History of 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 the final Tuesday of the month. Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.

 

Upcoming Meetings

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Consortium Respectful Behavior Policy

Participants at Consortium activities will treat each other with respect and consideration to create a collegial, inclusive, and professional environment that is free from any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Participants will avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, educational background, or any other characteristic protected by law. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, and stalking.

Participants may send reports or concerns about violations of this policy to conduct@chstm.org.

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2021 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm EST

    TBA


  • Tuesday, February 23, 2021 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm EST

    TBA


  • Tuesday, March 30, 2021 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm EDT

    TBA


  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm EDT

    TBA



Past Meetings

  • November 24, 2020

    We will discuss selections from two related and recently published books in the history of food, agriculture, environment, and science:
     
    Benjamin R. Cohen, Pure Adulteration: Cheating on Nature in the Age of Manufactured Food (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020), prologue and chapter 4.
     
    Stuart McCook, Coffee Is Not Forever: A Global History of the Coffee Leaf Rust (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2019), introduction and chapter 5.
     
    The two authors will open the discussion with comments on each other's books.

  • October 27, 2020

    We will discuss a new article that was awarded the Rainger prize (for early career scholarship in the earth and environmental sciences) at the recent History of Science Society virtual meeting:
     
    Emily M. Kern, "Archaeology Enters the 'Atomic Age': A Short History of Radiocarbon, 1946-1960," British Journal for the History of Science 53, no. 2 (June 2020).
     
    During our gathering, we will also hold the annual meeting of the Earth and Environment Forum of the History of Science Society, which has the same topical purview as this working group.

  • September 29, 2020

    Group Building and Extended Introductions. For our opening meeting of this academic year, instead of a typical workshop or presentation, we will try something new, to help everyone become better acquainted with one another: we invite all participants who attend to give an extended introduction of themselves along with a brief (1-2 minute) elevator pitch of a research project they are working on, followed by a question or two after each one from someone else who is there.

  • 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.

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).

     

245 Members