NiCHE New Scholars 2020

The South Saskatchewan at Wanuskewin. Source: Justin Fisher

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With a thank you to Heather Green for the kind introduction earlier this month, I’m excited to begin the work of re-convening the New Scholars community in a new year and a new decade. Indeed, for more than a decade now this community has been providing a platform and a point of connection for new and emerging scholars in environmental history and related disciplines both within and beyond Canada. After a brief fall term hiatus, there are many plans in the works, and we would also like to hear from you about what you hope to see and experience as a part of this community.

For a bit of a personal introduction, I’m a PhD candidate in environmental history at the University of Saskatchewan, studying the history of fossil fuel development here in my home province of Saskatchewan. In addition to my research, I focus a lot of energy on community organizing around local questions related to the environment, climate change, and social justice. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to serve as the representative for the New Scholars network. Upon returning to graduate school in 2018 after several years spent outside academia, I found this network to be invaluable in learning about and keeping up with what is happening in environmental history across the country and, crucially, in forging connections with other new scholars from across the country. This even led to the development of a panel for the upcoming ASEH conference! First and foremost, I see the New Scholars community as a network in which people can connect, learn from, and support one another.

If you are interested in learning more, getting involved, or if you have particular ideas for group discussions or new initiatives, please do not hesitate to reach out to me by email or on Twitter. I am very happy to chat directly, and can also add anyone to our mailing list for updates. You can also follow the New Scholars account on Twitter, which is almost constantly sharing useful resources, work opportunities, and more.

One of the easiest and most fruitful ways to engage in this community is to attend our regular digital meetings. These are discussion-based meetings that typically last an hour to 90 minutes, and can be focused on a topic for general discussion, on a particular piece of work or a current event, or on a presentation by a community member. If you have an idea for a topic on which you would be happy to lead a discussion, or a paper you would like to share and discuss, please let me know. Keep an eye out next week for the first call for participants – we’ll be aiming to meet up in the second half of February for a conversation about community-engaged environmental history!

In addition to these meetings, I will be continuing the Unearthed series of new scholars profiles, which was launched by the preceding New Scholars rep, Heather Green. These profiles help to promote the work of new scholars and to explore their interests in the field.

Finally, this is an exciting term as the annual ASEH conference is coming to Canada for just the second time, taking place in Ottawa on unceded Algonquin territory in late March. Along with a packed programme on the theme of Reparative Environmental History, the conference will offer the opportunity for many new scholars to connect in person. And just two months later NiCHE’s annual CHESS gathering will offer another opportunity for folks to connect.

I want to once again thank Heather Green for all her work as New Scholars rep last year – Heather made it easy to get involved and to stay connected. I will endeavour to follow her lead!

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Justin Fisher

Justin is a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan. His research is examining responses to the 1970s energy crisis in Saskatchewan.

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