Environmental History Seminar

The Environmental History Seminar at the MHS 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. Each session is followed by a reception with light refreshments.

 

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 day prior to the program. Subscribe to this seminar series and you will receive access to the seminar papers for SIX series: the Boston Seminar on African American History, the Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar, the Boston Seminar on Environmental History, the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality, the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture, and our new Seminar on Digital History. We recognize that topics frequently resonate across these four fields; now, mix and match the seminars that you attend!

 

Join the mailing list today by emailing seminars@masshist.org.

 

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

November 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar ‘Not to Us Chained’: Nature and the Radicalism of Sacco and Vanzetti 10 November 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Chad Montrie, UMass Lowell; Federico Paolini, Università della Campania L. Vanvitelli Comment: Avi Chomsky, Salem State University This paper brings a fresh perspective to the study of modern American environmental thought as well ...

This paper brings a fresh perspective to the study of modern American environmental thought as well as modern American radicalism by exploring the significance of nature in the lives and writing of anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, following a narrative arc from their formative years in different parts of the Italian countryside to their final years as dedicated revolutionaries confined to Massachusetts prisons.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
January 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EHS_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar Water Over the Dam: The Destruction of Colonial New England's River Fisheries 12 January 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program. Zachary Bennett, Norwich University Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut River restoration projects across North America are dismantling dams to restore the legendary fish ...

River restoration projects across North America are dismantling dams to restore the legendary fish runs of the past. People incorrectly point to the industrial revolution as the culprit. This paper will show that fish disappeared from most of southern New England’s rivers one hundred years before that. The destruction of New England’s fish runs triggered a cascade of economic and environmental changes that shaped legal and political culture during the Revolution and early republic.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

 

More
March 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EHS_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs 9 March 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University As we begin to consider climate as an everyday problem, it's valuable to see how people did that in ...

As we begin to consider climate as an everyday problem, it's valuable to see how people did that in the past. With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin is compiling and analyzing a database of manuscript notes about weather in early American almanacs,1646-1821, out of 10,578 almanacs from nine different archives or libraries. Her talk focuses on how people recorded the weather in numbers (including degrees Fahrenheit) and in words, ranging from “dull” to “elegant!” These notations are significant as records of a period of climate change, the Little Ice Age, also as records of how people made sense of and coped with that climatic disruption.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
April 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EHS_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar Kaleidoscope Metropolis: Autonomy and Integration in the Fractured City 13 April 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Author: Garrett Nelson, Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center Comment: Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University By the 1950s, just as technocratic consensus settled on the opinion that Boston’s metropolitan ...

By the 1950s, just as technocratic consensus settled on the opinion that Boston’s metropolitan problems demanded municipal consolidation, meaningful regional integration became a political dead letter. This paper examines how conflicting pressures towards both spatial integration and disintegration shaped the postwar city, with ecological concepts about environmental management jostling against demands for community autonomy coming from both right and left. Struggle over geographic units thereby became a key axis of conflict between different ideological strands of the politics of place.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
Environmental History Seminar ‘Not to Us Chained’: Nature and the Radicalism of Sacco and Vanzetti 10 November 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Chad Montrie, UMass Lowell; Federico Paolini, Università della Campania L. Vanvitelli Comment: Avi Chomsky, Salem State University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg

This paper brings a fresh perspective to the study of modern American environmental thought as well as modern American radicalism by exploring the significance of nature in the lives and writing of anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, following a narrative arc from their formative years in different parts of the Italian countryside to their final years as dedicated revolutionaries confined to Massachusetts prisons.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close

Environmental History Seminar Water Over the Dam: The Destruction of Colonial New England's River Fisheries 12 January 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program. Zachary Bennett, Norwich University Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EHS_banner.jpg

River restoration projects across North America are dismantling dams to restore the legendary fish runs of the past. People incorrectly point to the industrial revolution as the culprit. This paper will show that fish disappeared from most of southern New England’s rivers one hundred years before that. The destruction of New England’s fish runs triggered a cascade of economic and environmental changes that shaped legal and political culture during the Revolution and early republic.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

 

close

Environmental History Seminar Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs Register registration required at no cost 9 March 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EHS_banner.jpg

As we begin to consider climate as an everyday problem, it's valuable to see how people did that in the past. With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin is compiling and analyzing a database of manuscript notes about weather in early American almanacs,1646-1821, out of 10,578 almanacs from nine different archives or libraries. Her talk focuses on how people recorded the weather in numbers (including degrees Fahrenheit) and in words, ranging from “dull” to “elegant!” These notations are significant as records of a period of climate change, the Little Ice Age, also as records of how people made sense of and coped with that climatic disruption.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close

Environmental History Seminar Kaleidoscope Metropolis: Autonomy and Integration in the Fractured City Register registration required at no cost 13 April 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Author: Garrett Nelson, Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center Comment: Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EHS_banner.jpg

By the 1950s, just as technocratic consensus settled on the opinion that Boston’s metropolitan problems demanded municipal consolidation, meaningful regional integration became a political dead letter. This paper examines how conflicting pressures towards both spatial integration and disintegration shaped the postwar city, with ecological concepts about environmental management jostling against demands for community autonomy coming from both right and left. Struggle over geographic units thereby became a key axis of conflict between different ideological strands of the politics of place.

The Environmental History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close