Report on the Second Conference of the ESEH, Prague, 3-7 September 2003

The Department of Social Geography and Regional Development of the Charles University in Prague hosted the second international conference of the European Society for Environmental History. The conference venue was the stately early 20th century building of the Faculty of Science. It was tremendously exciting to witness lecture theatres full of environmental historians from a wide range of disciplines and from all over the world. There was a real sense that European environmental history had since the first conference in Prague made enormous progress, something that was reflected in the many new faces at this conference. In comparison to the first conference in Scotland two years earlier, the number of participants had doubled. There was a strong sense that both the humanities and sciences had no trouble communicating, something that was also reflected in the diverse sessions of the conference. The quality and range of the work presented was most impressive and it is to be hoped that there will be many spin-offs from the conference – both future collaborative work and friendships!

But what is a conference without a good social programme where the participants can get to know each other better and continue discussions in a relaxed environment. At the first evening of the conference there was a welcome wine reception in the green atmosphere of the botanical gardens of the University. Friday evening saw the serious business of the ESEH general assembly followed by the conference dinner. The conference was concluded with a farewell party with the theme “dealing with wine”. The conference participants were entertained with a fantastic buffet and traditional Bohemian music and dance.

The ESEH is continuing to go from strength to strength and we are very much looking forward to the third International Conference to be held February 2005 in Florence. More information will be posted on the ESEH website when it becomes available.