volume 29, issue 3
from lisa mighetto
As my retirement date of September 30 is fast
approaching (this is my final issue as editor of
I want to thank ASEH's members for their exceptional collegiality and
dedication over the years. You have amazed and inspired me and I am so
very fortunate to have worked with you. This is my farewell to the
position of Executive Director but not to the Society. I look forward
to participating as a member in watching ASEH continue to grow and
Thank You, ASEH
Meet David Spatz, ASEH's new executive director,
pictured here reviewing ASEH's archives at the National Conservation
Training Center. He can be reached at email@example.com.
update on 2019 conference
If you submitted a proposal to present at our 2019
conference - thank
you! Our program committee will send acceptance and
rejection notices in early October.
Our 2019 conference will include the following events:
- 100 sessions
- plenary session, lightning
talks, and thesis slam
- Graeme Wynn's presidential
address "Framing an Ecology of Hope"
- 5 receptions, where you can
meet friends and colleagues
- exhibit area with 50
display tables, where you can talk to editors and view the latest
scholarship in environmental history
- field trips on Friday
afternoon and Sunday, including opportunities to explore the Byrd
Polar Research Center and the Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie
columbus conference information
For information on the
conference schedule, hotel reservations, and more, click here.
A limited number of travel grants are available for
students and low-income scholars presenting at our 2019 conference.
Please note that membership in ASEH is required for applying. Click
here for more information. Deadline: November 16, 2018.
a poster at the 2019 conference
If you are interested in presenting a poster at the
conference in Columbus, send your name, affiliation, and poster title
by November 16, 2018. Click
here for more information on the posters.
poster session at ASEH's 2017 conference in Chicago.
April 10-13, 2019
EH World Congress
July 23-26, 2019
hosting a future ASEH conference? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
aseh equity fellowships
ASEH has launched new fellowships to encourage and
support underrepresented students. Please help us circulate the
information on the equity graduate
student fellowship. Deadline:
November 16, 2018.
Environmental History World Congress
Join the global community of
scholars at the world congress of environmental history in beautiful
Florianopolis, Brazil July 22-26, 2019. We welcome colleagues from
every continent for this event. Click here
to submit a proposal. Deadline:
The October issue of Environmental
History includes articles on river historiography, urban
waters and the development of Vienna, the battle against the TVA in
North Carolina, and more. Click here for
in columbus in 2019!
memoriam: david lowenthal
by Laura Alice Watt, Sonoma State University
David Lowenthal, a historical geographer with enormous
influence on both landscape and heritage studies, passed away in his
sleep at home in London on September 15, 2018 at the age of 95. His
remarkable career spanned from doing his masters-level work with Carl
Sauer at UC Berkeley in 1950, and then his PhD on George Perkins Marsh
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, through decades as a Professor
at the University College London, while maintaining strong connections
with the Geography program at UC Berkeley. His book The Past is a Foreign
Country truly reshaped worldwide conceptions of
heritage and people's relationships with the past; in 2015, already in
his 90s, Lowenthal published a completely revised and re-thought
version of the book, which earned him a British Academy Medal.
had a long history of interaction with the ASEH, giving
a keynote speech at the 2001 Durham, NC, meeting, and another at our
recent conference in San Francisco in 2014. I was lucky enough to get
to know David over the past four or five years, after asking him to
write a Foreword for my book, The
Paradox of Preservation, which he graciously did-and I am
fairly certain I'll never meet anyone like him again. Warm, incredibly
witty, and able to speak intelligently on nearly any topic imaginable,
David was a great conversationist, an inspirational scholar and mentor,
and a kind and thoughtful friend. It was a delight to help celebrate
his 95th birthday this past April with him and Mary Alice and a
houseful of geographers at their home in North Berkeley, and also to chat
with him at the Festschrift Symposium celebrating Carolyn Merchant's
career a month later. His insight will be sorely missed, although we
can also look forward to his last book, Quest for the Unity of Knowledge, which
will be published by Routledge later this year.
above: David Lowenthal and Laura Watt.
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 7, 2018.
courtesy Experience Columbus, Lisa Mighetto, and Laura Watt
president's column: transitions
Clio may be the muse of History, but
sometimes I think Heraclitus should occupy that pedestal. I
entertain this notion aware of the unfortunate inferences that
might be drawn from descriptions of him as "The Obscure,"
and his reputation as the "weeping philosopher." And I do
so not simply because his work - "a continuous treatise On
Nature" - might have paved an early path for environmental
history. Rather, I think of Heraclitus in this way because philosophers
much more learned than I have concluded that the seemingly
incoherent qualities of his fragmentary writings aimed "to
produce readers who have a proper grasp of the world and their
place in it." Further these scholars suggest that Heraclitus
was critical of those who poured great effort into collecting
information but did little of the hard work necessary to understand
its meaning. These ideas surely provide useful touchstones for all
who labor in the garden of the humanities.
More than this, Heraclitus gave us a
handful of aphorisms (variously rendered), emphasizing the ubiquity
of change: "everything flows"; "life is flux";
"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's
not the same river and he's not the same man"; "The Only
Thing That Is Constant Is Change." Change is the essence of
history, of course, and so we might justly conclude that Heraclitus
framed the historians' charter, especially as those who have pored
over these words find them both subtle and profound. Yes, they mark
the pervasiveness of change, but they also point up the fact that
some things stay the same only by changing.
I have found
myself musing (pun entirely intentional) about such things lately.
Change has not been the only constant of the last several months,
but it has certainly carved its ringing grooves through ASEH and my
experience. Our society is in transition. As I write, and as these
words reach your screens, Lisa Mighetto is in her last days as
Executive Director of ASEH. We marked her retirement, publically
and in advance, with a celebration of her enormous contributions to
the affairs and well-being of the Society at our annual meeting in
Riverside. Part of that occasion was the presentation, to Lisa, of
a collection of warm commendations of her work, friendship, and
overall invaluable contributions to ASEH from two dozen colleagues
who worked with her over the years. This tribute
has been posted on ASEH's website. It spans the twenty years of
Lisa's time as secretary and then as Executive Director - half the
lifetime of the society; the Lisacene? We know when this began, but
I am considering the formation of a new committee, chaired by John
McNeill, to assemble the evidence necessary to certify the Lisacene
as epochal. Thank you Lisa. You will be missed.
David Spatz, who has been working
alongside Lisa the last two months learning the many ropes that end
on the ED's desk, will assume "sole charge" on 1 October.
Welcome David. We recognize that there is much for you to learn,
but we are confident that the change you represent will help lead
us forward. We won't place you on that pedestal with
Heraclitus or Clio - just yet. Nor do we expect or want ASEH
to stay the same as you assume your new role. Indeed, there are
many ways in which the Society needs to change. Many of these are
documented in the new Strategic Plan, which is currently before the
Developed and refined through a protracted process, it will - if
approved by the EC - be posted on the website early in
October. I encourage all members to read it. We have sought to
distil meaning from, and find appropriate direction amid, the
shifting social, cultural, economic, technological, and other flows
that bear in upon organizations such as ours at this time. Life is
flux. Particularly acute, because it requires our concerted
individual and collective attention, is the need to ensure that
people of all ethnicities, nationalities, genders, and sexual
orientations feel entirely welcome, respected and included within
the orbit of ASEH activities. We hope that the Strategic Plan
provides each of you, as members of ASEH, with a sharpened sense of
the world in which the society operates, even as it encourages you
to think about your place in it.
Our journal Environmental History is also in
transition, as new editors Mark Hersey and Stephen Brain, both of
Mississippi State University work in tandem with Lisa Brady toward
the assumption of full editorial control on 1 January 2019. We will
mark Lisa B's stellar work with the journal at a later date. Many
things about the journal will remain the same for the foreseeable
future: its name, its broad format, its publication by OUP, and so
on. But as issue follows issue the editors will realize, as all
journal editors probably have, the wisdom of Heraclitus's aphorism
about the river. Constant as we hope the flow of manuscript
submissions will be, it will never be the same this year as it was
last, and our editors will find themselves "different
men" as the result of their labours (with the aid of
Heraclitus's touchstones) on our behalf. Thank you in anticipation.
We look forward to the same ever-changing but constantly stimulating
assemblage of material that has distinguished our major publication
for many years.
On a more personal note, I have been prompted to
reflect on change by my own transition. With "retirement"
has come the need to vacate my university office. I have spent
tranches of time contemplating, and (painfully, slowly)
"downsizing." There is no room at home for the
fifty-year accumulation of books in my office, and no earthly home
(other than the dump) for similarly long runs of journals. And file
drawers full of course and research notes, reprints, offprints, and
photocopies!!! Even I have no need of most of these in the age of
the digital library. But jettisoning, gifting, and selling (for a
token) much of this material has been tough. The past keeps surfacing:
in the form of inscriptions on offprints from luminaries of the
discipline who are no longer with us; in memories of the times and
places where books were bought and read; as recollections of
students past; in the realization that a particular sheaf of files
and notes was an article-in-embryo that will never be realized.
Time bears in as I disassemble my intellectual life. But that is
the way of things. New prospects, new challenges, new enthusiasms,
arise simultaneously. "All things pass and nothing
stays" said Plato channelling Heraclitus. But I remember that
rivers, societies, organizations, people, and human minds are
remarkable in their capacity to remain what they are by changing
what they contain and how they exist in the world.
-Graeme Wynn, ASEH President
profession: environmental history and engaging the broader
by Mary E. Mendoza, Penn State University
Public engagement matters and, as historians, we have
a lot to offer. With that in mind and given the current political
climate, I have been making a point to engage with the public in
ways that I never have before and this is a brief note to encourage
others to do the same. It's not as difficult as you might think,
and you don't necessarily have to have a media contact to do it.
There are several blogs out there looking for someone with
expertise in environmental history to write for them and, the new Washington Post
column Made by History is a column run
by historians, for historians. This summer, a number of our
colleagues published in that column as headlines about the border,
the administration, women's rights, and many other topics dominated
the news. I wrote a piece, complimentary to my article in Environmental History
about the history of border fences at the
U.S.-Mexico divide. I also co-authored a piece about the history of
immigration law as it pertains to definition of a public charge.
Given the ways in which many issues of the day are
deeply entangled with environmental history, it makes sense for us
to use our expertise to engage the broader public. The process is
not nearly as daunting as it might seem. All you have to do is send
an email to the venue of your choice, pitch an idea, and then, if
they go for it, you send a draft which they will edit and
eventually print. You can find the contact information for most
blogs on the about or contact tabs of the website and for the
"Made by History" column all you have to do is email the
editors at the address listed on the website.
Engaging with the public not only provides context for
folks who might not otherwise have that information, it also proves
that studying history and the humanities has value. In this time of
political divisiveness and disregard for accurate information, we
have a lot of power. Let's get out there and use it.
Mary E. Mendoza is an assistant professor of history
and Latinx studies at Penn State University, the David J. Weber
Fellow for the study of southwestern America at Southern Methodist
University, and a Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar for the Woodrow
a conversation about
getting the most out of the aseh conference
by Sarah Elkind, San Diego State University and Nancy
Jacobs, Brown University
Nancy Jacobs: So Sarah. Lisa Mighetto has asked
us to think about how to get the most out of a conference
experience. You and I have been hanging out at ASEH and other
conferences for a long time now. We began as PhD candidates and now
are environmental history mavens! You, especially, have been
committed to attending the ASEH. I'd like to know how you see the
changes in the organization over the past 25 years.
Sarah Elkind: The conference and organization are so
much bigger now that they both seem a bit more formal. If I were
new to environmental history, I think I'd feel more intimidated
than I did when I started attending. But even though a lot of us
are at the conference to see old friends, I think many in the
organization value the welcoming accessibility of the smaller
conferences, and are trying to keep that spirit alive. I try to
talk to people I don't know at the conference, for example, and
introduce them to people they want to meet. Do you see the
conference as a place to build on old networks or to meet new
N: Well both, but networks need tending if they are
going to circulate ideas and introductions efficiently and
A few years back some of us decided that it would
make sense to cultivate connections between women in the ASEH, to
make their scholarship more visible and to create meaningful
relationships. So we formed Women's Environmental History Network
(WEHN) in 2015-6. At our receptions during the annual meeting, we
lay value on introducing people and making connections. We wanted
an event where it was expected and easy to strike up a conversation
with someone you didn't know. The reception features also tables
staffed by mavens (as we call ourselves) with expertise on a
specific theme because we thought this would help people start a
conversation with new acquaintances. WEHN mavens also participate
in the ASEH mentoring program. Now that we've found our feet, WEHN
is committed to providing a space for ASEH members to be
intentional about connecting with each other and to supporting the
organization's diversity initiatives. So everybody should come to
our receptions! Sarah, do you have any other wisdom to share?
S: I'd also love to see the mentoring and networking
reception grow, and to see the spirit of the thing the tone for the
conference. My other advice is that people just act like ASEH is a
welcoming place - because I think it is and because if we all talk
to people we don't know, it'll be a welcoming place: ask questions
during and after sessions, introduce yourself to new people. Have a
meal or a coffee with the rest of your panel, or with someone
you've met during a session. Volunteer to serve on an ASEH
committee. And if you want to get on the program, use H-Environment
to put together a panel proposal, as it is much easier to get on
the program with a panel than with a single paper.
Editor's note: Click here
for information on ASEH's mentoring program. Email ASEH's director
at email@example.com if you are interested in serving on
and Jay Turner
recently launched a teaching and research website focused on
conservatives and the environment - www.the-republican-reversal.com.
It is a collection of primary documents, discussion questions, and
a timeline that allows students to investigate how the Republican
Party's position on environmental issues has changed since the
1970s. They hope it will be useful for putting together lectures,
discussions, and student research papers. It serves as an
accompaniment to their forthcoming book, The
Republican Reversal: Conservatives and the Environment from Nixon
to Trump, which will be released in mid-October.
Mary E. Mendoza
has accepted a new position as an Assistant Professor of History
and Latinx Studies at Penn State University. This year, she is also
the David J. Weber Fellow at the Clements Center for Southwest
Studies and a Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar for the Woodrow Wilson
Final Notice - ASEH
ASEH will offer the following awards in 2019. Click on
the links for application requirements - all submissions are due on
November 16, 2018.
here for information on the George Perkins Marsh Prize for best
book in environmental history
here for information on the Alice Hamilton Prize for best
article outside journal Environmental
here for information on the Rachel Carson Prize for best
dissertation in environmental history
Please note that authors published in our journal Environmental History
will automatically be considered for the Leopold-Hidy Prize for
best article; no need to submit anything.
Service and Achievement
ASEH is accepting nominations for the Distinguished
Scholar Award, Distinguished Service Award, and Public Outreach
Career Award. Click here
for a link to the brief form to submit for nomination (scroll
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. Funding is for 2018.
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 to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 16, 2018.
Final Notice - ASEH Hal
Rothman Fellowship Applications
Students enrolled in any Ph.D. program worldwide are
eligible to apply. Funding is for 2018.
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 November 16, 2018.
Several years ago ASEH launched a new fellowship to
encourage and support underrepresented students. Please help us
circulate the information on the equity
graduate student fellowship. Deadline: November 16, 2018.
ASEH has partnered with the Newberry Library in
Chicago to offer an annual research fellowship. Membership in ASEH
required. Click here for
more info. Deadline
for application: December 15, 2018.
Third World Congress of
October 1, 2018 is
the deadline for proposals for the
world congress in Brazil July 2019. Click
here for more information.
Boston Seminar on
here for information on this series, which is now underway.
call for nominations
for ASEH executive committee and other positions
ASEH's Nominating Committee (Brian Black, Jay Turner,
Liza Piper, and Kendra Smith-Howard) encourages nominations from
ASEH members for elected leadership positions in ASEH. Click
here for more information. Deadline: October 5, 2018.
students: events in columbus
Slam: Call for Participants
ASEH's conference in Columbus will include a
Three-Minute Thesis Slam - a very popular event at past meetings.
There will be prizes for the top three finishers as determined by a
panel of judges.
If you are interested, please contact Melissa
Wiedenfeld, program committee chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first
fifteen Ph.D. students to contact Dr. Wiedenfeld will be included
in the session. Melissa will compile a back-up list in case anyone
drops out of the competition.
First developed in Australia, Three Minute Thesis
competitions help doctoral candidates hone academic, presentation,
and research communication skills. Students have three minutes to
present compelling orations on their dissertation topics and their
significance to an intelligent but nonspecialist audience. Each
participant is permitted a single Powerpoint slide. Deadline for applying:
December 14, 2018.
ASEH has a mentoring program to assist students and
new professionals with career advice, help with conference
participation, and more. If you are interested in participating, click here.
aseh news is a publication of the
American Society for Environmental History
University of British Columbia, President
Boston College, Vice President/President Elect
Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Treasurer
Sarah Elkind, San Diego State University, Secretary
Historical Research Associates, Inc.-Missoula
Western Michigan University
University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa
Rachel Carson Center-Munich
Cindy Ott, University of Delaware
Valencius, Boston University
Camden Burd, University
of Rochester, President of Grad Student Caucus
Ex Officio, Past Presidents:
University of Oklahoma
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ex Officio, Editor, Environmental History:
Lisa Brady, Boise State University
Outgoing Executive Director and Editor, aseh
Lisa Mighetto, University of Washington-Tacoma
Director and new Editor, aseh news:
David Spatz, University of Illinois-Chicago