Working Groups

Earth and Environmental Sciences

The Earth and Environmental Sciences Working Group explores the interactions between humans and their environments from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives in the humanities and social sciences. Meetings are held monthly to discuss a colleague’s work in progress or to discuss readings that are of particular interest to participants.

Meetings are usually held at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia from 6:00 to 7:30 on first Wednesdays. Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.

To join this working group, click "Request group membership" at right. You will receive instructions for participating online or in person.


  • frdavis's picture

    Frederick Davis

    Frederick Rowe Davis is Professor of History and the R. Mark Lubbers Chair in the History of Science in the Department of History at Purdue University. His research interests lie at the intersection of the history of earth and environmental sciences, environmental health, and environmental history. He recently published Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology (Yale 2014).


  • MarkHersey's picture

    Mark Hersey

    Mark Hersey is Associate Professor of History at Mississippi State University and co-editor of Environmental History. His research interests lie in the fields of environmental, rural, and agricultural history, with a particular emphasis on the American South, especially Alabama and Mississippi. He is the author of My Work Is That Of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver.


  • jvetter's picture

    Jeremy Vetter

    Jeremy Vetter is Associate Professor of History at the University of Arizona. His research is at the intersection of environmental history and the history of science and technology in the American West. He is the author of Field Life: Science in the American West during the Railroad Era (Pittsburgh, 2016).


Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • April 28, 2020

    We will discuss a chapter in progress by Aaron Thomas of Mississippi State University drawn from his dissertation titled "Controlling Christmas: An Environmental History of Natural and Artificial Christmas Trees." 

  • March 31, 2020

    We will discuss a chapter in progress by Claire Perrott (University of Arizona):
    "The Cultural and Environmental History of Parícutin in Mexico: Volcano as  Science, 1943-1952"

  • February 5, 2020

    We will discuss an article in progress by Anna Graber (University of Minnesota), "Underground Evangelizing: Theodicy and Orthodoxy in Mikhail Lomonosov's Theory of Earth."

  • December 4, 2019

    We will discuss a chapter in progress by Mary Richie McGuire (Virginia Tech), "'Reconstructing the Past, Constructing the Present': Doing Bioconstitutional History," which is from her project “Translating Natural Knowledge in the Age of Revolution: Tobacco, Science, and the Rights of Man and Nature in the Art of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1795 to 1820."

  • November 6, 2019

    We will discuss selections from two related and recently published books:
    Pablo Gomez, The Experiential Carribean: Creating Knowledge and Healing in the Early Modern Atlantic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017), introduction and chapter 5.
    Cameron Strang, Frontiers of Science: Imperialism and Natural Knowledge in the Gulf South Borderlands, 1500-1850 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018), introduction and chapter 4.
    The two authors will open the discussion with comments on each other's books.

  • October 2, 2019

    We will discuss a chapter in progress by Hadeel Assali (Columbia University), "Moses Everywhere: Geology and Southern Palestine."

  • May 1, 2019

    We will discuss selections from two related and recently published books on the history of scale in the environmental sciences, by Deborah Coen and Perrin Selcer:
    Deborah Coen, Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), introduction and chapter 3
    Perrin Selcer, The Postwar Origins of the Global Environment: How the United Nations Built Spaceship Earth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018), introduction and chapter 4
    The two authors will open the discussion with comments on each other's books.

  • April 3, 2019

    We will discuss the recently published collection, A Living Past: Environmental Histories of Modern Latin America (Berghahn, 2018), edited by John Soluri, Claudia Leal, and Jose Augusto Padua. In particular, we will discuss chapter 7, by Stuart McCook, "Prodigality and Sustainability: The Environmental Sciences and the Quest for Development" along with the volume's introduction (by the editors) and epilogue by J.R. McNeill.
    For our conversation, we will be joined by Stuart McCook and John Soluri.

  • March 6, 2019

    We will discuss selections from the recent special thematic issue of the British Journal for the History of Science on "Science and Islands in Indo-Pacific Worlds" (vol. 51, no. 4, 2018), which includes several articles on the earth and environmental sciences. 
    Two contributors to that issue, Genie Yoo and Geoff Bil, will join us. The reading selection includes the introduction by editors Sebestian Kroupa, Stephanie Mawson, and Dorit Brixius; Genie's paper ("Wars and wonders: the inter-island information networks of Georg Everhard Rumphius"); and Geoff's paper ("Imperial vernacular: phytonymy, philology and disciplinarity in the Indo-Pacific, 1800–1900"). 

  • February 6, 2019

    We will discuss a work in progress by Alexandra Hui, "Listening to Extinction: The Silences of Species at the End of the Holocene"

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