Turku Book Award 2017

ESEH : October 6, 2016 13:52

The European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC) are pleased to announce the Turku Book Award in environmental history. The Turku Book Award is intended to identify and encourage innovative and well-written scholarship in the field of environmental history and carries a prize of € 3,000.

The prize will be awarded at the Ninth Biennial ESEH Conference to be held in Zagreb, Croatia, 28 June–2 July 2017.

To be eligible, books must be single-author and have been published in 2015 or 2016. Books may be nominated by authors, publishers, or members of the ESEH. Preference will be given to books that focus on Europe and/or to authors who are affiliated with European institutions. Applicants are asked to submit three copies of the monograph by mail to the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, as well as a digital copy (preferably a PDF file) to assistants[at] If the monograph is written in a language other than English, please include a one-page English summary. If the book’s publication model makes it difficult to provide three hard copies of the monograph (e.g. print on demand, open access) please email carsoncenter[at] for further advice. Monographs must be received by 15 December 2016 31 January 2017.

The committee consists of:

  • Verena Winiwarter (Chair; Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt)
  • Jane Carruthers (University of South Africa)
  • Arielle Helmick (Rachel Carson Center)
  • Stefan Dorondel (Institute for Anthropology Francisc J. Rainer)
  • Ellen Arnold (Ohio Wesleyan University)

A downloadable updated version of this announcement is available here.

Edit: The call’s details have been updated on 25 October 2016 in response to requests from scholars whose monographs will be published in December 2016 or in alternate publication formats.

CfP: Urban Society and Environmental Change in Small and Mid-size Cities, ca. 1700-1900

ESEH : October 5, 2016 17:20

The University of Salzburg is organizing a workshop titled “Urban Society and Environmental Change in Small and Mid-size Cities, ca. 1700-1900″ that will take place in Salzburg on 10-11 March 2017. Further details are available in the full call for papers The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2016

Job: Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities

ESEH : October 5, 2016 17:14

The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor appointment in environmental humanities, broadly interpreted to embrace disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. We are interested in exceptional scholars who take innovative, pioneering approaches to such areas of inquiry as history and the environment; the arts, culture and the environment; environmental ethics and philosophy; environmental theory; environmental justice in a global perspective; the Anthropocene; the nonhuman in the humanities; and varieties of environmental knowledge. The successful candidate’s primary appointment will be in one of the following departments: Anthropology, Earth and Environmental Science, English, German, History, History and Sociology of Science, or Philosophy. Secondary appointments in other departments can be arranged, as appropriate. This will be the first in a cluster of appointments in various aspects of the environmental humanities. The successful candidate should therefore have a strong interest in building such a program and in interacting with scholars from other disciplines whose research lies within the overarching theme of environmental humanities. The successful candidate will teach courses in her or his home department and will participate in the development of curriculum pertinent to the theme of the cluster.

Applications should be submitted on-line and include a curriculum vitae, a research statement that includes the candidate’s perspective on how she or he fits into one of the core departments, an uploaded publication (either a link to a journal publication or some other writing sample), and the contact information for three individuals who will be contacted by the University with instructions on how to submit a letter of recommendation. Review of applications will begin November 3, 2016, and will continue until the position is filled. The School of Arts and Sciences is strongly committed to Penn’s Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence and to creating a more diverse faculty (for more information see the university’s diversity plan). The University of Pennsylvania is an EOE. Minorities/Women/Individuals with disabilities/Protected Veterans are encouraged to apply.

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).

Job: Pre-doctoral researcher in Marburg, Germany

ESEH : September 29, 2016 21:33

The Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe in Marburg, Germany invites, applications for the position of junior researcher (pre-doctoral) within a project on the environmental history of the Free City of Danzig/Gdansk 1918-1939.

Deadline for applications is 10 November 2016. For further details see the full call for papers.

CfP: “Radical Hope” Workshop

ESEH : September 7, 2016 11:29

The Rachel Carson Center is organising a workshop entitled “Radical Hope: Inspiring Sustainability Transformations through Our Past.”

The workshop will be held at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich from to 4 July 2017 and is convened by Carson Alumni Erika Bsumek, John Barry and RCC’s director Christof Mauch.

The deadline for applications is 1 November 2016. Further details are available on the workshop’s webpage.

CfP: Rural History 2017

ESEH : September 7, 2016 11:25

EURHO (the European Rural History Organisation) will hold its third biennial conference, Rural History 2017, in Leuven (Belgium) from 11 to 14 September 2017.

The EURHO conferences aim at promoting the exchange of research questions and results, fostering co-operation between scholars engaged in the history of rural Europe and of its interaction with other parts of the world, from ancient times up to the present.  Consequently the conferences are open to all interesting proposals within a broad range of themes and covering different historical periods and regions.

The deadline for panel submissions is 15 October 2016. That for individual papers is 31 January 2017.

More detailed information is available on the conference website.

Fellowship: Newberry Library

ESEH : September 2, 2016 11:42

The Newberry Library’s long-standing fellowship program provides outstanding scholars with the time, space, and community required to pursue innovative and ground-breaking scholarship. In addition to the Library’s collections, fellows are supported by a collegial interdisciplinary community of researchers, curators, and librarians. An array of scholarly and public programs also contributes to an engaging intellectual environment. Interested individuals who wish to utilize the Newberry’s collection are invited to apply for one of the many fellowship opportunities:

Long-Term Fellowships are available to postdoctoral scholars for continuous residence at the Newberry for periods of 4 to 12 months; the stipend is $4,200 per month. Applicants must hold a PhD by the application deadline in order to be eligible. Long-Term Fellowships are intended to support individual scholarly research and promote serious intellectual exchange through active participation in the fellowship program. The deadline for long-term fellowships is November 15.

Short-Term Fellowships are available to postdoctoral scholars, PhD candidates, and those who hold other terminal degrees. Short-Term Fellowships are generally awarded for 1 to 2 months; unless otherwise noted the stipend is $2,500 per month. These fellowships support individual scholarly research for those who have a specific need for the Newberry’s collection and are mainly restricted to individuals who live and work outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. The deadline for short-term opportunities is December 15.

Many of the Newberry’s fellowship opportunities have specific eligibility requirements; in order to learn more about these requisites, as well as application guidelines, please visit the website. Questions should be addressed to research[at]

Session proposal ESEH 2017: “Peasants and resilience to environmental challenges”

ESEH : September 2, 2016 11:38

Session proposal for the ESEH Conference 2017

Peasants and resilience to environmental challenges, a comparative approach.

Organizers of the session:
Maïka De Keyzer (University of Utrecht)
Eline Van Onacker (University of Antwerp)

Peasant societies and resilience are not often put together. Often peasants are perceived as one of the more vulnerable social groups. Resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks (Walker 2004). In this sense, resilience provides adaptive capacity (Smit and Wandel, 2006) that allows for continuous development, like a dynamic adaptive interplay between sustaining and developing with change (Folke, 2006). The flexibility and dynamism to absorb shocks is most often not attributed to peasant societies, but rather to societies that have capital intensive technologies, well-functioning markets, demographic safety valves through migration and efficient institutions such as social security systems.

Peasants have been defined as primarily small-scale agricultural producers, who control the means of production and who use these means directly to provide for their own subsistence or use. Their productive activity generally is based around the household unit of immediate family and servants. Their activities were integrated into the market economy, but not dependent on markets (Larson, 2006). Throughout history peasants have been portrayed as conservative and rigid, by being risk-aversive and subsistence orientated. Peasants are considered as vulnerable because of two aspects. First of all, their path dependency would prevent the adaptation of new strategies, institutions or technologies during periods of change and thwart a swift response to crises. Secondly, small-scale agricultural producers are supposed to be more vulnerable, because of a lack of wealth, market integration, political power and their dependency on their land.

Nevertheless, peasant societies are currently being re-evaluated. Path dependency, subsistence farming and communal practices did not necessarily hamper an efficient reaction to shocks and changing conditions. In fact, peasant strategies, such as communal organisation, common property, subsistence farming and non-specialised activities are currently explored as alternatives to counter the effects of a globalised, capitalistic and technology-dependent world (vander Ploeg, 2009; Infante Amate -Gonzalez de Molina, 2013).

Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether all types of peasant societies were able to cope with environmental challenges and reach high levels of resilience. Therefore a better understanding of both contemporary as well as historical peasant societies and their struggle with environmental issues is needed. This research session will attempt to do so, by combining research from different disciplines and looking at the longue durée, in order to distinguish some vital strengths and weaknesses of peasant societies in coping with environmental challenges.

We aim to receive papers on modern or pre-modern peasant societies and their level of resilience towards environmental challenges, based on empirical research. Researchers interested in participating in the conference are invited to send their abstracts (c. 200-300 words) before 20 September 2016 to Maïka De Keyzer (M.dekeyzer[at] or Eline Van Onacker (Eline.vanonacker[at]

Session proposal ESEH 2017: “Microscopic views of the world sent around the globe”

ESEH : August 29, 2016 12:01

Session proposal for the ESEH Conference 2017

Microscopic views of the world sent around the globe. Spreading environmental issues through postal stamps

Organizers of the session:
Silke Vetter-Schultheiß (TU Darmstadt)
Christian Rohr (University of Bern)

Postal stamps are a widely underestimated pictorial source for historians, and even more for environmental historians. Those little pieces of paper originally designed just to pay the postage for a letter or a postcard, quickly developed to be a medium to spread political propaganda, to celebrate anniversaries, or to propagate societal concerns. In many cases, stamps are not only tiny little images to decorate a letter or to make collectors happy, but they reflect general issues in society. Stamps and the images they display are circulated millions of times. In an unapparent way
they help to generate and convey modern views of the world (Josef Fürnkäs).
In this sense, environmental protection as a topic appeared on stamps in the 1950s and 1960s, whereas concerns about environmental pollution, clean mobility, and ending resources became more frequent in the 1970s and 1980s. During the last 25 years, also climate change has been chosen as a topic for stamps. Beautiful landscapes are frequently shown on stamps as well, because they suggest being part of a good life: “landscape beauty matters” (Angelika Krebs). Seeing the world through the microscopic lens of stamps also leads to contact or conflict zones. This includes debates within one nation as well as between different states. Choosing one topic and circulating it through these tiny receipts means to run these ideas through different groups of interest. They illustrate the values of a nation.

Possible topics for the papers of the session might be, for instance:

  • landscape and animal protection
  • environmental pollution and climate change
  • resource saving (electric energy, water, wood)
  • environment and tourism
  • environment and mobility
  • global and local environmental initiatives (e.g. international cooperation, global treaties, renowned environmentalists)
  • human views at the space / views of the earth from outer space

Papers may concentrate on the stamps of one country or compare different countries. They may also ask for the discussion process before and after issuing the stamps. They could also direct more generally to the iconic turn in environmental history with a focus on postal stamps. The session refers to the overall topic of the conference by pointing out how “semi-official” perceptions of environmental issues by countries have been exchanged both with the people inside the country and with any other countries. It will show how state officials wanted the national environment to be seen at home and abroad, but also how international and global environmental initiatives are mirrored in images of microscopic scale, but with an immense number of copies. It will help to introduce a new source for environmental history and to develop the iconic turn for environmental studies.

Please send your submission (title, abstract of 200-300 words, information on your affiliation, short CV) both to Silke Vetter-Schultheiß (vetter-schultheiss[at] and Christian Rohr (christian.rohr[at] not later than 26 September, 2016. The submissions will be peer
reviewed by a scientific programming committee.

CfP: Chernobyl – Turning Point or Catalyst?

ESEH : June 23, 2016 14:20

The Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, the HoNESt Project, and the Center for Metropolitan Studies are organising a conference on Chernobyl – Turning Point or Catalyst? Changing Practices, Structures and Perceptions in Environmental Policy and Politics (1970s-1990s). The conference will take place 2-3 December 2016 in Berlin.

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2016. Further details are available in the attached full call for papers.

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