Every month we carefully track the most popular and significant environmental history articles, videos, audio, and other items making their way through the online environmental history (#envhist) community. Here are our choices for items most worth reading from July 2014.
1. WCEH Reflections:
The Second World Congress of Environmental History was held in Guimaraes, Portugal, July 8-12, 2014. A Storify of all tweets from the event was compiled by Finn Arne Jørgensen. In addition to reflection posts by NiCHE New Scholars Grant recipients on our website, the conference spurred a number of other reflection pieces. Here are a few noteworthy post-WCEH blog posts:
–Environmental History in the Making in Portugal and the Severn Sea by Alexander Portch
–Conference Report: World Congress of Environmental History by Alexander Hall
–Second World Congress of Environmental History – Part 1 by Johan Gärdebo
–Environmental History and Science at the World Congress by Stephen Bocking
The Urban History Association posted an interview with environmental historian Catherine McNeur, who is currently an assistant professor of environmental and public history at Portland State University. McNeur answers questions about her past and current research, her experience on the job market, teaching, and her upcoming book, Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City, illuminating the interconnections between environmental, urban, and public history.
Giacomo Parrinello writes about the importance of visiting the locations that one is researching and writing about and provides an excellent example of how historians can make more out of their field outings. In this piece, Parrinello recounts his visit to the Po River Delta and the way in which he documented his visit by way of a multimedia map. He states that “with a smartphone to take pictures, shoot videos, and geolocate my position, I documented some of the most salient aspects of the landscape I explored. I then used the Google Maps Engine to create a map of the places I visited.”
Jackie Mirandola Mullen provides a thought-provoking post on the issue of permitting agriculture within American national park boundaries. Mullen complicates the discussion by demonstrating that Eastern parks, unlike their Western cousins, have a history of working with and incorporating agriculture. Mullen suggests that these Eastern examples are often overlooked by the Western parks due to the traditionally regionalized and segmented nature of the National Park System.
Isaac Land ponders the existential musings of 19th century sailors and connects spirituality to historical conceptions of the ocean by way of an evangelical essay in the Sailor’s Magazine. “When sailors looked out at the water, did they sometimes think about the grand sweep of sacred history, the world’s beginning and its end? When they watched waves crashing on the shore, did they sometimes feel the pangs of a troubled conscience? I suspect they did,” concludes Land.
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