update on 2011 conference
[note: some of the above links might break when ASEH launches its new website; if this happens, see www.aseh.net, "conferences" for more info.]
special events at our 2011 conference include:
- plenary talk by William Cronon
- special plenary discussion on immigration, borderlands, and the environment
- sustainability address by ASU President Michael Crow
- sustainability workshop
- energy symposium
- environmental justice workshop on "Arizona and Beyond"
- forest history workshop on "Fire and Water: A Century of Cooperative Forestry"
- field trips to Grand Canyon, borderlands, birding sites, water in a desert metropolis, Taliesin West, kayaking, bicycling, horseback riding and more
- environmental films
|Photos courtesy Paul Hirt, Lisa Mighetto, and Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau
environmental justice events at our 2011 conference include:
- Plenary Session - Immigration, Borderlands, and the Environment.
- Workshop - Environmental Justice in Arizona and Beyond. Organized by ASEH's diversity committee, this half-day workshop will bring together environmental justice scholars, grassroots groups, and elders of the Navajo Nation, who will discuss contamination from uranium mines and how the Navajo have been disproportionately exposed to radioactive materials.
- Exhibit - Continental Divide: Borderlands, Wildlife, People and the WALL.
- Site visit to U.S.-Mexico border.
For more information and to register for our conference, see www.aseh.net, "conferences."
Hal Rothman Fellowship
fun(d) run in Phoenix
Join us for the 2nd 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 lobby before departing 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. Event t-shirts and other items may be purchased in advance at: www.zazzle.com/halrothmanfund To register ahead of time - or if you have questions, please contact the organizer, Jamie Lewis, at email@example.com.
Our next election will take place in January 2011. The ballots are electronic, and next month, all members will receive an e-mail invitation to vote for executive committee and nominating committee members.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
by April 20, 2011.
winter 2010 vol. 21, issue 4
|e-newsletter of the American Society for Environmental History|
Reflections on "Interesting Times"
'Tis the season for many things, as it always is at this time of year - not just celebrating and shopping, but looking back and taking stock. This has been an interesting year for ASEH, in every sense of the word, from the straightforward definition offered by the OED - "having the qualities which rouse curiosity, engage attention, or appeal to the emotions" - to the alternative insinuated by the allegedly ancient Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times." (Google suggests that this curse can only be traced back to American social scientists in the 1930s with any confidence.)
Interesting in the first sense has been the transition - or transitions - of our journal. Oxford University Press has been publishing Environmental History and managing most of our memberships (except joint ASEH-FHS members) for the past year. In addition, Marc Cioc is completing a very successful term as editor. Nancy Langston will replace him in the new year; as is usual, a new editor means changes in the editorial board. Similarly interesting is the new ASEH website, the result of a long process of planning and design, which will be unveiled in a few weeks. Preparing for our next annual meeting has been interesting in the second sense. Even without unanticipated difficulties, organizing the annual meeting is a huge and complicated task. And there are always unanticipated difficulties - so the fact of difficulty can actually be predicted; it is just the source that is a mystery. Past challenges have emanated, for example, from malign computer systems and inclement weather; this year's challenge was provided by the government of Arizona.
Whichever denotation of "interesting" applies, the word often also connotes "requires a lot of work." Each of these accomplishments depended on generous contributions of time and energy by volunteer members. The decision to transfer the journal to a professional publisher, and the subsequent selection of Oxford University Press required careful deliberation; complex negotiations then preceded the actual transition. A committee oversaw the selection of a new editor, and another committee has worked patiently with the designer of our incipient new website. Every annual meeting is the product of hardworking program and local arrangements committees. In addition, preparation for the forthcoming meeting has benefitted greatly from the informal advice of members particularly concerned with the special issues it presents.
Of course, these occasional or one-time tasks are not the only - or even the major - opportunities for member volunteers. The routine business of the society is carried on by a number of standing committees, which are listed on our website. As President and Vice President of ASEH, one of my responsibilities has been to invite people to serve on these committees. (In deciding whom to approach, I have valued the advice of Lisa Mighetto, the executive director of ASEH. If you would like to serve on a committee please contact her at email@example.com.) I am grateful to everyone who has accepted my invitations over the past four years, for both their willingness and their work.
Harriet Ritvo, President
Environmental Justice Outreach in Japan and Arizona
By Linda Richards, graduate student, Oregon State University
Two years ago I visited the Oregon State University Atomic Energy and Nuclear History Collections with my environmental history students - and the archivist, Cliff Mead, asked if I had ever been to Hiroshima. When I said no, he suggested that I should not be teaching a class on nuclear history without going there myself. Accordingly, this August I used a portion of an international fellowship to attend American University's 2010 Japan Nuclear Studies Course. As part of the course, students learn from the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings. Students also visit peace parks and museums and attend the official commemorations on August 6 in Hiroshima and August 9 in Nagasaki. After the course, I stayed in Japan to interview survivors (Hibakusha) and then I flew from Hiroshima to the Navajo Nation, where much of the uranium used in World War II was mined.
Before I left, my trip became an accidental public history project. Oregon residents folded a thousand origami peace cranes for me to take to Japan as a symbol of condolence and hope. Once presented, these paper cranes led to invitations to discuss nuclear history at city council meetings, nonprofits, churches, and on campus. I represented two Oregon cities, Ashland and Corvallis, at the official ceremonies and to the mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba. Mayor Akiba is president of the Mayors for Peace, an organization that has 4,301 member cities. Half the world's population now lives in a city that has a Mayor for Peace and three-fourths of the world's landmass is a nuclear-weapons-free zone. The Mayors for Peace and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon endorsed at the commemorations an international convention to ban nuclear weapons.
The guest lecturer for the course was Koko Kondo, the daughter of Reverend Tanimoto, whose experiences are told in John Hersey's Hiroshima. Koko retraced for us the events recorded in the book. We also went to the former Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC; now the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, or RERF), where Koko was examined regularly as she grew up.
The environmental history of the bombings continues to be contested. Black rain, for example, is the dark-colored precipitation that fell in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombing. At RERF scientists presented data that black rain contained only slightly radioactive ash and that some health effects attributed to radioactivity, such as hair loss and nausea, were caused by starvation and stress. However, some survivors, including Dr. Shoji Sawada, dispute this. Not only was the rain radioactive, but the Hiroshima bomb cloud may have been twice as large as official US government estimates claim. Dr. Sawada's research suggests the internal dose from residual radiation was disregarded by ABCC/RERF and the actual effects of the bomb may have been underestimated by a 200 to 1 ratio.
The health and environmental effects of radiation are also disputed on the Navajo Nation, one of the places uranium was mined during World War II. Estimates are that 80% of the mining, milling, production, testing, and storage of nuclear materials occurs on remaining indigenous communities worldwide, creating disproportionate exposure. This history of resource extraction on the Navajo Nation will be the focus of "Environmental Justice in Arizona and Beyond," a workshop at the ASEH annual meeting on Friday, April 15 from 8:30 to noon in the conference hotel, Room 6. We will view the film The Return of Navajo Boy and discuss these issues with the filmmaker, environmental justice scholars, and Navajo Nation elders. Like the experience in Japan, hearing firsthand accounts of the Navajo (Diné in their language) will give me the opportunity to learn experientially.
Paul Hirt and a team of scholars at Arizona State University (ASU) have created a new multi-media educational website titled "Nature, Culture, and History at the Grand Canyon." Produced by ASU and the Grand Canyon Association with funding from NEH, the website contains more than 100 brief interpretive narratives on Grand Canyon history enriched by hundreds of historic and contemporary photos, maps, art, and postcard images, as well as audio and video. Dozens of historic sites, buildings, and trails are profiled, along with narratives on Grand Canyon literature, science, photography, art, land use, tourism, Native cultures, and more. There is also an extensive K-20 section designed by and for educators. Three years in the making, this website offers an excellent springboard for teaching place-based American Western or environmental history or preparing for a visit to this remarkable national park. See:
Envirotech, a Special Interest Group of the Society for the History of Technology, has named its biannual article prize in honor of Joel Tarr.
Sylvia Hood Washington was recently elected as co-chair of the EPA's Environmental Justice Advisory Group in Illinois. Additional information is available at:
Funding Available for Environmental History of World War II Activities in Pacific Island National Park Units: Phase 1
Several years ago, ASEH entered a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service (NPS), which allows us to partner on a variety of projects, including the workshop on the national parks that we organized earlier this year in Portland, Oregon. Under this agreement, the NPS has funded two positions, which we are now seeking to fill:
(1) a researcher/writer
2) a graduate student assistant
The successful candidates will work with ASEH and NPS staff and will consult with scholars in the Hawaiian Islands to complete an environmental history of World War II in the Pacific Islands. This two-year project will serve as a pilot for potential future environmental histories arranged with ASEH with funding from government agencies.
The objective of this project is to examine World War II activities in the national parks in Hawaii that are not already dedicated to World War II interpretation and commemoration. A number of parks in Hawaii, including Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala, include remnants of the war years that require historical context for national register nominations and for interpretation. Resources such as the Volcano House, military camps and dormitories, radar stations, and airstrips reflect activities significant to the nation's heritage.
Environmental history provides a unique lens for examining the ways in which the military utilized these resources - and the natural setting in which they were constructed - as part of the war effort. This history will provide the details of construction over time, explaining where and when military installations were built, while also analyzing how they affected the landscape over time. The intersection of the natural and built environments is crucial to this study, as geophysical features of the Pacific islands influenced the types of military installations constructed and their placement. Accordingly, our researchers will document how the U.S. military viewed the park lands and the natural setting during the war years (1941-1945), and how construction both changed the landscape and was influenced by it.
Another goal of this project is to bring together NPS staff and environmental historians for discussions about how environmental history can inform and enhance interpretation of national park resources.
This project is conceptualized in two phases, dependent on annual appropriations. Phase 1 involves the initiation of the project, including the collaboration on the history's work plan, followed by preparation of research design, records search, preparation of a detailed chapter outline and bibliography, preparation of two chapters, and two presentations: one to NPS staff in Hawaii and if appropriate, one at the University of Hawaii. Phase 2 involves the preparation of the rest of the narrative, including editing, reviewing and revising drafts, and printing.
Phase 1 of the project will include $15,000 for the researcher/writer and $12,000 for the graduate student assistant, plus expenses for travel and research. While much of the research can be completed during the summer of 2011, the first two chapters will be due by December 31, 2011. The remaining chapters will be completed during Phase 2, pending additional funding. The researcher/writer and graduate student assistant must have experience in two of the following areas: environmental history, military history, and the history of the Pacific Islands. Familiarity with National Park Service history and demonstrated ability to research and write will also be considered strengths for this project.
To apply for either position, please e-mail the following materials to firstname.lastname@example.org:
· cover letter clearly indicating which position you seek and briefly explaining how your research interests relate to this project
· two-page c.v.
· relevant writing sample (need not be from a published work)
· names and phone numbers of three references
Deadline for applications: January 28, 2011. Recipients will be selected and informed by February 14, 2011.
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 email@example.com
ASEH to Host High School Students at 2011 Conference
ASEH's education committee will host Tempe High School and Metro Tech students for a workshop on environmental history and the national parks made possible by support from the National Park Service (at our 2011 conference, on April 14). Drawing on the mission of the Park Service to interpret the nation's past, the workshop will bring environmental history into the discussion of America's history and engage Phoenix area youth in building an understanding and appreciation of the environmental history of our national parks and the national park idea. The workshop will first consider broad questions to introduce students to the field and make connections to their lives, including: What are the most important environmental issues facing communities in Phoenix and across Arizona? How are students involved in their communities and how might their activities draw on environmental history? Why should Phoenix students care about environmental history in the national parks? Discussions will also address issues of race and exclusion in the national parks and doing environmental history at Park Service and other regional historic sites. The interactive program will foster discussion among scholars, teachers, and students, offer classroom connections, and allow students to explore environmental history in their communities. For more information, contact education committee chair Aaron Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Position Open: Assistant Professor, European History with Environmental Emphasis, Begins August 2011
The Department of History at Idaho State University seeks a tenure-track, assistant professor in European history who will reinforce department strengths in historical GIS and digital media, environmental history, women's history, or transnational history. We encourage applications from scholars who study Europe as an element in larger global networks that connect it with other world regions. A Ph.D. in history, geography, or related field is required at appointment in August 2011. Successful candidates will demonstrate a growing record of scholarship, commitment to teaching, and potential for successful grant funding. Specific duties include teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and mentoring graduate students. Review of applications begins January 31, 2011.
Submit letter of application and C.V. online at https://isujobs.net/applicants/jsp/shared/position/JobDetails_css.jsp?postingId=136531. Send three letters of recommendation via mail or electronic delivery to:
Kevin Marsh, Chair
Department of History
Idaho State University
921 S 8th Ave, Stop 8079
Pocatello, ID 83209-8079
2011 travel grant recipients
Congratulations to the following recipients of travel grants to our Phoenix conference:
Minority travel grant:
Named travel grants:
John D. Wirth Travel Grant for International Scholars: Ranjan Chakrabarti
E.V. and Nancy Melosi Travel Grant: Elsa Devienne
Morgan and Jeanie Sherwood Travel Grant: Leila Marie Farah
Morgan and Jeanie Sherwood Travel Grant: Kara Schlichting
Ellen Swallow Richards Travel Grant: Abigail Schade
Donald Worster Travel Grant: Michitako Aso
J. Donald Hughes Travel Grant: Frank Thomas
Additional travel grants:
Conevery Bolton Valencius
attention graduate students
ASEH Seeks 2011 Graduate Student Liaison
ASEH will offer a travel grant of $500 for a graduate student willing to attend our annual meeting in 2011 and willing to serve as the liaison to the ASEH executive committee for one year. Responsibilities include communicating with ASEH's graduate students, updating our Facebook site, attending and participating in the executive committee meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on April 16, 2011, and helping to select the 2012 student liaison. Applicants must be student members of ASEH. If you would like to apply, please submit a two-page c.v. and a one-page description of why you would like to serve as our 2011 student liaison (including suggestions for improving communications among student members and potential future activities) to email@example.com.
Deadline: January 21, 2011; recipient will be notified by February 11, 2011.
ASEH is very grateful for the service of Sarah Hamilton, our 2010 liaison. Thank you, Sarah!
Funding Available for ASEH/National Park Service Project
See information on graduate student assistant position in "Announcements" section above.
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. We provided a record number of travel grants to students and low-income scholars to present at our conference in Portland, Oregon. Our Samuel Hays and Hal Rothman fellowships supported two projects: Carl Zimring's "Clean and White: Creating Whiteness and Environmental Racism in the United States" and Steven Moga's "Bottoms, Hollows, and Flats: Making and Remaking the Lowlands, An Urban Environmental History." A summary of results and what this funding meant to their work can be viewed at:
Our efforts to improve sustainable practices continue, and we are preparing a sustainability audit for 2011, which will focus on our annual meeting. Our commitment to environmental justice is exemplified in several major activities at our next conference, including a special plenary session, workshop, and field trip. We continue to partner with government agencies, including the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and others, in providing workshops at our conferences and special projects for environmental history students. 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 a few weeks we will launch a new website that will assist our members more efficiently while showcasing our scholarship more effectively.
A tax-deductible, year-end gift would help us to continue this work in 2011. "We had to turn away so many worthy applicants for this year's travel grants," Richard Tucker, our 2011 conference program committee chair, recently lamented. "Our program committee recommends that securing funding for students and low-income scholars should be a priority of ASEH." Our greatest resource is our members - and your generosity helps maintain the vitality of our programs.
To make a gift online, see:
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.
Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, President
John McNeill, Georgetown University, Vice President/President Elect
Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Treasurer
Ellen Stroud, Bryn Mawr College, SecretaryExecutive Committee:
Marcus Hall, University of Utah
Paul Hirt, Arizona State University
Nancy Jacobs, Brown University
Tina Loo, University of British Columbia
Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Linda Nash, University of Washington
Mark Stoll, Texas Tech University Ex Officio, Past Presidents:
Nancy Langston, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Stephen Pyne, Arizona State University
Douglas Weiner, University of Arizona Ex Officio, Executive Director and Editor, ASEH News:
Lisa Mighetto, University of Washington-Tacoma Ex Officio, H-Environment Representative:
Melissa WiedenfeldEx Officio, Editor, Environmental History:
Mark Cioc, University of California-Santa Cruz
Nancy Langston, University of Wisconsin-Madison (incoming)