It is my pleasure to introduce Heather Rogers as the New Scholars representative for the 2022-2023 academic year! Heather is currently a Master’s student at McGill University focusing on Digital Environmental Humanities. Heather was a member of this year’s New Scholars Committee and she – along with Lidia Ponce de la Vega, a fellow graduate student at McGill – ran a digital methodologies research workshop in May. In the workshop, Heather and Lidia discussed the field of digital environmental humanities and how digital humanities tools can be used for environmental humanities research.
Heather’s initiatives will continue to expand the New Scholars programming and its outreach to the community. As a graduate student in digital humanities, Heather is particularly excited to continue finding ways to explore the intersection of digital humanities with environmental humanities, critical plant studies, and blue humanities. Over the next year, Heather is excited to work with the next group of New Scholars and support their ideas for events that explore different avenues for environmental humanities research. If you have an event idea or are interested in joining the New Scholars Committee – a collective of members responsible for organizing and coordinating New Scholars programming – please reach out to Heather at heather.rogers2 [at] mail.mcgill.ca.
The New Scholars community serves as a network for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and recent graduates interested in environmental history and the environmental humanities. It offers a space for members to connect through digital and – hopefully this year – in-person gatherings to share ideas and resources.
Before officially handing things over to Heather, I’d like to take some time to reflect on what the New Scholars community has been up to over the past twelve months. This was an exciting and busy year for us! Autumn 2021 saw the return of the New Scholars Committee. A massive thank you to Heather Rogers, Sritama Chatterjee, Joshua McGuffie, Jody Hodgins, Addie Hopes, and Brandon Cordiero for joining the committee and for all their hard work throughout the year! This group of amazing individuals has been working hard behind the scenes to develop programming and events where members can connect with one another, learn new skills, and reflect on important topics in environmental history and the environmental humanities.
In the autumn, we held two reading club meetings. Our first meeting, held in October, was a discussion about Alan MacEachern’s The Miramichi Fire: A History. Our second meeting, held in December, centred on Brittany Luby’s Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory. It was great to connect with colleagues to discuss these books and the many important themes that they addressed.
In the winter, we introduced a writing workshop series, coordinated by Jody and Addie. This series provided members with new ways to connect with one another and allowed attendees to garner feedback on their writing from colleagues in a supportive and inclusive space. It’s been amazing to see the great work that folks in the community are working on!
In May, Heather and Lidia ran a digital methodologies research workshop. This workshop focused on web scraping. In the workshop, Heather and Lidia demonstrated how web scraping can be used on biodiversity databases to explore questions of representation and disambiguation in the history of botanical knowledge creation.
New Scholars programming also expanded into publishing. Our first series, Radiation in Canada, was edited by Josh. The three articles in this series explored how the atomic age impacted – and continues to impact – life in Canada. Our second series, Water Pedagogies: From the Academy and Beyond, was edited by Sritama. This series covered a wide range of topics about how scholars think and teach about water inside and outside of academia. Please check out both series if you haven’t had a chance yet!
It was a privilege to help organize these events and series and to serve as the New Scholars representative for the past twelve months. It has been an incredible learning experience, and I’m so thankful to everyone who helped me along the way. First, to Justin Fisher, my predecessor, who welcomed me into the New Scholars community and encouraged me to get involved as the New Scholars representative. Second, to the members of the New Scholars Committee. None of this year’s programming would have been possible without them. Third, to the members of the NiCHE Executive, particularly Sean Kheraj, Jessica DeWitt, and Andrew Watson for their unwavering support and assistance throughout the year. And finally, a big thank you to the members of the New Scholars community for their continued support and interest in our programming. It’s been great to meet and interact with so many of you during this past year, and I can’t wait to see what Heather has planned for us next year.
If you want to learn more about the NiCHE New Scholars community or want to get involved, please do not hesitate to reach out to Heather. Keep an eye out for announcements on the NiCHE website and social media (@NiCHE_NS on Twitter) or join the mailing list by emailing Heather at heather.rogers2 [at] mail.mcgill.ca. I look forward to seeing you all again at future events!
Feature Image: Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. Photo by the Author.
M. Blake Butler
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