Canadian Environmental History at ASEH 2016

"Melting Pot" by Darwin Bell. Source: Flickr.

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This week, environmental historians descend upon the Emerald City for three days of panels, round tables, and plenaries at the the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History. As usual, we have scraped the program for Canadian environmental history and provided a curated list here. If we missed your paper or panel, please let us know in the comments below.

Northern Environments and Indigenous Communities
Thu, March 31, 8:00 to 9:30am, Westin Seattle Hotel, Blakely
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
Canadians have had a complex relationship with their northern environments, oscillating between absence of mind and frenzy of interest in these remote regions. When northern climes have entered the radars of southern Canadians, views have ranged from a desire to exploit natural resources to concerns for environmental conservation. This panel will demonstrate, both of these imperatives impacted the extant indigenous communities by reordering northern ecologies and the human-environment relationship. However, the impacts of these various intrusions into northern indigenous environments – and indigenous responses to them – were far from uniform. In response to both resource extraction and environmental conservation, indigenous peoples not only experienced displacement and dispossession, but also found room to negotiate their own interests within colonial institutions.

In “The Great Upheaval,” Heather Green examines how the Klondike Gold Rush and its aftermath altered the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s relationship with the natural environment. This includes analysing how mining activities altered the landscape, adversely affecting the indigenous abilities to pursue subsistence activities, as well as cultural elements, such as fish and game regulations, which further circumscribed these pursuits. Meanwhile, in “An Intricate Maze,” David Vogt complicates the commonly-held notion that trapline registration in northern British Columbia resulted in the large-scale dispossession of indigenous lands. He contends that some indigenous communities, including the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en, also endeavoured to use trapline registrations as a form of state power to advance their own interests and resolve disputes between indigenous trappers. Finally, in “Trapline Registration and Constructing Land Use,” Glenn Iceton uses trapline records and GIS software to understand how state officials came to conceptualize Kaska land use and occupancy and to measure the extent to which they were dispossessed by non-indigenous trappers. Additionally, he analyses how government discourse factored into the ethnogenesis of band affiliations and the concomitant allocation of traplines.

Papers
“The Great Upheaval”: Material and Cultural Change in the Relationship Between the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Local Environment in the Klondike Region, 1850-1940 – Heather Green, University of Alberta

“An Intricate Maze”: Indigenous Encounters with Trapline Registration in Northern British Columbia, 1930-1940 – David Vogt, University of Victoria

Trapline Registration and Constructing Land Use: A Spatial History of Kaska Land Use in the Early to Mid-Twentieth Century – Glenn Iceton, University of Saskatchewan

Chair
Liza Piper, University of Alberta

 

Digital Maps and Visualizations for Research and Public Outreach
Thu, March 31, 8:00 to 9:30am, Westin Seattle Hotel, Grand Crescent
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
The use of historical geographic information systems (HGIS) and data visualization is growing rapidly among humanities scholars. These technologies and methods facilitate research with datasets which are simply too big for traditional methods, making possible the identification and analysis of patterns and relationships otherwise concealed. HGIS has proved particularly promising for environmental history: it is especially effective in identifying spatial relations, which in turn are of crucial importance for this place-sensitive discipline. Environmental historians are also starting to experiment with other data visualizations, beyond standard maps, charts and graphs, to explore increasingly large databases. The potential of these technologies and methods for environmental history is not limited to the expansion of its analytical possibilities. When combined with online multimedia formats, they offer fascinating opportunities for public outreach and non-conventional research outputs. Visualizations and interactive maps stimulate different cognitive abilities than written words, which can make them well suited to reach a non-specialist audience. Online projects, moreover, empower the users by liberating them from the constraints of linear textual narrative and allowing them to transform and explore the information in a creative way. Finally, these formats can be constantly updated, which opens them to inputs from the users and crowdsourcing. This panel explores the potential of HGIS and data visualization to improve research and for public outreach in environmental history by presenting four ongoing projects.

Papers
Entangled Flows: An Online Interactive Maps of Water Uses in the Po Valley 1860-2000 – Giacomo Parrinello, Institute of Social Ecology Vienna

Making Public Historical-GIS: Crowd-sourcing Toronto’s Spatial History – Jennifer Bonnell, York University; Marcel Fortin, University of Toronto

Data visualizations for energy and nutrient flows in farm systems for the Sustainable Farm Systems project – Joshua MacFadyen, Arizona State University

Interacting with London’s Industry, 1865-1895: creating a deep online map with HGIS and a MediaWiki database – Jim Clifford, University of Saskachewan

Chair
Richard William Judd, University of Maine

 

Negotiations and Renegotiations of Space and Resource Use in Pacific Northwest Aboriginal History
Thu, March 31, 10:00 to 11:30am, Westin Seattle Hotel, Olympic
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
This panel focuses on the various ways that Aboriginal people negotiated (and continue to negotiate) the complex liminal spaces that developed between settler and indigenous societies, with a specific focus on how the resources within these spaces are conceptualized and used. Centered in broader Pacific Northwest, this panel also affords comparisons between Aboriginal peoples’ resistance to, and navigation of, U.S. and Canadian colonialism. Keith Carlson will serve as chair and commentator.

Papers
“Without Regulation the White Man Does Not Know What Conservation Means”: Wilson Charley Articulates Conservation and Yakama Sovereignty on the Postwar Columbia River – David-Paul Brewster Hedberg, Portland State University

Contested Claims and Negotiation over the Sequalitchew – Corey Larson, Simon Fraser University

Giant Trees, Iron Men: Coast Salish Loggers and Masculinity – Colin Murray Osmond, University of Saskatchewan

Chair
Keith Thor Carlson, University of Saskatchewan

 

Farming for Health: Environmental Histories of Vaccine Production
Thu, March 31, 1:00 to 2:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1C
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
This session is sponsored by HEHN: the History of Environment and Health Network.

This panel focuses attention on the laboratories and farms where vaccines and anti-toxins were developed and produced, to consider the environmental histories involved in the cultivation of very particular crops: the living material needed to protect against or cure infectious diseases. The three papers draw on examples from the United States and Canada, with attention to vaccines and antitoxins used for a range of diseases (smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, and poliomyelitis) that posed serious threats to human health in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The panel explores the ecological ramifications of the rise of the germ theory of disease and the place of vaccination in biomedical responses to germs. The papers collectively assess the place of animals (cows, horses, guinea pigs, dogs, and monkeys) in the production of vaccines; the experiences of these animals as part of biomedical commerce; the impacts on the animals, pathogens, and the laboratory or “farm” environments in which they lived; and the concerns and ethics that framed the use of animals in the service of human health. The panel will include a commentary from Elena Conis (Emory University), whose expertise on the history of vaccination includes work on the environmental ethics underlying contemporary vaccination resistance. In this fashion, the panel hopes to bring the history of vaccines at the turn of the twentieth century, into conversation with present-day concerns about risk and the safety of vaccination as a public health response to the ongoing dangers posed by infectious diseases.

Papers
‘Crops of Vaccine Virus’: Production, Pedigree, and Purity on American Vaccine Farms, 1870-1902 – Tess Lanzarotta, Yale University

The Connaught Laboratories and Farm, 1916-1925: Considering the Horse, the Calf and the Guinea Pig – Joanna Dean, Carleton University

Domesticating Poliovirus: Laboratory Monkeys and Vaccine Production, 1908-1960 – Liza Piper, University of Alberta

Chair
Elena Conis, Emory University

Commentator
Elena Conis, Emory University

 

Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Environmental Histories, Concepts, and Current Confrontations
Thu, March 31, 1:00 to 2:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 2
Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Abstract
Because environmental historians have focused on nature-society-relations in the past, they often engaged with ‘Traditional Ecological Knowledge’ (also known as ‘Traditional Environmental Knowledge’, TEK) well before this concept gained broader currency. Yet so far as we know, little conversation has hitherto linked the (mainly) anthropologists, public historians, and community of environmental historians who explore such issues, although these groups could profit from each other.
Our round table brings together perspectives from environmental thought, the history of science, indigenous North American cultures past and present, and preindustrial Europe. Panelists will explore the conceptual construct of TEK, its epistemological and substantive content, its place in contemporary relations of ecological and environmental management with indigenous communities, and its potential as a tool to help tease out, reconstruct, and understand the productive practices of non- and semi-literate societies before the advent of cheap fossil energy and hegemonic science. The critical discussion of TEK in the past ten years has questioned if decontextualizing bits of transferable ‘knowledge’ from embedded world-views is possible without transforming this knowledge into something completely different. How might historians respond? Panelists and the audience may potentially address but are not limited to the following questions:
To what extent might the ecological sustainability and environmental crises of such communities then and now rest upon distinctive forms of thought and activities using things of nature?
How did/do cultures of memory and oral transmission learn, retain, and convey the understandings and practices, which shaped their long-term relations with their local soils, waters, and biota?
What conditions marked the long-term success and occasional failures of these systems of applied knowledge?
How do/did these knowledge systems interact with others in their own societies or those with which they came into contact?
How (with which methods) can the TEK of past societies now be recovered?

Moderator
Melissa Wiedenfeld, US Customs and Border Protection

Presenters
Verena Winiwarter, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

Melanie Andrej, Alpen-Adria-Universität, IFF Vienna, Austria

William C Wicken, Dept of History, York University

Michael Kucher, University of Washington, Tacoma

Richard C Hoffmann, York University

 

War and Environmental History
Fri, April 1, 8:30 to 10:00am, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1A
Session Submission Type: Panel

Individual Submissions
“In the Midst of the Canadian Bush”: German Prisoners of War in Manitoba’s Riding Mountain National Park – Michael O’Hagan, Western University

Conquering an Unforgiving Countryside: How America’s Environment Shaped Confining Prisoners of War in the American Revolution – Sean Halverson, Alabama A&M University

Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Production in the United States During World War I – Gerard J. Fitzgerald, George Mason University

Chair
Gabriella Petrick, New Haven University

 

Mediating politics and culture through parks in North America and Scandinavia
Fri, April 1, 8:30 to 10:00am, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1C
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
Environmental historians have long recognized that parks, particularly national parks, can be fruitfully analyzed as windows into cultural and political attitudes. Contemporary parks are a concrete amalgamation of generations of interwoven environmental policy, recreational desires, and attitudes toward nature. The aim of this panel is to examine how the value of parks have been understood at particular historical moments – and particular geographical contexts – with a focus on how that value has been locally negotiated rather than imprinted from a universal template. Alyssa D. Warrick illuminates the history of Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Warrick positions Mammoth Cave in the center of mid-twentieth century debates between conservation, preservation, and definitions of wilderness, while addressing the enduring frame provided by archetypical western parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Paula Saari examines the influence of Yellowstone and the greater American national park system on the development of the national park idea in Finland. Saari demonstrates that the Finnish park story, which has been neglected by environmental historians, shows the importance of international influences to the process of creating and defining national parks. Peder Roberts examines why national parks were unsuccessfully proposed for the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard during the 1920s and 30s, with a subtext of articulating Norway’s political authority, but became an attractive means of exercising geopolitical power in the early 1970s as the discourse of the “fragile Arctic” shifted the political calculation. Jessica DeWitt widens the panel’s coverage to include parks at the state and provincial level. Focusing on several Canadian and American park systems, DeWitt examines why state and provincial parks have been largely ignored by historians and argues that they have played underappreciated roles as instruments of ecological restoration and recreational democratization.

Papers
Overlooked Wilderness? Mammoth Cave National Park, Exploration, and Preservation – Alyssa Warrick, Mississippi State University

Inserting Yellowstone into a National Story: The National Park Idea in Finland from the 1930s to the 1970s – Paula Saari, University of Helsinki

National Parks as (Geo)Political Instruments on Svalbard – Peder Roberts, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Middle Park Syndrome: Securing a Place for Provincial and State Park History in Canadian and US Conservation History – Jessica Marie DeWitt, University of Saskatchewan

Chair
Tina Adcock, Simon Fraser University

 

New Histories of Extraction: Mines, communities, and the environment
Fri, April 1, 8:30 to 10:00am, Westin Seattle Hotel, Vashon
Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Abstract
Within environmental history and cognate disciplines, the once-neglected field of mining and extractive industries is being revivified with new themes, concepts, and practices. Animated by contemporary concerns around mineral and energy scarcity, the metal-hungry tech industry, and increasing global conflicts over the environmental impacts of extraction, environmental historians are engaging new questions, new methods, and new “publics” in their explorations of mining histories. Taking as its point of departure two forthcoming collections of interdisciplinary mining history—Mining North America and Mining and Communities in Northern Canada—this roundtable will engage established and emerging scholars, as well as the audience, in a wide-ranging appraisal of key directions in the environmental history of mining. Questions for consideration include: what are important new conceptual/theoretical insights and (inter)disciplinary practices emerging from recent scholarship on mining? How does the environmental history of mining contribute to contemporary debates and controversies over extractive developments and their impact on local environments and communities? How are changes over the past century in extraction—from decreasing ore grades to mining’s expansion into developing-world and Arctic regions to the emergence of widespread public opposition to mining—reflected in the concerns and questions of historians? What themes and questions remain unaddressed in this scholarship? Each of the panelists will be asked to contribute brief remarks in response to these questions, after which the audience and panelists will participate in a moderated evaluation of the new histories of extraction.

Moderator
John McNeill, Georgetown University

Presenters
Arn Keeling, Memorial University

Mica Jorgenson, McMaster University

Lianne Leddy, Indigenous Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

Kent “Kip” Curtis, Ohio State

George Vrtis, Carleton College

John Thistle, Labrador Institute of Memorial University

 

Life and Death in the Public Eye: Animal Bodies, Environmental Culture, and Regional Identity
Fri, April 1, 10:30am to 12:00pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1A
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
In his book Here Lies Hugh Glass (2012), historian Jon Coleman reveals how the encounter between people and animals not only damaged, destroyed, and remade bodies (human and nonhuman) but also helped shape a white, male U.S. national identity. This panel will build on this line of inquiry by examining the role of human-animal relations in the production of regional identity and environmental values in modern North America. The three presentations will explore how public spectacles of expropriation of and perceived cruelty toward animal bodies intersected with shifting values and identities in three distinct regional contexts. Susan Nance’s “Steamboat Sleeps at the Old City Dump” will examine how people in the West used the disposition of dead horses to talk about human honor and personal independence. Jason Colby’s “A Terrible and Sickening Spectacle” will analyze the impact of the 1970 killer whale roundup in Penn Cove, Washington, on the transborder identity and environmental values of the Salish Sea. Ian Jesse’s “Let the Poor Beasts Alone” will explore the public debate about the reintroduction and treatment of caribou in Maine in the 1980s. Chaired by, and with comment from, environmental historian Dolly Jørgensen (Umeå University), this panel will draw together innovative scholarship on the intersection of animal, environmental, and cultural history, while directly addressing the conference’s themes of how various publics negotiate over environmental politics.

Papers
“Steamboat Sleeps at the Old City Dump”: Rodeo and the Moral Economy of Horse Carcasses in the North American West – Susan Nance, University of Guelph

“A Terrible and Sickening Spectacle”: The Penn Cove Roundup and the Environmental Politics of the Salish Sea – Jason Colby, University of Victroria

“Let the Poor Beasts Alone”: Caribou Reintroduction and Public Environmental Attitudes in Maine, 1986-1993 – Ian Jesse, University of Maine

Chair
Dolly Jørgensen, Luleå Technical University

 

Local and Global Environmental Histories of Production and Trade
Fri, April 1, 10:30am to 12:00pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1C
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
Over the course of the nineteenth century, the world’s economies became increasingly integrated. Global networks of trade and finance connected distant corners of the planet just as thoroughly as local networks of exchange connected adjacent communities. In many cases, the processes of globalization and industrialization created a logic in which it made more sense to source raw materials for production from distant landscapes than it did to source them from the local environment. The economic growth of places in Europe and North America were therefore intimately tied to the exploitation of an extraordinary number of resources from almost every corner of the world. As Kenneth Pomeranz has pointed out, the development of industrial capital relied on the extraction of resource wealth from ghost acres.
And yet the sites of resource extraction on the one hand, and manufacturing on the other, took place in specific places with distinct consequences for local ecologies and societies. As the scale of industrial capital expanded, so too did the footprint of global integrated commodity flows. Expansive and intensive resource extraction exhausted the natural capital of the global periphery, while the massive scale of industrial production created enormous quantities of point source pollution in the centre.
This panel seeks to draw attention to the process of global economic integration during the nineteenth century, and to situate that development within its ecological consequences for both the sites of resource extraction and industrial production.

Papers
Using and abusing a torrential urban river. Tanneries and other crafts at a Viennese Danube tributary before and during industrialization (Wien River, Vienna-Austria) – Gudrun Pollack, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt; Gertrud Haidvogl, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

The ecological consequences of London’s nineteenth century leather tanning industry – Andrew Watson, University of Saskatchewan

Hunting, Ivory and Firearms Trade in the Ethiopian Region, c. 1840s-1940s – Guluma Gemeda, University of Michigan-Flint

Chair
Colin Coates, York University

 

Environmental Impacts of World War II in the Pacific Northwest
Sat, April 2, 10:30am to 12:00pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1B
Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Abstract
World War II was a turning point in American environmental history. Mobilizing social, institutional and natural resources, the war’s urgencies accelerated the nation’s industrial expansion, especially in the West. Urban regions grew overnight, with the arrival of an expanded labor force, launching a new era in the cities’ environmental history. Resource extraction intensified, and previous systems of resource management were stretched to the limit. War production largely determined the pace and pattern of postwar / Cold War development and its environmental impact.
This roundtable’s participants specialize in those transformations in the northwestern United States. William Robbins is a widely published historian of the landscapes and natural resources of the region. Katherine Macica is completing her dissertation at Loyola University of Chicago, “Environments of War: The Pacific Northwest and the Waging of World War II.” Paul Hirt has written widely on the history of the region’s forests and power grid, which were placed under intense demand for the needs of wartime industry. William Lang, former Director of the Center for Columbia River History, is a leading specialist on the industrialization of the region. Joseph Taylor is a specialist on the region’s fisheries. The war’s dynamics intensified collaboration between the United States and Canada, as Tina Adcock explores in her study of the Canol pipeline, which set the stage for post-1945 industrial development of western Canada.
The panelists reveal interlocking transformations of land use, natural resources extraction, urban/industrial expansion, regional infrastructure, and riverine and coastal development during the war and immediate postwar years. Richard Tucker is the roundtable’s organizer and moderator.

Moderator
Richard P Tucker, University of Michigan

Presenters
Katherine Macica, Loyola University Chicago

Paul Hirt, Arizona State University

William L. Lang, Portland State University

Joseph E. Taylor, Simon Fraser University

Tina Adcock, Simon Fraser University

 

Photographing Environmental Histories: capturing, presenting, and circulating environmental change in the past and present
Sat, April 2, 1:00 to 2:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1C
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
Since its first introduction to the global public, photography has played a crucial role in picturing environmental events, giving photographers a quintessential tool for gathering ecological and geographical information about the world. Not only can photography communicate through aesthetic and indexical means, representing at once the beauty of wilderness and the documentation of colonial expansion, but it can offer audiences a way to see history anew, shaped by shifting perceptions of the environment and changing attitudes to photography in an image-saturated world. As a material object that is mechanically and—today—infinitely reproducible, photography circulates through multiple forms of presentation and across cultural, temporal, and spatial borders. Both physically and conceptually, photography has shaped the environmental imaginary—a slippery category encompassing the practises, values, and ideas that inform public perceptions of the environment. This panel will consider how photography employs a uniquely visual vocabulary for reaching new audiences while contributing to perceptions of environmental histories in the past and present. Papers will explore the relationship between audiences and images, the circulation of images and their viewing-formats, and consider how multiple and variable publics have, since photography’s inception, viewed environmental history.

Papers
Onward! Canadian expansionist outlooks and the photographs that serve them. – Elizabeth Anne Cavaliere, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec

‘His Rightful Heritage of Something to Eat’: the contested history of indigenous and settler duck hunting in the photographs of Lorene Squire – Karla Kit McManus, Queen’s University

Landscaping with photographs, or how propaganda pictures transformed forests into fields – Samuel Gaudreau-Lalande, Université Concordia, Montréal, Qc, Canada

Mindfulness of the Earth: Perceptions and Correspondences in Kan Azuma’s Erosion (1973) – Martha Langford, Concordia University

Chair
Heather Braiden, Dalhousie University

 

Beastly Bodies and Toxic Pathways
Sat, April 2, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1B
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
The intractable problem of environmental toxins has always been a multispecies affair. As some animal bodies were selected to be human stand-ins for toxicological research, other species have risen to salience for how they occupy similar roles to humans in toxic ecological pathways. The movement of persistent pollutants through ecosystems and into animal bodies is a marker of the present that will pose incredible future policy challenges. But the problems are deeply historical: requiring an engagement with the social, cultural, environmental contexts in which toxins emerge as a growing public health problem.

This panel explores those contexts through case studies that span a range of animals – domestic, wild, and laboratory proxies – placing environmental history in conversation with multispecies ethnography, animal studies and material flow analysis. In doing so, this session will provide a space for grappling with vast temporalities, the limits of scientific measurement, and the problems of translation that mark our toxic legacy. Building upon the contributions made by recent environmental histories of toxicity (Walker, 2009; Langston, 2010), we consider the particular geographies of animal bodies while foregrounding the historical agency of animal actors. Shifting the focus of waste studies and toxic histories beyond the human allows scholars to develop a more expansive and non-anthropocentric understanding of environmental history and its publics.

Papers
Multispecies Feedback Loops in Toxicity Research and Practice in the Twentieth-Century United States – Thomas Andrews, University of Colorado Boulder

“This Animal Must Have Been Eating Straight Insecticide”: Toxic Pathways and Cattle Bodies in Mid-Twentieth Century United States Food Production – Christopher Robert Deutsch, University of Missouri

Toxic Orcas: Chemical Pathways and Whale Discourses along the Salish Sea – Mark Werner, University of British Columbia

Commentator
Nancy Langston, Michigan Technological University

 

Tambora’s Effects
Sat, April 2, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1C
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
When the Indonesian volcano Tambora erupted in the spring of 1815, by far the largest eruption in recorded history, it spewed tens of cubic kilometres of rock, ash, and dust high into the air. Aerosols spread throughout the global atmosphere, and the planet’s surface cooled measurably. In eastern North America, 1816 became known as the Year Without a Summer.

We propose a session that uses the 2016 bicentennial of the Year Without a Summer as the jumping-off point for discussion of Tambora’s longer-term effects on peoples and environments. Richard Judd will explore how the year shaped New Englanders’ climatic consciousness, finding it resulted in considerable agricultural and social adaptation. Alan MacEachern will suggest that, in considering Tambora’s effects on British North America, an overemphasis on the 1816 summer has obscured food shortages suffered in 1817 and beyond. Gillen D’Arcy Wood will argue that Tambora’s greatest effect was in triggering the 1817 Bengal cholera epidemic that eventually spread worldwide.

Papers
The “Year Without a Summer”: Agriculture, Environment, and New England, 1816 and After – Richard William Judd, University of Maine

The Year Without: Food Scarcity in Canada in 1817 – Alan Andrew MacEachern, University of Western Ontario

The Blue Death: Tambora, Climate Change, and Global Cholera, 1817-1832 – Gillen D’Arcy Wood, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Chair
Melissa Wiedendfeld, US Customs and Border Protection

 

Energy Frontiers in the Late 20th Century
Sat, April 2, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 2
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
During the years surrounding the 1970s energy crisis, higher oil prices led producers and consumers to explore new frontiers in their search for untapped resources and opportunities for conservation. Our papers examine both geographical frontiers (the far-flung places opened to development between the 1960s and the 1980s) and technological frontiers (new ways of producing and conserving energy). Dolata’s research focuses on the opening of the Canadian High Arctic to energy exploration organized by the Canadian government and private industry. Arctic operations promised economic rewards, but also posed enormous logistical challenges and threatened to upset the ecological balance of a region that had been largely unaffected by industrial development. Klieman’s paper looks at Cabinda Gulf Oil in Angola, which attracted controversy by operating at a time of Portuguese colonialism, Marxist rule, and brutal civil war. By analyzing the methods that the company developed to deal with the resulting public outcry and boycotts, the paper not only chronicles the impact of the new “political consumerism” that emerged alongside the environmentalist movement, but also illustrates the determination of energy corporations to develop new oil reserves during this period of crisis. McFarland’s research examines U.S. efforts to use nuclear explosives to release natural gas from shale formations in the rural American West. Those experiments stopped after 1973, in large part because of environmentalist opposition, but they foreshadowed the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing techniques in later decades. Barber’s paper examines the response by a group of innovative architects to the 1970s oil crisis. They sought to limit fossil fuel consumption by designing energy-efficient houses and entire new communities in places like the Arizona desert, Prince Edward Island, and spaces excavated underground. By examining these various frontiers, our four papers will help illuminate a pivotal era in the history of energy and the environment.

Papers
Transient Sojourners and Technological Advances: Oil and Gas Exploration in Canada’s High Arctic in the 1960s and 1970s – Petra Dolata, University of Calgary

Cabinda Gulf Oil in Angola, 1964-1984: A Case Study in Managing Reputational Risk While Operating in the Context of Violent Conflict and Public Outcry – Kairn Klieman, University of Houston

Nuclear Fracking: Projects Gasbuggy, Rulison, and Rio Blanco, 1967-1973 – Victor McFarland, University of Missouri

The Energy Underground: Environmental Culture in the Architecture of the 1970s – Daniel Barber, University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University

Chair
Paul Sabin, Yale University

 

Environmental Diplomacy during the Cold War
Sat, April 2, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Vashon
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
This year’s meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations featured an unprecedented focus on the environment, complete with a plenary session on the environment in foreign policy featuring Kate Brown, Paul Sutter, and Jacob Hamblin. Our panel builds on that conference, as well as past panels at ASEH meetings, to further blend the fields of environmental and diplomatic history. Still, environmental historians have an opportunity to shape how people understand and study environmental diplomacy because our colleagues in diplomatic history have been slow to take on the challenge. Given the rising importance of contemporary international environmental problems, we should seize the opportunity.
Chronologically our four papers cover from the early 1950s to the late 1970s, but more important is their geographical scope, from the Indian Ocean to the Canadian borderlands to East Berlin to Moscow. MacFarlane’s paper takes on the challenge of defining environmental diplomacy through the lens of US-Canadian relations; Reyes’ paper furthers our understanding of the role of oceanography in the ideological struggle at the heart of the Cold War; Kirchhof’s paper blazes a new path by showing how East Germany used environmental issues to achieve its goal of equal treatment on the world stage; and Dorsey’s paper takes a traditional topic from diplomatic history, the 1972 Moscow Summit, and examines the environmental assumptions and consequences of one of its major agreements.
With Jacob Hamblin chairing and David Kinkela commenting, we have renowned scholars to frame the assembled papers and lead the discussion. Our presenters include two international scholars (Kirchhof from Germany and MacFarlane from Canada), as well as a graduate student (Reyes) and junior (Kirchhof and Macfarlane) and senior faculty (Dorsey). Together, the six panel members bring a diversity of experience and insights to this important topic.

Papers
The Nature of the Relationship: US-Canadian Environmental Diplomacy in the Early Cold War – Daniel Macfarlane, Western Michigan University

Environmental diplomacy in the German Democratic Republic between the 1950s and 1970s – Astrid Mignon Kirchhof, HU Berlin

Constructing a New Scientific Order: The United States’ Oceanographic Mission to the Developing World and Its Environmental Impact – Marc Anthony Reyes, University of Connecticut

The Bread Scare: Cold War Food Policy and the 1972 Soviet-American Grain Deal – Kurk Dorsey, University of New Hampshire

Chair
Jacob Hamblin, Oregon State University

 

Public Health and Environmental History

Sat, April 2, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Whidbey
Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract
This is a created panel from individual paper submissions.

Papers
Regulators of an Internal Environment: British Naval Nursing in Late-Eighteenth Century Hospitals – Erin Spinney, University of Saskatchewan

Starving Children, Scientific Nutrition, and the American Relief Administration’s Mission in Central Europe, 1918-1923 – Paul Niebrzydowski, The Ohio State University

The Janus-Head of Public Hygiene. Episodes from China`s Kiaochow as German Protectorate, 1897-1914 – Agnes Kneitz, Renmin University of China

Chair
Joshua MacFadyen, Arizona State University

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Sean Kheraj is the director of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and associate dean of programs in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at http://seankheraj.com.

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