CFP: “Pure Michigan” Environmental Histories of the Great Lakes State, Michigan Historical Review

100 Years in the Region of the Great Lakes (1954), courtesy David Rumsey Map Collection

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Call for Papers: Special Issue of the Michigan Historical Review

“Pure Michigan”:  Environmental Histories of the Great Lakes State

No state identifies with the Great Lakes quite like Michigan. Bordering four of the five Great Lakes, the state is located almost entirely within the basin of these sweetwater seas, the world’s largest system of freshwater. Michigan exemplifies the historical complexities and themes of North American landscapes and waterscapes—indigenous peoples, resource exploitation, immigration and migration, rise of American industry and the coincident rise of labor movements, environmental problems, and environmental problem-solving. Its unique maritime position places the state within still more expansive transnational, borderlands, and technological histories. And within the state itself emerged some of the most challenging social and environmental problems of American built environments: redlining, racial unrest, and de-industrialization in the Detroit area; lead poisoning in Flint; the Enbridge oil spill in the Kalamazoo River; metal mining in the Upper Peninsula, and so on.  

For this special “Pure Michigan” issue of the Michigan Historical Review, editors Claire Campbell, Lynne Heasley, and Daniel Macfarlane invite article proposals, and then later, article submissions, for a special issue on Michigan environmental history currently scheduled for spring 2019. We welcome proposals that consider the relationship between nature and history in Michigan as well as the wider region of the Great Lakes basin. Transnational and comparative studies are welcome, as are research notes and visual primary source analysis. We will select proposals that together exemplify Michigan’s complex historical mosaic, as well as diverse approaches or perspectives within the field of environmental history broadly conceived.

The deadline for proposals is 1 December 2017. We’ll notify authors of proposal acceptance by 1 January 2018. The subsequent deadline for article submission will be 1 April 2018. Submitted articles should be no more than 10,000 words, and double spaced with footnotes in Chicago Style (16th edition).

For more information, please contact the editors of the special issue.

Daniel Macfarlane
Western Michigan University

Lynne Heasley
Western Michigan University 

Claire Campbell
Bucknell University


For more information on the Michigan Historical Review, please contact the editors at   

The Review is published through the support of Central Michigan University, the CMU Department of History, the Clarke Historical Library, the Historical Society of Michigan, the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, and the Grand Rapids Public Library.


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Professor of History at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where I revel in Canadiana and environmental history. Also a lover of exploring, maps, Jane of Lantern Hill, and Scandinavia.

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