volume 25, issue 3
update on 2015 conference
If you submitted a proposal to present at our 2015 conference - thank
you! Our program committee has been evaluating the submissions and is
very close to creating a program. We will contact you with the results
within the next week.
Our 2015 conference will include the following events:
session - invited speaker: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
lunch banquet and talk by Gregg Mitman on "Forgotten Paths of
on environmental history records at the National Archives
- 11 field
trips on Friday afternoon and Sunday
here for general info. on the conference, including hotel
reservations and a list of fees.
The Cherry Blossom Festival and
Festival will be taking place in DC at the time of our conference.
conference etiquette: what would george washingon do?
George Washington never attended an ASEH conference, but the
following excerpts from Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In
Company and Conversation provide timeless advice applicable to many
conference situations. [George Washington's
papers, University of Virginia; he transcribed his list from a
manual as a student in the 1740s].
General Code of Conduct:
(1st ) Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of
Respect, to those that are Present
While in Sessions:
(6th) Sleep not when others Speak ...
(18th) Read no Letters, Books, or Papers [or Mobile Devices] ...but when there is a
Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave
(40th) ...always Submit your Judgment to others with
(74th) When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and
disturb not the Audience
(80th) Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless
you find the Company pleased there
Attending Receptions and Banquets:
(54th) Play not the Peacock, looking every where about
you, to See if you be well Deck't
(66th) Be ...friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute
hear and answer & be not Pensive when it's a time to Converse
(98th) Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither
Gaze about you while you are a Drinking [ ok - we're not sure why you can't look around while you're
(107th) If others talk at Table be attentive but talk
not with Meat in your Mouth [especially
when seated next to ASEH vegans]
While on Field Trips:
53d Run not in the Streets, neither
go too slowly [avoid the horrendous DC traffic]
A limited number of travel grants are available for
students and low-income scholars presenting at our 2015 conference. If
you are presenting at our conference, click here for
March 18-22, 2015
March 30-April 3, 2016
Interested in hosting an ASEH
conference in 2017 or 2018? Click here for more
The July issue of Environmental
History includes John McNeill's presidential address - and
more. Click here for
more info. The October issue will be available soon.
reminder: sign up for aseh member directory
ASEH's Digital Communications
Committee has launched an online directory of members. Any
member can register on this site, which is publicly available to anyone
searching for contact info. on environmental historians and their
research. The site is now 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!
Our 2015 conference will include field trips to the
National Mall (pictured above).
Our field trips will include a
behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum of the American Indian
An ecological wine tour will stop at Monticello
Our 2015 conference will include a field trip
examining "DC Water Issues: Past and Present."
Our 2015 conference will include a birding trip to
Patuxent Wildlife Refuge.
ASEH's War & Environment Group will lead a field
trip to Antietam National Battlefield.
Field trips will include a tour of Great Falls
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 December 12,
president's column: living through a plague
Environmental historians love to
debate questions about the agency of nature. But such questions
take on a quite different gravity and tone when contemporary
disasters, at once both natural and social, come to impact both our
professional and personal lives. The Ebola crisis unfolding in West
Africa is a case in point. I found myself in Liberia this June,
when the first Ebola cases appeared in the capital city of
Monrovia, well before the outbreak became the focus of
international attention and concern.
It is hard to underestimate the toll that this disease is taking on
the health, well-being, and economies of the West African nations
of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The virus is already
affecting cultural behaviors. The wonderful handshake, widely shared
in Liberia, where you clasp hands and snap your fingers as you pull
away (which took me a couple of trips to master) is disappearing
off the streets of Monrovia and in rural areas. Communal farming
practices, dependent on male or female work groups clearing land,
sowing seed, and harvesting crops, are now in question, since
bodily contact is the single greatest risk of infection and
spreading the disease. And as farms are cut off from markets
because of the increased risks and costs of transportation, the
consequences for food insecurity are great. Cultures of fear, both
in West Africa and the Western world, are likewise altering how the
virus is spreading through the population. (For more on the ecology
of fear in relation to Ebola, please see Ebola in a Stew of
Fear recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.)
Biology and culture can never be so easily teased apart.
If you find yourself in a classroom this fall, I hope you will
consider devoting some space-be it 15 minutes, a lecture, or a
class discussion-to how perspectives from environmental history can
bring greater understanding to the Ebola crisis. What is rapidly
becoming a tragic, sad, and all-too-real episode of an epidemic
shaping the course of history requires greater understanding of the
historical circumstances that created the conditions for Ebola to
emerge and spread. It also requires compassion for those trying to
cope with and live through a plague.
Gregg Mitman, ASEH President
the profession: a
plea for timely cancellations at conferences
By Lisa Mighetto, ASEH director
and Melissa Wiedenfeld, local arrangements committee chair, 2015
ASEH conferences are known for
their collegiality. Years of conference evaluations and comments
from outside observers have demonstrated that ours is an unusually
tight-knit, supportive, and engaged organization. Our conferences
could not take place without the dedicated commitment of many
volunteers - or without the 400+ presenters who generously come to
share their research. Even so, a review of one aspect of conference
etiquette might be useful, with the planning for our 2015 meeting
in DC now in full swing. Recent articles and blogs on
conference etiquette highlight the importance of professional
behavior during the meeting, but we suggest that it is equally
important before the conference.
An increasing number of
presenters are cancelling within six weeks of the conference date
(reaching 7% for some meetings). These cancellations affect the
other session presenters (who must find and accommodate a new
speaker); the audience (many of whom come to hear specific
presenters listed in the program); and the conference organizers
(who scramble to enter last-minute edits to the printed, posted,
and mobile app versions of the program as well as to negotiate with
caterers regarding continually shifting attendance numbers). Here
are several points to consider:
1. When you agree to be included
in a session proposal, or when you submit an individual proposal
for a poster or paper, you have committed to attending the
conference and presenting that research.
2. ASEH conferences have a
proposal rejection rate of 30-50%, and when the program committee
accepts your session or paper, it is important to realize that
someone else's has been rejected - perhaps someone who would have
truly valued the opportunity to present.
3. If you sign up to present a
poster and don't show up or fail to provide adequate notice of
cancellation, you waste the society's money and time (poster boards
are expensive and require space and storage in the conference
hotel). More important, people attend the poster session expecting
to see the research as promised in the conference program.
4. Orders for poster boards and
AV equipment, banquet food, bus transportation, and other items are
submitted at least a month in advance.
True emergencies do occur -
accidents, deaths, serious illness, severe weather, sudden
financial hardships, and unexpected events affect presenters at
every meeting. Conference planners, session organizers, and
attendees are understanding and sympathetic when people have to
cancel owing to a catastrophe; however, many last-minute
cancellations are due to poor planning. If one's institution denies
travel funding, the professional and collegial response is to
cancel immediately and not wait until the last minute. Moreover,
feeling overwhelmed or inconvenienced by conference commitments are
not valid reasons to cancel within a few days of the meeting. A good
rule of thumb is to cancel as soon as you think you cannot attend -
and at least six weeks in advance.
A recent post on conference
etiquette for grad students applies to the greater academic
community as well. The recommendation to be a "generous
scholar" is a sound one, and we suggest that it is also important
to be a "respectful scholar" by showing up for your
session as promised. Although scholars can research and publish
with minimal contact with others, it is the in-person interaction
that makes conferences special. As the ASEH community expands, the
collegiality of our meetings continues to bind our community,
fostering vibrant discourse. Everyone appreciates the respect we
demonstrate by participating as promised.
If you have comments or
suggestions, e-mail the authors at email@example.com
Jared Farmer is the 2014
recipient of the Hiett Prize, one
of the USA's most prestigious honors in the humanities. A professor
at Stony Brook University in New York, he will receive the award at
a 10th anniversary public luncheon on Wednesday, November 12, 2014,
at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. Click here for
The following ASEH members
received 2014 fellowships from the American Council of Learned
Albritton Jonsson / ACLS Fellowship
Assistant Professor, History,
University of Chicago
Origins of the Anthropocene: Coal, Climate, and Deep Time 1784-1884
John P. Murphy / Luce/ACLS
Dissertation Fellowship in American Art Doctoral Candidate,
Art History, Northwestern University Comrades in Craft:
Arts and Crafts Colonies in the United States, 1894-1915
Radding / ACLS Fellowship
Professor, History, University of
North Carolina, Chapel Hill Bountiful Deserts and Imperial
Shadows. Seeds of Knowledge and Corridors of Migration in Northern
Rosenthal / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion
Fellowship Doctoral Candidate, History, State University of
New York, Stony Brook
left Hawai'i: Work, Body, and Environment in the Pacific World,
Congratulations to all! For more
info. on ACLS Fellowships, click here.
Final Notice - ASEH awards submissions for 2014
The next year's prize committees will evaluate
submissions (published books and articles and completed
dissertations) that appear between November 1, 2013 and October 31,
Please send three copies of each submission for books
and articles (these must be hard copies, or paper copies) for
November 14, 2014 to:
Lisa Mighetto, ASEH, UW Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Program, University of Washington, 1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma,
Articles that appeared in our journal, Environmental History, are
automatically considered by our journal's editorial board, and
there is no need to submit copies for the Leopold-Hidy Prize.
Electronic submission of dissertations:
We encourage electronic submissions of your dissertation, if your
dissertation was approved between Nov. 1, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2014.
Submit in pdf format as a single file less than 5 megabytes in size
to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 14, 2014.
Note: ASEH also offers awards for distinguished
scholar, distinguished service, and distinguished career in public
environmental history. Deadline for applications: November 14, 2014.
Click here for
Final Notice -
ASEH Samuel P. Hays Fellowship Applications
It is open to practicing historians (either academic,
public, or independent). Graduate students are ineligible. A Ph.D.
is not required. Submissions will be accepted between June and
September 30, 2013, and the recipient will be selected and notified
in December 2014 for funding in January 2015.
To apply, please submit the following items:
two-page statement (500 words) explaining your project and how
you intend to use the research funds.
c.v. no more than two pages in length.
All items for the Samuel P. Hays Research Fellowship
must be submitted electronically by October 1, 2014 to
Barry Muchnick, committee chair, at
Final Notice - ASEH Hal Rothman Fellowship
Students enrolled in any Ph.D. program worldwide are eligible to
apply. Applications will be accepted June 1- September 30, 2013,
and the recipient will be selected and notified in December 2014,
for funding in January 2015.
To apply, please submit the following three items:
statement (500 words) explaining your project and how you
intend to use the research funds.
c.v. no more than two pages in length.
letter of recommendation from your graduate advisor
All items for the Hal Rothman Research Fellowship must
be submitted electronically to email@example.com by October 1, 2014.
Newberry Library Fellowships
ASEH has partnered with the Newberry Library in
Chicago to offer an annual research fellowship. Click here for
Currently there are several positions for senior
scholars and assistant professors posted on ASEH's website (Oberlin
College, Lake Forest College, University of Wisconsin, University
of Montana, and others). Click here to
ASEH conferences are known for
their friendliness and collegiality - a characteristic enhanced by
our mentoring/hosting program. Would you like to introduce a
student or new professional to our conference by meeting with them
in Washington, DC and explaining our events and including them in
some of your discussions?
If you are interested in serving
as a mentor or in being a mentee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2015.
Indicate your preference (mentor
or mentee) and we will match people before the conference and send
them one another's contact info.
Note: If you are a non-academic mentor willing to talk
about your work and if you are a student or new professional
who would like to talk with a non-academic mentor in Washington,
DC, please indicate that preference as well.
for graduate students
ASEH's Graduate Student
Caucus has organized two workshops on writing and career
development for our 2015 conference. Instructions for signing up
will be available in the next issue of the newsletter.
ASEH's Graduate Student Caucus
has created the handle #ASEHGradCaucus. ASEH's 2015 conference
continues to use #ASEH2015 for conference-related tweets.
Liaison Position Available
Graduate Student Caucus invites applicants for the position of
Graduate Student Liaison to the Executive Committee for the year
ASEH will provide the recipient with a $500 USD travel subsidy to
attend the executive committee meeting at the ASEH annual meeting
in Washington, D.C. in March 2015. Attendance at the executive
committee meeting (Saturday, March 21) is required, as is consulting
with graduate students and the graduate student caucus throughout
the year. The term of the position runs from January 1 to December
To apply for this position, please submit a one-page statement
describing your interest in this position, including information
regarding previous participation in ASEH activities and/or
leadership and service experience. Please also submit a short c.v.
(maximum three pages).
Applications should be sent via email to Bathsheba Demuth, current
ASEH Graduate Student Liaison (email@example.com). The deadline for
applications is October 17, 2014. All
applicants will be notified of election results by October 25,
Note that to vote in this election one must be a current member of
the ASEH Graduate Student Caucus. Membership in the caucus is
simple! To join, please send a statement of interest to the current
liaison, Bathsheba Demuth at Bathsheba.firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are
a graduate student in environmental history, please consider
joining the caucus in advance of the October 4 election deadline.
Also note that
graduate students can apply for both the liaison position and an
ASEH travel grant, but they can receive only one for travel to the
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
Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Treasurer
Jay Taylor, Simon Fraser University, Secretary
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
Ex Officio, Past Presidents:
Nancy Langston, University of Wisconsin-Madison
John McNeill, Georgetown University
Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ex Officio, Editor, Environmental
Lisa Brady, Boise State University
Ex Officio, Executive Director and Editor, aseh news:
Lisa Mighetto, University of Washington-Tacoma
Ex Officio, Graduate Student Liaison:
Bathsheba Demuth, University of California-Berkeley