Our Madison conference will feature the following activities:
Opening reception with welcome remarks by Bill Cronon
Plenary talk by Jennifer Price on "Stop Saving the Planet, Already!--and Other Tips from Rachel Carson for 21st-Century Environmentalists," with commentary by several ASEH members
"Tales From Planet Earth" film festival
Career workshop and special reception for graduate students
Specialty breakfasts and lunches
Awards presentation honoring Richard White as ASEH's Distinguished Scholar and Thomas Dunlap for Distinguished Service, along with other prizes
10 concurrent sessions each day, including poster presentations
Field trips to the Leopold Center/Leopold Shack, John Muir's boyhood farm site, Frank Lloyd Wright's Wisconsin, labor history, Forest Products Lab, birding at Horicon Marsh, and more
Saturday dinner party with live bluegrass music
click on image above for info. on Madison film festival
Hal Rothman Fellowship
fun(d) run in Madison - March 31
Join us for the 3rd annual "Run for the Hal of It" Fun(d) Run, a walk/run event to benefit ASEH's Hal Rothman Research Fellowship. Participants will meet in the Hilton Hotel lobby at 6:30 AM for a 5K (3.1 mile) walk or run (your choice) and returning to the hotel. Although there will be same-day registration, we strongly encourage advance registration. Entry fee is $20 for members, $10 for students. Register ahead of time on the conference online registration form. If you have questions, please contact the organizer, Jamie Lewis, at email@example.com.
Published 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 March 9, 2012.
winter 2011 vol. 22, issue 4
|e-newsletter of the American Society for Environmental History|
president's column: the globalization of EH
Since the time of the Greek-born Roman historian Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.E.), if not before, commentators on public affairs have noted the increasing interconnectivity of the world. Lately we call it globalization. It even affects the privileged preserves of environmental historians.
In part the influence of globalization derives from the scope and character of environmental issues. Thirty and forty years ago the focus of environmental anxiety almost everywhere was on local issues, especially pollution. Eventually issues of transnational and global scope - the ozone shield, deforestation, climate change - arose and in many precincts took precedence over local ones. And, increasingly, local issues, whether of pollution or resource access, came to be understood in global contexts, as manifestations of larger patterns. As the compelling issues have evolved, so environmental history has evolved, embracing global perspectives.
Today, environmental history as a scholarly pursuit is blooming on every inhabited continent. Not only are the perspectives of environmental historians growing more global, but the practice of our craft is as well. Its appeal and success is of course uneven, and there remain countries with academic cultures where it is still unknown - but fewer with each passing year as I was reminded this week when colleagues in Estonia informed me they were trying to set up a center for environmental history within Tallinn University.
As in the larger world, among environmental historians communications technology makes it ever easier to be in touch over vast distances and to connect with like-minded scholars. Two decades ago, when the Panamanian historian Guillermo Castro was exploring environmental history from his base in Mexico, he was not aware of similar explorations then afoot elsewhere in Latin America. It was possible for him to follow the emergence of the field in the United States, but not in Argentina or Colombia.
Now there is SOLCHA (the Sociedad Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Historia Ambiental), which through electronic communications (and biennial meetings) unites a community of scholars. In recent years, ASEH, ESEH and SOLCHA have been joined by ASAEH (the Association of South Asia Environmental Historians) and AEAEH (Association for East Asian Environmental History). And then there are networks: the Australia and New Zealand Environmental History Network (ANZEHN) and the Network in Canadian History & Environment (NiCHE). All these organizations, and others unmentioned, exist at least as vigorously in the virtual world as in the 'real' world.
An alphabet soup such as this needs an umbrella organization, and we now have it. The International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations (ICEHO) exists to promote exchanges among environmental historians around the world. It organized the first world congress, in Copenhagen in 2009, and is working on the next, to be held in Guimarães, in northern Portugal, in July of 2014. The call for papers will be issued shortly. Details may be found at: http://www.iceho.org/
I imagine that John Opie, Susan Flader, Sam Hayes, Don Hughes, Don Worster and the others who were present at the creation of ASEH in 1976-77 did not foresee this globalized, interconnected world of environmental history. They should be pleased as well as surprised. Had he too somehow been present at the creation (Prof. Hughes could have served as Latin-English interpreter), even Polybius, despite foresight second to none, might well be surprised. And although he wrote political history with scant reference to the environment, one hopes he would be gratified as well.
the profession: new design for journal
This marks the 10th year since Adam Rome and Steve Anderson undertook the last journal redesign. The 2002 design helped Environmental History stand out from the crowd of academic journals by featuring energetic, spirited design elements. Varied color elements, cases, and typefaces all helped establish the journal as a lively, interdisciplinary publication that was willing to take on intellectual challenges.
During the summer of 2011, our editorial group, including editor Nancy Langston and the graphics editors, Cindy Ott and Neil Maher, worked with graphic designers and the Oxford Journals production team to redesign the journal, maintaining the journal's brand while streamlining the cover and interior design. The January 2012 issue will feature the new design. We hope you agree with us that the new design creates a compelling and updated visual presentation.
The most significant element of the journal redesign is color. We are thrilled to bring color figures to part of each issue, beginning with the Gallery article and one additional article per issue. Historical research and visualization increasingly happen in color - but few history journals allow for color reproduction, creating dilemmas for scholars whose work relies on maps and spatial analysis. Environmental History is the first major history journal to offer color printing, and we believe it will significantly improve the journal.
Color will allow us to publish some of the most intellectually exciting work currently being done in the field. The Gallery has become a key component of the journal, and color will enhance this section immeasurably. Gallery authors use the images in their essays as analytical components that help present their argument, not simply as illustrations to accompany their text. Spatial approaches are increasingly important in environmental history, and they rely on evidence and argumentation that cannot easily be conveyed without color. Color is a critical element of many visual documents, and authors can better convey our interpretation of these documents with color figures. Maps, for example, often rely on color for their meaning.
Color will allow for more accurate representations of time as well as space, allowing authors to communicate their arguments in a visually compelling and powerful way. With color, we can position ourselves as one of the most innovative journals in the field, and we can continue to attract the very best in cutting-edge scholarship.
We hope you enjoy the color figures in Environmental History, and we encourage you to submit articles and gallery pieces that make the fullest possible use of color.
Click here for instructions on how to submit to Environmental History.
Sara Gregg won the Forest History Society's Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Book Award for Managing the Mountains: Land Use Planning, the New Deal, and the Creation of a Federal Landscape in Appalachia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010).
Linda Ivey was recently awarded ASEH's Samuel P. Hays Research Fellowship for her project titled "Poetic Industrialism: Race, Class, Environment, and Evolving Notions of Sustainable Agriculture in 20th Century California."
Nancy Langston was recently named the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science. This position is a visiting professor of environmental science that was created for King Carl XVI Gustaf's 50th birthday in 1996. Each year, one eminent foreign researcher is selected to visit Sweden for the academic year, in order to "promote research, technological development and enterprise that contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation."
The Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, published in November 2010 by Facts On File, has been selected as Booklist/RBB Editors' Choice Reference Source. This encyclopedia will be featured, along with other winning titles, in the January 2012 issue of Booklist. It also will appear in a special edition of Booklist's REaD Alert e-newsletter, to be mailed on December 20th to 90,000 subscribers, which will focus solely on the award winners. Many ASEH members contributed to The Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, edited by Kathleen Brosnan.
call for proposals - ASEH's 2013 Toronto conference
The Toronto program committee invites proposals for ASEH's 2013 conference. Click here for the Call for Proposals - Deadline: June 15, 2012
call for proposals - AHA's 2013 New Orleans Conference
Environmental history will be prominently featured at the AHA's 2013 conference. Click here for the Call for Proposals - Deadline: February 15, 2012
new travel grant available
The Envirotech interest group is pleased to announce a travel grant award for the 2012 ASEH conference to support scholars presenting on topics that combine the history of the environment with the history of technology.
Envirotech will offer one $250 travel grant to the 2012 ASEH meeting in Madison, WI (Mar 28-31). Eligibility is restricted to those presenting a paper at the conference that addresses environmental and technological history. Those who have completed their degrees more than three years prior and are fully employed are not eligible. Preference will be given to graduate students, first-time presenters, and independent scholars. International perspectives are especially welcome. The winner will be presented with a $250 check at the conference and will be invited to attend the group's breakfast meeting free of charge.
To apply, applicants should go to: http://envirotechweb.org/2011/12/11/aseh2012-travelgrant/ to download the brief application form. Completed applications, including a C.V., should be emailed to:
TravelGrant@envirotechweb.org and must be received by January 15, 2012.
Any questions should be emailed to: Chair, Envirotech Travel Grant Committee at TravelGrant@envirotechweb.org
call for nominations
ASEH presents Distinguished Scholar and Distinguished Service awards. The Distinguished Scholar Award is given every two years to an individual who has contributed significantly to environmental history scholarship; membership in ASEH is not required. The Distinguished Service Award is given every year to an individual who has contributed significantly to the development of ASEH as an organization; membership in ASEH is required. Anyone can nominate candidates for these awards, and ASEH's executive committee selects the recipients. [Current members of ASEH's executive committee are not eligible for consideration; see the bottom of this newsletter for a list.] If you would like to nominate someone for next year's awards, please send your suggestions, along with a brief explanation, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
positions open/fellowships available
For a listing of positions open, see: http://aseh.net/resources/positions-open
For a listing of fellowships available, see:
2012 travel grant recipients
Congratulations to the following recipients of travel grants to our Madison conference:
Minority travel grant:
Named travel grants:
John D. Wirth Travel Grant for International Scholars: Timo Myllantaus
E.V. and Nancy Melosi Travel Grant: Giacomo Parrinello
Morgan and Jeanie Sherwood Travel Grants: Jonathan Clapperton and Lauren Wheeler
Ellen Swallow Richards Travel Grant: Henry Trim
Donald Worster Travel Grant: Baisakhi Bandyoapdhyay
J. Donald Hughes Travel Grant: Adama Pam
Additional ASEH travel grants: Janette Bailey, Mark Leeming, and Mark McLaughlin
NSF travel grants:
1. Adams, Sharon
2. Arch, Jakobina
3. Ashton, Deanne
4. Brown, Kevin
5. Demuth, Bathsheba
6. Fredrickson, Leif
7. Johnson, Tim
8. Lee, Jongmin
9. Lehmann, Philipp
10. Liboiron, Max
11. Lutz, Raechel
12. Mullenn, Jackie
13. Novick, Tamar
14. Ramey, Andrew
15. Reinhardt, Bob
16. Rosenthal, Gregory
17. Thomson, Jennifer
18. Vandersommers, Daniel
19. Williams, Amrys
20. Neall Pogue
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Grant SES-1058613
attention graduate students
ASEH's 2012 conference will include a free reception at the Wisconsin Historical Society (March 30), career workshop (March 31), and several additional events discounted for students. For more information on the conference, see:
A limited number of volunteer positions are available, which qualify students for free registration. Click here for more info.
environmental history featured at workshop in Brazil
In November 2011 several hundred scholars and students from around the world attended a workshop on environmental history and disasters in Florianópolis, Brazil. Sponsored by the Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, this event included five days of sessions and site visits - and featured several ASEH members as speakers, including Gregg Mitman (pictured above), Craig Colten, Donald Hughes, and Christof Mauch (pictured below). Topics included disaster and memory, disaster and recovery, and the intersections of environmental history and the history of science. Excerpts from a Brazilian television program can be viewed at the following links:
film review - "Knocking on the Devil's Door: Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy"
by Bruce Thompson, University of California-Santa Cruz
The threat of global warming now looms so large that many environmentalists have been tempted to reconsider their opposition to nuclear power. Gary Null's film "Knocking on the Devil's Door: Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy" presents a powerful critique of the nuclear option in the form of an exposé. There is no authoritative narrator here, calmly weighing the pros and cons of the question of nuclear power: instead we have a series of hard-hitting interviews with scientists, activists, and investigative reporters, who emphasize the catastrophic potential of nuclear energy and charge that political leaders have colluded with a corrupt industry to minimize its threat to public health and safety.
The arguments are not unfamiliar, but have seldom been presented so relentlessly: (1) there is no safe level of radiation exposure, and the damage to the biosphere and to human health caused by the release of radiation since 1945 has been severely underestimated; (2) it is impossible to design nuclear plants and nuclear waste storage facilities that are invulnerable to accidents, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks; and (3) the effects and costs of the most notorious accidents-3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now Fukushima-have been far worse than we have suspected. Nuclear energy is neither clean nor green, nor even carbon-neutral: the mining and production of fuel for nuclear plants release enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.
Greenpeace advisor Harvey Wasserman blows the whistle on the argument that nuclear power can save us from global warming: "In the mining, milling, and enrichment of fuel, in the management of spent fuel, in the transportation of radioactive waste, all these things throw greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The idea that atomic energy is ... an answer to global warming is completely absurd. The reality is that nuclear power is a carbon emitter. And worse than that nuclear power sucks up the social capital that should otherwise be going to the technologies that really do fight global warming."
And safety? The film invites us to imagine the consequences of a terrorist attack on the Indian Point plant near New York City, and informs us that the 9/11 terrorists contemplated the plant as a target. There is no realistic possibility of a successful evacuation of millions of people from the New York archipelago. Nor has the industry managed to solve the problem of nuclear waste disposal: the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada has a visible earthquake fault and an aquifer beneath it.
John Opie has suggested that much of the most significant American writing about environmental issues has taken the form of the jeremiad, which the dictionary defines as "a prolonged lamentation or complaint, a cautionary or angry harangue, a righteous prophecy of doom." This film fulfills every element of this definition: it does for the nuclear industry what Upton Sinclair did for meat-packing.
But if the film's arguments are correct, the threat to public safety represented by nuclear power is far greater than anything the muckraking journalists of the Progressive Era could have imagined. "Knocking on the Devil's Door," with its scathing critique of corporate power and corruption, is unlikely to be aired on PBS, but for anyone who has been tempted to think of nuclear energy as an indispensable element of the solution to the problem of global warming, this is a jeremiad worthy of attention.
Click here for more info. on this film.
Dear ASEH member,
What has ASEH meant to you? Has our annual conference, journal, and network of scholars advanced your research and career? Have you or your students benefitted from our travel grants and fellowships? Have you or your colleagues received one of our annual awards?
During the last year, our society has continued to support scholarship in a variety of ways. A grant from the National Science Foundation augmented our travel funds, allowing us to double the number of awards to students and low-income scholars presenting at our annual conference. Our Samuel Hays and Hal Rothman fellowships supported two projects: Lisa Brady's research on the environmental history of Korea through the lens of military and ideological conflict and Bart Elmore's dissertation research on "Turning Water into 'Pemberton's Wine of Coca': An Environmental History of Coca-Cola."
Our sustainability committee completed an audit of our annual conference this year, while our commitment to environmental justice was exemplified in several major activities at our 2011 conference, including a special plenary session, workshop, and field trip. We continued to partner with government agencies, including the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and others in providing free workshops and free site visits at our conferences. This year, we again processed a record number of award submissions for our annual prizes for best book, article, and dissertation in environmental history.
In 2011 we created a new website and continued to incorporate social media into our communications with members and in showcasing scholarship. Our journal was mobile-optimized in our efforts to expand electronic formats and new delivery systems, and we are exploring ways to improve the print version.
A tax-deductible, year-end gift would help us to continue this work in 2012. Our greatest resource is our members - and your generosity helps maintain the vitality of our programs.
To make a gift online, see: http://aseh.net/about-aseh/support-aseh
A gift can also be mailed to:
Mark Madison, treasurer
National Conservation Training Center
698 Conservation Way
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
Please indicate one or more of the following categories: travel grants, diversity initiative, fellowships, and general fund.
With appreciation for your support,
aseh news is a publication of the American Society for Environmental History
John McNeill, Georgetown University, President
Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vice President/President Elect
Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Treasurer
Ellen Stroud, Bryn Mawr College, Secretary
Sterling Evans, University of Oklahoma
Sara Gregg, University of Kansas University of Kansas
Marcus Hall, University of Zurich
Tina Loo, University of British Columbia
Linda Nash, University of Washington
Louis Warren, University of California-Davis
Graeme Wynn, University of British Columbia
Ex Officio, Past Presidents:
Nancy Langston, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Stephen Pyne, Arizona State University
Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ex Officio, Editor, Environmental History:
Nancy Langston, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ex Officio, Graduate Student Liaison:
Will Knight, Carleton University
Ex Officio, Executive Director and Editor, ASEH News:
Lisa Mighetto, University of Washington-Tacoma