Boston Seminar on Environmental History

Exhibition

The Furniture of Isaac Vose & Thomas Seymour, 1815 to 1825

Open 11 May to 14 September 2018 Details

The Boston Seminar on Environmental History is an occasion for scholars as well as interested members of the public to discuss aspects of American environmental history from prehistory to the present day. Presenters come from a variety of disciplines including history, urban planning, and environmental management.

 

Most seminar meetings revolve around the discussion of a pre-circulated paper. Sessions open with remarks from the essayist and an assigned commentator, after which the discussion is opened to the floor. After each session, the Society serves a light buffet supper.

 

Attendance is free and open to everyone. Subscribers who remit $25 for the year will receive early online access to any pre-circulated materials. Subscriptions also underwrite the cost of the series. Pre-circulated materials will be available to non-subscribers who have RSVP’d for a session on the Monday prior to the program. Subscribe to this seminar series and you will receive access to the seminar papers for FOUR series: the Boston Seminar on African American History, the Boston-Area Seminar on Early American History, the Boston Seminar on Environmental History, and the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture. We recognize that topics frequently resonate across these four fields; now, mix and match the seminars that you attend! 

Join us for an in-depth exploration of the latest scholarship. Subscribe

October

Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native American Environmental History 9 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Lisa Brooks, Amherst College; Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College; Ashley Smith, Hampshire College; Thomas Wickman, Trinity College Moderator: Cedric Woods, Institute for New England Native American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston This panel will explore the intersections of environmental history and indigenous studies—the ...

This panel will explore the intersections of environmental history and indigenous studies—the questions that each field engenders in the other, as well as the perspectives that native and non-native scholars bring to their research as they traverse both fields. Questions of race, gender, geography, and sources enliven this growing body of scholarship. Join us for a stimulating and wide-ranging conversation on these and other topics.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
November
Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry 13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Caroline Grego, Colorado University—Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell This chapter examines the changes to black labor in rice cultivation, the phosphate industry, and ...

This chapter examines the changes to black labor in rice cultivation, the phosphate industry, and subsistence farming on the South Carolina Sea Islands in the years after the devastating Great Sea Island Storm of 1893. It draws attention to how the laborer experienced the work, collapsing categories drawn around African American life and labor, the Old South and the New, rice and phosphate, dependency and free labor.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
December
Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur ...

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
January
Environmental History Seminar Camp Benson and the “GAR Camps”: Recreational Landscapes of Civil War Memory in Maine, 1886-1910 15 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required C. Ian Stevenson, Boston University Comment: Ian Delahanty, Springfield College This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian ...

This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian audience: Camp Benson, where several Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) posts built a campground, and at the “GAR Camps” where a single veteran proprietor built rental cottages. The chapter asks why postwar civilians would want to mimic the veteran desire to associate healthful destinations with wartime memory. How do these outdoor landscapes explain the nation’s healing process from the Civil War?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
February
Environmental History Seminar Amputated from the Land: Black Refugees from America and the Neglected Voices of Environmental History 12 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Bryon Williams, Academy at Penguin Hall Comment: John Stauffer, Harvard University This paper focuses on dictated narratives from the 1840s and ‘50s, accounts delivered by ...

This paper focuses on dictated narratives from the 1840s and ‘50s, accounts delivered by blacks who fled the U.S. to settle in the wilds of Ontario. These first-person accounts of environmental encounter and expertise are unrivaled in depth, breadth, and detail among black ecological writing of any era. New environmental histories need such accounts that not only counter dominant American environmental and political myths, but offer black-lived stories of environmental belonging and agency.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
March
Environmental History Seminar Biological Exchange in the Pacific World in the Age of Industrial Sugarcane Plantations 12 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Lawrence Kessler, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the ...

This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the Pacific World. This new biological exchange served the political and economic interests of the plantation owners and their allies. Planters, however, were unable to control the biological exchange processes they created. This paper thus argues that through the creation of new patterns of biological exchange, sugarcane plantations induced ecological changes throughout the Pacific World.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
April
Environmental History Seminar Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice in Boston 9 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Michael Brennan, University of Maine Comment: Daniel Faber, Northeastern University When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core ...

When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core tenets of owning land, developing the built environment, and sustaining existing social institutions had long been a practice for Boston’s minorities. To this end, members of Roxbury’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) worked to create an urban village in Dudley Square. The story of the DSNI demonstrates the utility of examining a topic in both a social and environmental sense.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
More events
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native American Environmental History Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. 9 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Lisa Brooks, Amherst College; Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College; Ashley Smith, Hampshire College; Thomas Wickman, Trinity College Moderator: Cedric Woods, Institute for New England Native American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston

This panel will explore the intersections of environmental history and indigenous studies—the questions that each field engenders in the other, as well as the perspectives that native and non-native scholars bring to their research as they traverse both fields. Questions of race, gender, geography, and sources enliven this growing body of scholarship. Join us for a stimulating and wide-ranging conversation on these and other topics.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. 13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Caroline Grego, Colorado University—Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell

This chapter examines the changes to black labor in rice cultivation, the phosphate industry, and subsistence farming on the South Carolina Sea Islands in the years after the devastating Great Sea Island Storm of 1893. It draws attention to how the laborer experienced the work, collapsing categories drawn around African American life and labor, the Old South and the New, rice and phosphate, dependency and free labor.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Camp Benson and the “GAR Camps”: Recreational Landscapes of Civil War Memory in Maine, 1886-1910 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. 15 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM C. Ian Stevenson, Boston University Comment: Ian Delahanty, Springfield College

This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian audience: Camp Benson, where several Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) posts built a campground, and at the “GAR Camps” where a single veteran proprietor built rental cottages. The chapter asks why postwar civilians would want to mimic the veteran desire to associate healthful destinations with wartime memory. How do these outdoor landscapes explain the nation’s healing process from the Civil War?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Amputated from the Land: Black Refugees from America and the Neglected Voices of Environmental History Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. 12 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Bryon Williams, Academy at Penguin Hall Comment: John Stauffer, Harvard University

This paper focuses on dictated narratives from the 1840s and ‘50s, accounts delivered by blacks who fled the U.S. to settle in the wilds of Ontario. These first-person accounts of environmental encounter and expertise are unrivaled in depth, breadth, and detail among black ecological writing of any era. New environmental histories need such accounts that not only counter dominant American environmental and political myths, but offer black-lived stories of environmental belonging and agency.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Biological Exchange in the Pacific World in the Age of Industrial Sugarcane Plantations Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. 12 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Lawrence Kessler, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut

This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the Pacific World. This new biological exchange served the political and economic interests of the plantation owners and their allies. Planters, however, were unable to control the biological exchange processes they created. This paper thus argues that through the creation of new patterns of biological exchange, sugarcane plantations induced ecological changes throughout the Pacific World.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice in Boston Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. 9 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Michael Brennan, University of Maine Comment: Daniel Faber, Northeastern University

When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core tenets of owning land, developing the built environment, and sustaining existing social institutions had long been a practice for Boston’s minorities. To this end, members of Roxbury’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) worked to create an urban village in Dudley Square. The story of the DSNI demonstrates the utility of examining a topic in both a social and environmental sense.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close