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         winter 2012                               volume 23, issue 4
in this issue (right columns)
president's column: support aseh
the profession: working in preservation history
member news
announcements: positions open, calls for papers, and more
attention: graduate students
Toronto conference 2013


Our conference in Toronto will include the following:
  • plenary session on "The Fossil Fuel Dilemma: Vision, Values, and Technoscience in the Alberta Oil Sands"
  • address by President John McNeill, "Arnold Toynbee: World Environmental Historian?"
  • 100 sessions
  • workshop for grad students
  • field trips, including visit to Niagara Falls


Click here for info on hotel, events, and more
registration for Toronto conference now available
Click here to register.
posters in Toronto

Click here for a list of posters to be presented in Toronto


Click here for instructions on presenting a poster

mark your calendars: aseh reception in New Orleans - January 2013
If you plan to attend the AHA's meeting in New Orleans in Jan. 2013, stop by our reception on Friday evening, Jan. 4, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
New Orleans Marriott, La Galerie 5
Everyone is welcome - no fee and no sign-up required. 
future conferences
Toronto - April 3-6, 2013
San Francisco - March 12-16, 2014
Washington, DC - March 18-22, 2015
Seattle - March 30-April 3, 2016
update on advisory board for professional development and public engagement
Earlier this year, our executive committee established a new advisory board, which is now working on establishing new awards, paid internships, job fairs, and other activities to help inform students about career opportunities outside the university. New programs will be announced in 2013 and at our conference in Toronto.
The current issue of Environmental History (January 2013) features a forum on marine environmental history, with contributions from environmental historians, historians of science, architectural historians, and marine ecologists.
links to plenary session - 2012 Madison conference
View our videos on YouTube
Above: view excerpts from our plenary session on March 29, 2012.
The latest issue of the Rachel Carson Center's journal features the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring, and includes the full text of Jenny Price's keynote address at the plenary session of ASEH's Madison Conference. Click here for more info.
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 director@aseh.net
by March 15, 2013.

   Happy Holidays
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president's column: support aseh


Dear Colleagues,


2012 has been a banner year for ASEH. Last March we organized our largest conference to date, with 620 people attending in Madison. Our conference committees have been especially active during the last year, organizing an outstanding program for our upcoming meeting in Toronto and arranging future conferences in San Francisco (2014), Washington, DC (2015), and Seattle (2016).


Excellent scholarship in our field and from our members continued to pour forth in 2012. The number of award submissions for our annual prizes for best book, article, and dissertation in environmental history continues to increase, indicating growing vitality in environmental history generally.


In 2012, ASEH created a new Advisory Board for Professional Development and Public Engagement, which helped organize a career event for students at our 2013 conference and laid the groundwork for annual internships and awards for scholarship that engages the public. Our digital communications committee mobile-optimized ASEH's website (the journal website was mobile-optimized last year) and created a membership directory, which will be launched in early 2013. Our sustainability committee continued to monitor the carbon footprint of our meetings and purchased offsets from the Panama Native Reforestation Project on ASEH's behalf.


In 2012, ASEH also provided more than twice the number of travel grants for scholars seeking to attend the annual conference, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation. Our Samuel Hays and Hal Rothman fellowships supported two projects: Linda Ivey's research on "Poetic Industrialism: Race, Class, Environment, and Evolving Notions of Sustainable Agriculture in 20th-Century California" and Haley Michaels Pollack's dissertation research on "Theaters of Memory: Place, Space, and Remembrance in San Francisco Bay."


These programs and initiatives require funding - and ASEH's resources remain limited. The NSF travel grants, for instance, will end this year, reducing the number of grants available for travel to our 2014 conference by two-thirds.

"This year ASEH received 86 requests for travel grants! It was very satisfying to be able to award nearly two dozen graduate students with NSF-funded travel support, but if we want to continue to welcome international scholars as well as folks with post-docs or temporary appointments that seldom include support for conference travel, we need to seek support from our members who are able to make a donation in addition to pursuing outside sources like NSF." -John Soluri, ASEH 2013 program committee chair

A tax-deductible, year-end gift would help us to continue this work in 2013. Our greatest resource is our members - and your generosity helps maintain the vigor 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,

John McNeill

President, ASEH

the profession: working in preservation history

by Robert E. Krause, Prince William County Department of Public Works Historic Preservation Division - Virginia


In considering the roots of my academic and professional career as a public historian, I can safely say that human history, landscapes, and the natural world have all been linked in my worldview as far back as I can remember. Part of this fact is rooted in having grown up in the Bridger Mountains just north of Bozeman, Montana, where big sun, big sky, and of course, big snow all play an integral role in the lives of most everyone. I was admitted into the Ph.D. program in U.S. history at the University of Mississippi in 2008 and as a doctoral student was fortunate enough to work under the keen tutelage of Bill Griffith as graduate curator at the University of Mississippi Museum and at Rowan Oak, the antebellum home of William Faulkner.


My introduction to the field of public and environmental history came while working as a seasonal Park Guide for the National Park Service at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in Daviston, Alabama. As a master's student, I worked as a project historian at James Madison's Montpelier during the extensive rehabilitation and restoration of the property from 2005 through 2008. Luckily, the role of the environment in the almost magisterial history of Madison's Virginia property was central to interpretive efforts being developed at the time. I conducted an environmental and landscape survey of the grounds with special emphasis on the arboreal history of the site that blended archaeology, forest studies, and cultural history to help enhance the overall interpretive approach of the site. 


While finishing my dissertation on the environmental history of New Deal public works projects in the Gulf South, I worked for Scott M. Stroh as an historic site manager for the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Our team was responsible for restoration efforts at Florida's first gubernatorial mansion, the Call-Collins House at "The Grove" in Tallahassee.


Through relentless online searching and canvassing job boards, I noticed that the position of preservationist with Prince William County Government in Virginia had opened. I applied and awaited word with absolutely no expectations, which I think is the safest route when navigating what can only be characterized as a rugged job market. The qualifications for the position were a graduate degree in history or museum studies with five years employment experience, so I knew I would at least be competitive amongst other candidates. The wheels of government indeed move slowly, and the job candidacy process proved no different.


That being said, patience is an important virtue that the job market and application process in public history forces all candidates to embrace. As an applicant for most positions in our field, you will likely learn to extend your patience beyond what you previously thought possible! My advice is to approach the job search and view the application process as an instructive moment in your professional development. And trust the process...wishing time away or being a burden to those on the other side of the application will not help your chances.


Finally, in December of 2011, I was offered and accepted the position of preservationist with the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division (HPD) in Dumfries, Virginia, twenty miles south of Washington, D.C. As a County-funded agency, Prince William HPD works as a Cultural and Historic Resource agency in a diverse and expanding community within northern Virginia.


This constantly evolving suburban and urban environment provides the setting for our agency to engage a unique approach to historic preservation. Serving as a vanguard for surrounding counties and communities, HPD attempts to extend beyond traditional notions of government "bureau" work, to a blending of advocacy, community engagement and outreach, education, and historic site and historic house museum operations management.


Emphasizing the interconnected nature of community, history, and the natural world is central to the mission of all of our sites. The determined advocacy for the preservation of historic landscapes is critical to our approach as we attempt to provide an integrated management of historic house museums, Civil War battlefields, historic road traces, and vernacular structures within the second largest county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The opportunity to work with a wide range of folks who are passionate and tireless supporters of the histories within our communities has proven invaluable.


All of this is to say that my academic background and training, most especially including what several colleagues referred to as an "unnecessary" doctoral degree for work in public history, was

historic properties, Prince William County, Virginia

absolutely vital in preparing me for the challenges of career work as a public and environmental historian. My experiences working for dynamic and vibrant leadership at places like Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, James Madison's Montpelier, Ole Miss, and the Florida Division of Historical Resources, have engaged for me the power of possibility inherent in our field beyond the traditional academic environment. Whether working as a curator at an historic house museum, as a researcher at a University or institutional archive, or as an interpreter and park guide, the broader setting of public history has proven to be a perfect intersection in which to blend the academic and theoretical with the diverse interplay of people and the broader world around them. I hope it already is, or will be, for you as well.

member news


Karl Appuhn was awarded the Renaissance Society of America's Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation book prize for A Forest on the Sea: Environmental Expertise in Renaissance Venice, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. 


Lisa Brady, associate editor of Environmental History, recently received a grant from NiCHE to develop a teaching unit on Canadian environmental history for the journal's website (environmentalhistory.net). She will be working with Dr. David Brownstein of the University of British Columbia to create the unit focused on the 2007 Canadian special issue of Environmental History. The unit will be posted in late summer 2013; it and all associated articles from the journal will be available for free.


Paul Hirt 's book The Wired Northwest: The History of Electric Power, 1870s-1970s was recently published by the University Press of Kansas.

Karl Jacoby is now a professor in the Department of History and Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race-CSER at Columbia University.


Edmund Russell of the University of Virginia will move to the University of Kansas in January 2013 to become the Hall Distinguished Professor of United States History.



call for papers


  • ASEH San Francisco conference 2014 - Crossing Divides - Click here for Call for Papers.  
  • Disasters Wet and Dry: Rivers, Floods, and Droughts in World History - An international conference to be held in Beijing, at Renmin University of China, May 23-26, 2013 . Click here for more info.
reception in New Orleans
If you plan to attend the
AHA's meeting in New Orleans in Jan. 2013, stop by our reception on Friday evening, Jan. 4, 5:30-7:00 p.m., New Orleans Marriott, La Galerie 5
Everyone is welcome  - no fee and no sign-up required.


position open: graduate editorial assistant 


Environmental History and the Boise State University Department of History are seeking applications for the position of Graduate Editorial Assistant for Fall 2013.


The successful applicant will work with the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental History (www.environmentalhistory.net). The Graduate Editorial Assistant must be admitted to and enroll in the History Master of Arts or Master of Applied Historical Research program at Boise State and will receive a full tuition waiver and a $10,000 stipend for the 2013-2014 academic year, summer not included.

The position may be retained for an additional year, depending on satisfactory progress toward the degree and acceptable work on all editorial assignments. The Editorial Assistant position requires 20 hours of work per week, beginning in August 2013. Duties include assisting the Editor-in-Chief with submissions, identifying potential reviewers, and communicating with authors. Strong analytical, organizational, time management, and communication skills are essential.

In addition to all Graduate College and History Department admissions materials (http://sspa.boisestate.edu/history/graduate-students/admissions/), applicants should send a separate letter of interest that includes discussion of relevant experience and skills, a résumé or curriculum vitae, and a list of references to the editor of Environmental History.

Editorial assistant applications must be received by January 15, 2013.

Direct all applications and inquiries to:
Dr. Lisa M. Brady, Department of History, MS-1925, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive Boise, ID 83725-1925, (208) 426-4309 LisaBrady@boisestate.edu


position open: history research


Heritage Research Center in Missoula, Montana seeks a professional researcher. Click here for more info.  


attention: graduate students


Envirotech is offering a $250 travel grant to ASEH's Toronto conference - deadline Jan. 3, 2013Click here for more info. 


Workshop in Toronto


At the ASEH conference to be held this spring in Toronto, the graduate student caucus is hosting a graduate student writing workshop during the 1:30 p.m. session, Saturday April 6, 2013.

Participants will join in small discussion groups with other students assigned to one faculty member, so that attendees can count on about 15 minutes of discussion focused on their ideas. M.A. thesis proposals and independent researchers are also welcome.

The purpose of this session is to provide a forum for graduate students to develop their research projects. Participants will submit a draft (10-15 pages maximum). Each participant will read the proposals of fellow group members and be prepared to discuss them during the session. Selections from chapters, articles, or substantive sections from proposals are welcome. The workshop groups will be organized by similar topic to facilitate discussion.

In this workshop we will emphasize the following: 

  • cultivating your research ideas--from the first idea for a project, to chapter organization and revision, to shaping proposals and abstracts
  • writing, and
  • how to get effective feedback

The Writing Workshop is part of ASEH's and the graduate student caucus's commitment to the organizations' tradition of providing graduate students with a helpful intellectual and social climate to support and encourage graduate student research.

To participate, please submit a one-page paper overview (double-spaced), and a one-paragraph bio regarding your work and educational background, and your contact information to the Kara Schlichting (kara.schlichting@gmail.com) by January 7, 2013.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by January 2013. The complete application will be due via e-mail by Friday, March 1, 2013. The bio and overview will be used to form discussion groups and will be read by your faculty convener. The proposal will be shared within workshops groups.

Careers Luncheon for Graduate Students

"Careers Beyond the Academy: A Luncheon Roundtable for Graduate Students"
Saturday April 6, 2013, ASEH Toronto Conference

Cost: $15

This luncheon is designed to facilitate the ongoing conversation within ASEH about jobs for environmental historians. "Careers Beyond the Academy" will provide a forum for graduate students to learn about job searches beyond academia and connect graduate students with environmental professionals. The roundtable will feature representatives from careers in government agencies, museums, NGOs, consulting firms, and other professional paths outside the university.

To register, click here. If you have questions, contact Kara.Schlichting@gmail.com 


Sponsored by the National Park Service.


Graduate Student Reception


ASEH's Toronto conference will include a reception for graduate students on Friday evening, April 5, 2013 in the Imperial Room, Royal York Hotel.


New Graduate Student Liaison Selected


ASEH's graudate student caucus has chosen Gregory Rosenthal as the new liaison to the executive committee for 2013. Congratulations, Gregory!


Kara Schlichting's excellent work as graduate student liaison in 2012 was much appreciated. Thank you, Kara!

Our 2013 conference will include a trip to Niagara Falls
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

Executive Committee:
Sterling Evans, University of Oklahoma
Sara Gregg, 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, Univeristy 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
Lisa Brady, Boise State University [incoming editor]

Ex Officio, Executive Director and Editor, aseh news:
Lisa Mighetto, University of Washington-Tacoma
Graduate Student Liaison:
Kara Schlichting, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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