Last fall, I designed and taught a course called The Global Environmental History of the Cold War. Throughout the semester, the students and I discussed the many ways that the bipolar conflict and the environment interacted between 1946 and 1989, as well as the various consequences of the Cold War that stretched beyond this temporal boundary. We covered topics ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle and the arms race, to dam building and defoliants associated with Cold War development theory and proxy wars. Read more on the blog.
The members of the American Historical Association have elected Georgetown University Professor John McNeill as the next AHA president, in results announced last week. In his candidate statement, Prof. McNeill declared his readiness to assume the responsibilities of the office: "My years as a vice-president taught me that AHA presidents rarely get to choose their agenda, but must react, sometimes overnight, to unforeseen issues. The AHA staff is experienced and skilled, but given the challenges ahead will benefit from all help AHA presidents can offer. If elected, I will treat the presidency as my full-time job. I owe much to the historical profession. It deserves at least that much in return." Prof. McNeill was formerly president of the American Society for Environmental History from 2011-13, and one of three AHA vice presidents from 2012-15.
Prof. McNeill's monographs include The Mountains of the Mediterranean World (Cambridge University Press, 1992), Something New Under the Sun (Norton, 2000), The Human Web, co-authored with his father and former AHA President William H. McNeill (Norton, 2003), Mosquito Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and most recently The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945, with Peter Engelke (Harvard University Press, 2016).
The Department of History at Georgetown University invites paper proposals from graduate students for a one-day conference on water-related environmental histories. The conference seeks to bring together students who share common research interests in water and the environment. The conference aims to consider water-based histories in the broadest sense, welcoming proposals ranging from irrigation to ocean basins, anywhere in the world and at any time period. Submissions are welcome from students working in any discipline, so long as their work involves change over time, humans, and water. Accepted proposals will be grouped into three moderated panels, each followed by a roundtable discussion between presenters, commentators, and the audience. The conference aims to serve as an intensive training session for participating students to present and receive feedback on their ongoing work (e.g. dissertation chapters and journal articles) from senior scholars and faculty members.
Application Process and Deadlines
Interested students should submit an abstract (up to 300 words) along with a brief curriculum vitae to Matthew Johnson (email@example.com) by June 30, 2016. Successful applicants will be notified by early July and asked to submit a full version of their papers (between ten and thirty pages) for pre-circulation to conference attendees and commentators by September 23.
Georgetown University will cover the costs of hotel accommodation (two nights) for admitted applicants for the duration of the conference. Attendees are expected to cover their own transportation and other travel related expenses. However, admitted students can choose to substitute their accommodation coverage for a $200 reimbursement towards transportation costs.
Photo: Ganges River Delta, September 5, 2008 © National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Georgetown was out in force at this year's conference of the American Society for Environmental History in Chicago. Click here for reflections from Georgetown environmental historians Dagomar Degroot, Robynne Mellor, and Jackson Perry.
This week, several Georgetown scholars and graduates will speak at the annual conference of the American Society for Environmental History (March 29-April 2) in Chicago, Illinois.
Thursday, 30 March, 8:30-10 a.m.
In the first post in a new series on the uses of environmental history, the blog of the Rachel Carson Center has published Prof. John R. McNeill's reflections on the potential usefulness of environmental history beyond the satisfaction of academic curiosity. The series offers adaptations of presentations made at Renmin University, Beijing, for the new Journal for Ecological History of Renmin's Center for Ecological History. "Environmental historians do not need to become more useful and practical. We should do so if we want to," McNeill writes. McNeill also describes his experience offering his knowledge of mosquito-borne diseases in the Caribbean to a U.S. Congressional briefing on the Zika virus in September 2016. Shortly after that briefing, Congress voted to approve $1.1 billion for Zika control efforts. For his answer to his own question, 'Did we actually have any impact?", read his full post on the RCC blog.
Professor Dagomar Degroot was recently interviewed for the Georgetown university homepage. Degroot discusses his forthcoming book on the resilience of the Dutch in the face of premodern climate change, and then explains one of his new projects on the environmental history of conflict and climate change in the high Arctic.
To read the interview, click here.
José Pons, a first-year PhD student in the Department of History, has coauthored a paper in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The paper provides a detailed statistical analysis of waste management across the United States. Click here for more.
The Climate History Network has organized its first event at Georgetown University. At Fischer Colloquium on November 15th, world-renowned climatologist Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and author of more than 200 publications, will give a lecture entitled: "The Past as Prologue: Learning from Climate Changes in Past Centuries."
Mann will review what we know about past climate changes, and what they could tell us about the future. He will review cutting-edge work over the past decade that aims to establish the nature of, and causes for, large-scale climate variability in past centuries. He will explain how scientists have used “proxy” evidence from tree rings, ice cores, lakebed sediments, and other sources alongside computer model simulations to trace this variability. Such research has helped us understand the cause of present-day climate change, and revealed whether it has any precedent in the history of human civilization.
Doors open at 11:30 AM, and the lecture will end at 2:00 PM. To RSVP, click here.
The Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice University recently interviewed Professor J. R. McNeill about the concept of the Anthropocene and his work as part of the Anthropocene Working Group.
To read the interview, click here.