History of Earth and Environmental Sciences

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Upcoming Meetings

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • 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"

  • December 5, 2018

    We will discuss the recent Osiris volume on "Science and Capitalism" focusing especially on these two articles related to the earth and environmental sciences:
    Pawley, Emily. "Feeding Desire: Generative Environments, Meat Markets, and the Management of Sheep Intercourse in Great Britain, 1700-1750," Osiris 33 (2018): 47-62.
    Lucier, Paul. "Comstock Capitalism: The Law, the Lode, and the Science." Osiris 33 (2018): 210-231.
    You are also encouraged to read the introduction by the editors, and you are invited to browse other articles in the volume, some of which are by authors who have worked in the history of earth and environmental sciences.

  • November 7, 2018

    For our Nov. 7 conversation we will discuss selections (the Intro and ch. 3 & 7) from the recently published book, A Primer for Teaching Environmental History: Ten Design Principles (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018), with the co-authors, Emily Wakild and Michelle Berry. Please bring your thoughts and questions about designing and teaching environmental history courses to this discussion.

  • October 3, 2018

    We will discuss selections from two related and recently published books on the history of movement and exchange in the environmental sciences (agricultural science and tropical biology) between the United States and Latin America/Caribbean, by Tore Olsson and Megan Raby:
    Tore Olsson, Agrarian Crossings: Reformers and the Remaking of the U.S. and Mexican Countryside (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), intro and chapter 4 (and 5 if you have extra time)
    Megan Raby, American Tropics: The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017), intro and chapter 1, available at https://uncpress.flexpub.com/preview/american-tropics
    The two authors will open the discussion with comments on each other's books.

Group Conveners

  • frdavis's picture

    Frederick Davis

    Frederick Rowe Davis is Professor and Head 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).


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