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As autumn rolls across the country I want to welcome you to the NiCHE New Scholars Committee for 2015-2016. The New Scholars Committee is designed to help connect current graduate students, recent PhD graduates, and postdoctoral fellows who share an interest in environmental history. Over the past years those participating in the New Scholars Committee have brought a wide range of academic backgrounds to the discussion with some primarily focusing on environmental history while others consider it to be a secondary aspect of their work.

Part of the challenge of the NiCHE New Scholars Committee is to overcome divisions, both institutional and geographic, that can present challenges to those who are in the early stages of involvement in academia. As such the New Scholars use either Google Hangouts or Skype to meet in virtual space to discuss environmental history once a month. These discussions can range from a book or other type of writing to issues of research or new approaches to environmental history.

For the NiCHE New Scholars Committee to be successful, your participation is key as each year the participants shape the focus of the New Scholars Committee. Currently, we are looking for anyone interested in participating either as organizing committee members or in general. Organizing committee members play a larger role in the group by organizing events and recruiting other participants. If you are interested in being an organizing committee member or being on the general mailing list please email me.

Lastly but certainly not least we are looking for people interested in volunteering to lead one of the monthly discussions. Is there a book you think needs to be discussed? Do you have an article you want to feedback on? Perhaps you’d like to chat about interdisciplinary approaches to environmental history? Consider leading the discussion. Doing so is a great way to promote something that is of interest to you. Last year, for example, Pete Anderson and Jessica DeWitt spearheaded a discussion on the challenges of doing history that is also relevant to current debates in the public realm. In part, this discussion built off Pete’s post on his public response to recent changes to the Ottawa Experimental Farm. If you think leading a discussion might be something you want to do, please feel free to email me.

I’m taking over the duties of the NiCHE New Scholars Representative for this year so you might be curious to know a little about me. I’m fourth year PhD Candidate at the University of Saskatchewan with a focus on agriculture and an enjoyment of environmental history even when it isn’t related to grain. I look forward to seeing the approach the New Scholars will take to environmental history this year and connecting with new people. If you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat about environmental history please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Contact me:
Twitter: @triticum_red

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Laura Larsen

Laura Larsen is a specialist in Western Canadian history with a particular focus on agriculture. She holds a PhD in history from the University of Saskatchewan. Her dissertation explores rail rationalization and agricultural policy under the Pierre Trudeau Liberal government.

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