ASEH 2015 Election - Statements of the Candidates

Scroll down to read statements for candidates for Executive Committee and Nominating Committee

Vice President/Incoming President

Graeme Wynn:

I am Professor of Geography in the University of British Columbia but I have had a career-long fascination with and involvement in environmental history. My research is interdisciplinary, and its foci have broadened over time from eastern Canada to New Zealand, the rest of Canada and (to lesser degree) Australia. A fair part of this work has focused on forest exploitation, conservation, preservation and management, but I have also published in rural/ agricultural and urban studies, written on the histories of geography and environmental history, and contributed broadly to Canadian Studies.  These perspectives are brought together in Canada and Arctic North America: An Environmental History (ABC-Clio, 2007), and have been recognized by election to the Royal Society of Canada and the award of the Massey Medal for contributions to understanding the geography of Canada. I was one of the co-leaders of NiCHE (the Network in Canadian History and Environment, 2007-14). In 2005, I inaugurated the Nature|History|Society monograph series with UBC Press which now includes twenty-four volumes under my general editorship.

My record of service includes sixteen years in university administration at UBC (successively Associate Dean of Arts and Head of Geography); periods as a Director of the Forest History Society, 1983-1990 (and Program Committee Chair 1985-90); Council member of the Canadian Association of Geographers (1987-9) and the Canadian Historical Association (1990-3) with additional service as Chair of several book prize juries.  I have been editor of the Journal of Historical Geography and continue in that role with BC Studies, and I am a member of several editorial boards, including that of Environment and History.  Service to ASEH includes a period on the Editorial Board of Environmental History; membership of the Executive Committee (2011-15); Chair of the Rachel Carson Prize Committee (2007-8); membership of the Program Committee for the Toronto Annual meeting (2013) and work as an adjudicator of the Leopold-Hidy award (and its predecessor awards in the 1980s).  I chaired the Program Committee for the 2nd World Congress of Environmental History (2014) and the International Scientific Committee for the 16th International Conference of Historical Geographers (2015). I have long regarded ASEH as my “intellectual homeplace” and I am, truly, deeply honored by this invitation to further serve the society, which I will do with energy and enthusiasm.

Executive Committee:

Vote for FOUR

Colin Coates:

I began my academic career at the University of Edinburgh and moved to York University in Toronto in 2003 to take up a Canada Research Chair in Canadian Cultural Landscapes. I teach Canadian Studies and History. My work sits at the junction between environmental and socio-cultural history. My first book The Metamorphoses of Landscape and Community in Early Québec examines the environmental and social implications of settler colonialism at the local level in the French colony and the transition to British rule after 1759. I also work on the history of agricultural commons, landscape history, and the environmental implications of commodity trade.  In 2006-2007, I co-taught a joint York-Arizona State University graduate course in North American environmental history with Susan Gray. Susan and I described this initiative in an article for the AHA ‘s Perspectives on History.

I was a founding member of the Network in Canadian History & Environment (NiCHE) and have served on its Executive since its creation in 2004. The goal of NiCHE has been to expand the field of environmental history in Canada. I organized its first Summer School in 2006. Heading up an important NiCHE initiative, I served as chair of the Organizing Committee for the 2013 meeting of the ASEH in Toronto. Since I began attending the annual conferences in 2009, I have experienced with great pleasure the welcoming spirit of the society, particularly for those of us who work outside the United States. In bringing the ASEH to Toronto, we wanted to show the Canadian commitment to this important field of historical inquiry and to the association which has given us all an intellectual home. In addition to my work on the 2013 conference, I chaired the Alice Hamilton Prize Committee in 2011.

I am particularly keen to maintain strong Canadian involvement in the ASEH, to encourage cross-border exchanges and to foster graduate student enthusiasm for the field.

Fritz Davis:

I teach environmental history and the history of science and medicine at Florida State University. ASEH has been my intellectual home since graduate school. Like many others, I find the blend of personal, intellectual, professional commitment to all aspects of the environment and its histories to be extraordinarily rewarding. I have been fortunate to serve on a variety of ASEH committees. I was the Local Arrangements Chair for the 2009 Annual Meeting in Tallahassee, Florida. It was wonderful to see all activities and interactions that we associate with the annual meeting taking place in Tallahassee, my adoptive home (and please accept my apologies for the weather system that closed the Charlotte and Atlanta Airports at the end of the conference). I also served as chair of the Marsh Prize Committee and chair of the Site Selection Committee, which will result in a future meeting in Chicago, a superb location for any meeting but especially ASEH. I have been fortunate to co-lead many of the birding trips at the meetings. In addition, I serve on the Editorial Board for Environmental History. I have also been active in the History of Science Society serving two terms as the Chair of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Forum (one of the organizations that links HSS and ASEH), the Hazen teaching prize, and the Editorial Board for the Journal, which for more than a century has been called Isis. Recently, I have become more active in the Agricultural History Society reinforcing productive overlap.

My research lies at the intersection of environmental history, science, and health. My second book is Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology (Yale 2014) examines the dynamic between the development of chemical insecticides and the science of toxicology and environmental risk assessment. I have been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Library of Medicine (NIH) and I currently serve on the NLM Grant review panel. I recently received notification that I will be promoted to full professor in August 2015. It would be an honor and a pleasure to serve ASEH as a member of the executive council.

Emily Greenwald:

I am grateful for this opportunity to run for the ASEH Executive Committee. In 2002, after spending eight years in academia (mostly at the University of Nebraska), I joined Historical Research Associates, Inc. (HRA), a history and cultural resource management consulting firm. I am currently manager of HRA’s History Division and a shareholder. I conduct historical research and writing for a variety of clients, primarily in environmental and Native American history. I have served as an expert witness in litigation involving treaty rights, reservation boundary issues, tribal membership, and Superfund sites.

ASEH was an important intellectual home for me as an academic, and my ties to the ASEH community—which I value greatly—keep me coming to annual meetings. As a professional organization, however, ASEH became less relevant to me when I made the jump to public history. I am pleased to see the steps ASEH has taken in recent years to serve public historians better. I want to play a role in solidifying and extending those efforts, and election to the ASEH Executive Committee will give me an ideal opportunity to do so. Like many other public historians in ASEH, I am very involved in the National Council on Public History, having served on its board, consultants’ committee, Robert Kelly prize committee, and now on the editorial board of The Public Historian. I believe I can bring the insights not only of my own public history experience, but also those of NCPH more broadly.

Christof Mauch:

The ASEH has long been a touchstone for me in my career as an environmental historian and historian of the United States. I am a founding member of the ASEH’s sister organization, the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH). As a member of the ESEH, and during my presidency of the society, I have played a part in establishing the ESEH’s article and book prize, its fellowship program, and several research and digital projects. I have served as chair of the local organizing committee of the ESEH meeting in Munich (2013) and as a convener or co-convener of several ESEH summer schools and seminars.

My career has crossed disciplines: I started out as a scholar in literature  and turned to political history, social and international history; however during my tenure as Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington D.C. (1999-2007), I developed an interest in environmental history and this field has kept me enthralled ever since. After accepting the position of Chair in American Cultural History and Transatlantic Relations at LMU Munich in 2007, I wrote the proposal for the grant that established the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. Since 2009 I have served as full-time director of the RCC (together with my colleague and co-director Helmuth Trischler at the Deutsches Museum); I am running the international doctoral program in Environment and Society and the Environmental Studies Program at LMU.

Over the years I have attended the meetings of the ASEH whenever I could, and have continued to foster strong connections between US and European (even Asian) environmental history. I have convened workshops and conferences in Europe, in the United States, and beyond, and in doing so have been able to bring together leading scholars from different continents and disciplines. I am a member of several editorial boards and international academic boards, including the board of trustees of the National History Center, Washington D.C., the academic advisory board of the Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany, and the board of the Center for Environmental and Technological History at the European University in St. Petersburg, Russia.

I enjoy immensely the opportunities that these collaborative positions afford me and would be delighted to serve a society that has strongly influenced the course of my career.

Kathryn Morse:

I am currently Professor and Chair of History and John C. Elder Professor in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, where I teach U.S. environmental and western history, and courses in the environmental humanities more broadly.  A member of ASEH since 1993, I served as Graphics Editor of Environmental History from 2003-2007, on the Program Committee for the 2006 (St. Paul) conference, and on the Nominating Committee from 2009-2012. The ASEH is vibrant academic community for scholars from a range of fields within and beyond history, and my chief scholarly community and home.  I would consider it an honor to continue to serve the organization as a member of the Executive Committee. I have seven years of experience on elected college committees and have served nearly four years as chair/director of academic programs/departments.

My first book, The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush (2003) used placer gold mining in the Yukon and Alaska to explore how industrialization changed human relationships to nature. Since then my scholarly interests have ranged widely, from nature in American popular culture, to the use of photographs and other visual culture as sources in environmental history, to the visual history of petroleum in the United States.

Cindy Ott:

Although my work is highly interdisciplinary, the ASEH has always been my intellectual home and community.  Along with the book Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon, published with Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books at the University of Washington Press in 2012, I have written articles about urban gardens, northern Plains cross cultural encounters, Lewis & Clark commemorations, weather, and food ethics. In each case, I explore the complex calculus of cultural identity, history and memory, material and visual culture, and the environment. With the support of Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany in fall 2014, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History during the 2013-2014 academic year, and Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West in summer 2012, and Humanities Montana in 2014, I am currently working on a book and exhibition titled “Biscuits and Buffalo: Squashing Myths about Food in Indian Country.”

Since 2010, I have served as Environmental History’s co-editor of graphics and the Gallery, which is devoted to visual analyses. I was on the 2014 ASEH George Perkins Marsh best book in environmental history prize committee and the 2015 ASEH conference program planning committee. I currently serve on the ASEH advisory board on professional development and public engagement and, with two other board members, I wrote the guidelines for the new ASEH distinguished public service and public outreach awards. At the request of the 2012 ASEH Graduate Student Liaison, I led a graduate student-writing workshop at the 2013 ASEH conference. In addition, I have presented a paper or served as a commenter or chair at nearly every annual ASEH meeting over the last ten to fifteen years, including three workshops devoted to training environmental historians in the use of visual culture in their work.

I am an associate professor in the American Studies Department at Saint Louis University.  My approach to environmental history has been strongly influenced by my work as a museum curator and public historian. I have organized public history projects and art exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, community development and urban revitalization programs at the University of Pennsylvania and Saint Louis University, and historic preservation projects at the National Park Service. I have has also built alliances and partnerships between academia and nonprofit environmental groups as the communications director of Rachel’s Network, a women’s environmental nonprofit organization. I have been a consultant for the National Park Service, assisting national parks to develop or enhance their history programs and I am a regular grant review panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which awarded me a planning grant for the exhibition “Weathering the Years: The History of Winter in the Rockies.”

My vision for ASEH is to increase its connections to non-academic organizations as a means to broaden ASEH’s reach and environmental humanities influence, to nurture international collaborations and by extension the organization’s cultural diversity, and to train students to work in environmental history in fields within and beyond the academy.

Paul Sabin:

I am an associate professor of history at Yale University, where I coordinate a global environmental history working group and serve as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Environmental Studies major. My scholarship focuses on the ways that politics and law transformed the twentieth-century United States economy and environment. I am the author of The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future (2013) and Crude Politics: The California Oil Market, 1900-1940 (2005). My articles on energy history and international resource frontiers have appeared in Environmental History, the Journal of American History, Pacific Historical Review, and other publications. I have been active in ASEH since 1995, when I presented my first conference paper - on oil extraction and indigenous politics in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

ASEH is my primary academic affiliation and I would be honored to serve the organization as a member of its executive committee. My emphasis as a committee member would be on continuing to strengthen ASEH’s finances and finding ways for environmental historians to connect with other academic disciplines, professional sectors, and policy discussions. I would also focus on mentoring up-and-coming scholars and creating collegial venues for intellectual engagement.  I convene an annual New Haven conference, “New Perspectives in Environmental History,” which showcases global environmental history scholarship by doctoral students at northeastern universities. Over the years, I also have organized workshops to help emerging scholars connect their work to public conversations related to climate change, conservation biology, and environmental justice. I’d like to apply what I’ve learned in these capacities to the work of ASEH.

I would bring to the ASEH executive committee my experience in non-profit management, fundraising, and governance. For nine years, I served as the founding executive director of the non-profit Environmental Leadership Program, which has trained and supported more than 700 talented public leaders from higher education, government, businesses, and non-profit organizations. I presently serve on the Environmental Leadership Program’s Board of Trustees.

Marsha Weisiger:

I am the Julie and Rocky Dixon Chair of U.S. Western History and an associate professor of history and environmental studies at the University of Oregon. Since 1997, when I attended my first ASEH conference as a graduate student, I’ve been an active member of the organization. I served on the Rachel Carson Prize Committee in 2004 and was on the Environmental History editorial board from 2006 until 2013. I’ve presented papers, participated in round-tables and a plenary session, led tours, or commented on panels at nine conferences, and I delivered papers at the World Congresses on Environmental History in Copenhagen and Guimarães, Portugal. ASEH has been significant to my intellectual growth, but more than that, it is a stimulating and welcoming community of colleagues and friends.

My scholarship focuses primarily on the environmental history of the American West. I’ve published two books, Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country, which won the Hal Rothman Book Award and the Norris and Carol Hundley Award, and Land of Plenty: Oklahomans in the Cotton Fields of Arizona, 1933-1942. I’ve also written on wolf reintroduction, gendering environmental history, and environmental justice, including “Happy Cly and the Unhappy History of Uranium Mining on the Navajo Reservation,” which appeared in Environmental History. I am currently conducting research for The River Runs Wild, which explores western rivers to plumb what we mean by “wild,” and Danger River, which examines how men and women have narrated their adventures down the Green and Colorado rivers. And I’ve begun research for a third project, Ecotopia Rising, a collection of essays on the significance of the counterculture to the environmental movement. My work has received two faculty research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and a King Fellowship from the Clements Center for Southwest Studies. I am a senior fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program and serve as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

I have also long been a public historian. I began my professional career as an editor and researcher for an economic consulting firm, for whom I wrote a history of the St. Lucie nuclear power plant in Florida. I worked for many years as a historic preservation advocate, administrator, and architectural historian in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, and this year the much awaited Buildings of Wisconsin, which I co-authored with William Philpott for the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Society of Architectural Historians, will finally see print. Before assuming my present post in Oregon, I was a core member of the public history program at New Mexico State University. And as a scholar, I’ve endeavored to present my work to broader audiences by creating a traveling museum exhibit and working with educators in the public schools. Presently, I’m a member of the ASEH’s Advisory Board on Professional Development and Public Engagement. If elected to the ASEH Council, I will encourage ASEH to expand our efforts to introduce environmental history to a broader audience, including secondary schools.

Nominating Committee:

Vote for TWO

Brian Donahue:

I am Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University, and Environmental Historian at Harvard Forest. My courses typically combine environmental history with contemporary issues of sustainable farming, forestry, and conservation.  Most of them involve field trips, field research, and farm and forest labor.  I chair Environmental Studies at Brandeis.

I have a BA, MA, and PhD from the Brandeis program in the History of American Civilization. While studying at Brandeis I co-founded and for 12 years directed Land’s Sake, a non-profit community and educational farming and forestry program in nearby Weston, Massachusetts.  My family co-owns a farm in central Massachusetts where we raise and sell beef cattle, hogs, pumpkins, and timber. For three years I was Director of Education at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and I sit on the boards of The Land Institute, the Thoreau Farm Trust, the Weston Forest & Trail Association, and the Massachusetts Woodland Institute.

I am author of Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town (Yale University Press, 1999), which was awarded the book prize from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities; and The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord (Yale Press, 2004), which won book prizes from the New England Historical Association, the Agricultural History Society, and the Marsh prize from ASEH. Therefore, I also served on the ASEH Marsh committee.  My latest book is American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture and the Land (Yale Press, 2011), an anthology co-edited with Edwin Hagenstein and Sara Gregg.

Lately I have been looking for a useable future. Working with a wide range of scholars, I have co-authored two widely distributed booklets that envision the possible future of forests and farms in New England: Wildlands and Woodlands: A Vision for the New England Landscape (Harvard Forest, 2010) and A New England Food Vision: Healthy Food for All, Sustainable Farming and Fishing, Thriving Communities (Food Solutions New England, 2014).

Phil Garone:

I am Associate Professor and Director of the History M.A. Program at California State University, Stanislaus. I have been a member of ASEH since 1997 and have presented regularly at ASEH conferences since then. I tremendously enjoy both the camaraderie and intellectual expansiveness of the ASEH—my primary academic home—and that has inspired me to serve the organization. I chaired the Samuel Hays Fellowship Committee for three years from 2010–13 and served on the Alice Hamilton Prize Committee in 2013–14.

My research interests have been centered on the environmental history of California and the American West, although my teaching extends more broadly to global environmental history. I am the author of The Fall and Rise of the Wetlands of California’s Great Central Valley (University of California Press, 2011), which examines the ecological transformation of the state’s heartland, and changing attitudes toward reclamation and conservation statewide and nationally, since the nineteenth century. Other publications include a Forum on Climate Change and Environmental History, which I recently co-organized for Environmental History (2014), and which includes my article on climate change and public lands management. Currently, I am working on a book project on the history and ecology of the terminal lakes (remnants of Ice Age Lake Lahontan and Lake Bonneville) of the Great Basin.

Having attended a liberal arts college as an undergraduate, completed my graduate education at a large research university (University of California at Davis), and now finding myself working at a smaller state university that requires a very substantial amount of teaching, I think I can bring to the committee a range of perspectives that reflect the experiences of a wide cross-section of our membership. I would hope to help recruit members from a variety of institutional backgrounds for committee positions. I would welcome the opportunity to serve ASEH in this new capacity.

Kevin Marsh:

Kevin Marsh is professor and chair of the History Department at Idaho State University, where he has taught since 2003. His research and teaching focus on environmental history in western North America in the twentieth century. Over the past decade, much of his emphasis has been on building interdisciplinary and collaborative programs on digital and environmental history. He helped to create an M.A. program in applied digital history at ISU, which began in 2007. Over the past two years, he has contributed as a researcher and supervisor to a statewide, multi-disciplinary study of urban environments, focusing on the changing impacts on ecosystem services. It is an ideal opportunity to weave environmental history research into a very large, NSF-funded consortium, working with scholars from various biophysical and social sciences. He is also very active with the Idaho Humanities Council, having served on its board of directors for two terms and working as a presenter and consultant on various projects promoting public engagement with the humanities. In all of these endeavors, and in his own writing, Marsh tries to cultivate collaborative connections between different research cultures in a way that directly addresses critical social and environmental issues. This is one of the strengths of environmental history as a field and of the ASEH as its leading organization, and Marsh would emphasize these opportunities as a member of the Nominating Committee.

Professor Marsh is the author of Drawing Lines in the Forest: Creating Wilderness Areas in the Pacific Northwest, published in the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series by the University of Washington Press in 2007. He has published articles on western environmental history in the Western Historical Quarterly, Oregon Historical Quarterly, and several anthologies and encyclopedias. In 2014, he contributed a chapter “Crossing Divides: An Environmental History of Idaho” in the new anthology, Idaho’s Place, published by the University of Washington Press and the Program in Pacific Northwest Studies at the University of Idaho. He is also the editor of the refereed journal Idaho Yesterdays. His research currently focuses on groundwater management in the twentieth century.

Marsh has been involved in the ASEH since the Tucson conference in 1999, having presented papers and posters at multiple conferences since then. He served on the Program Committee and was co-chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2008 ASEH conference in Boise. At that meeting he helped to coordinate the plenary session on climate change and a workshop on using GIS for environmental history, in both cases bringing in contributors and sponsors from outside traditional academic history communities.

Jay Turner:

I am an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Wellesley College.  Although my training and scholarship span environmental history, history of technology, and environmental policy, my academic home has always been ASEH.  I have been a member of ASEH since 2003 and I served on the Rachel Carson prize committee in 2011.

My publications include The Promise of Wilderness:  American Environmental Politics since 1964, which was awarded the Weyerhaeuser Award from the Forest History Society in 2014.  More recently, I have been researching the environmental history of batteries.  That project focuses on the material history of batteries, the social justice issues intertwined with their production and disposal, and new methodological approaches to the history of commodities.  My first paper on batteries, “Following the Pb:  An Envirotechnical Approach to Lead-Acid Batteries in the United States,” has recently been published in Environmental History.

I have always considered ASEH’s collegiality and commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to environmental history great strengths of our community.  I would be excited and honored to serve ASEH as a member of the nominating committee.