted in the form of a paper (maximum 2000 characters) in English or French no later than January 15, 2017. The proposals should be sent to:


Oral History Training

The Center for Oral History (COH) at the Chemical Heritage Foundation provides training to individuals interested in learning oral history and research interview methodologies. Hosted biannually, the director and the staff of the COH work with scholars and researchers who are planning or have started research that has interviewing as a core component. The Chemical Heritage Foundation has been conducting interviews for over 30 years, and is one of the only institutions in the United States to focus its work on oral histories of scientists.


During this week individuals are introduced to all aspects of the interview process, including general oral history theory and methodology; interviewing techniques and performing mock interviews; legal and ethical issues; transcription practices; archiving; recording equipment and its use; data management; and other relevant topics. Interested participants are encouraged to bring their research ideas to the workshop. While the scope of the training workshop will focus through a STEM lens, this workshop is open to all researchers interested in oral history and preserving the unwritten past.


Our winter training institute will start on January 9, 2017. There is no cost to attend the training workshop, however, registration is required. Please visit for more information or contact: Samantha Blatt at



for graduate students


2017 Student Liaison


Recently ASEH's grad student caucus elected Zachary Nowak, a grad student at Harvard University, as the 2017 liaison to the executive committee. If you have questions or comments, contact him at Congratulations, Zach!


We are very grateful to Rachel Gross, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for serving as our 2016 grad student liaison.

Thank You, Rachel!


Free Registration at 2017 Conference


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


Mark Your Calendars: Student Reception in Chicago


There will be a reception for students at ASEH's 2017 conference on Thursday, March 30, 9:00 p.m. Sponsored by The Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment in the South, Mississippi State University. Details to be announced later.




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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 for Environment and Society

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 (2016)

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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