We are delighted to announce the new members to the NiCHE team for 2023! Ramya Swayamprakash is joining the executive team for a three-year team. And Blake Butler, Paul Hackett, Rachel Lobo, Gabrielle McLaren, Nicole Miller, and Alex Souchen are all joining the Otter editorial board for one-year terms. Read more about each of them below!
New Executive Member
Dr. Ramya Swayamprakash (she/her/Amma) is a part of the NiCHE Executive Committee and an assistant professor in digital, environmental, and integrative studies at the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI. A transnational and interdisciplinary environmental scholar whose doctoral work focused on rivers, dredging, and the place of nature in the Great Lakes, Ramya’s research has been published in academic and public-facing avenues. In addition to her work on the Great Lakes, Ramya is now working on her earlier interest in dams in post-colonial India. As a survivor of domestic abuse and as a single parent, Ramya’s scholarship is driven by a commitment to social/ecological justice and equity. Ramya is also an assistant executive editor for EHN, the EHN Tools for Change series editor, and a member-at-large of the H-Net Council.
New Otter Blog Editorial Board Members
Blake Butler is a PhD candidate in Western University’s history department currently living in Ottawa, Ontario. His dissertation explores human relationships and experiences with snow in Vancouver and the southern Coast Mountains from the mid-nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. He first became interested in environmental history during my undergraduate degree at Queen’s University. He continued my studies at the University of Victoria, earning my MA in history in 2017. His thesis explored the origins of mass dolphin by-catch in the American yellowfin tuna industry and the efforts undertaken by fishermen, gear specialists, politicians, scientists, and environmentalists to ameliorate the problem. When he is not researching and writing, he enjoys being active outside. With the return of cold weather, he’s excited to get back out cross-country skiing and skating on the Rideau Canal. He got involved with NiCHE through the New Scholars community and served as the New Scholars Rep for the 2021-22 academic year. He is excited to continue volunteering with NiCHE and is looking forward to working with my editorial board colleagues to facilitate greater opportunities for environmental historical scholarship on this website.
Paul Hackett (He, Him) is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Saskatchewan, as well as research faculty in the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit. His academic career has been structured around the basic proposition that understanding history must be a priority if we hope to address current health inequities in Canada, particularly those experienced by Indigenous peoples. Trained as a geographer, Dr. Hackett’s work also draws upon the disciplines of History, Anthropology, and Population/Public Health. His research explores the health history of Indigenous communities in Canada, and the role of colonialism in creating environments favouring emerging health threats. Major projects explore the history of tuberculosis, and its relationship to the Indian Residential School system, and the factors that led to the rise of Type 2 diabetes. He has extensive experience with archival research and has worked for and with Indigenous communities and organisations since he was a graduate student. Dr. Hackett has also had a fascination with the use of technology in historical research and research communication for the past three decades.
Rachel Lobo is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow with the Women & Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. Using feminist print culture, her research explores the history of the domestic workers’ movement that unfolded throughout the 1980s and 1990s in Ontario. Rachel received her PhD in Environmental Studies from the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. Her SSHRC-funded dissertation titled “The Lake is History: Photographic Archives and the Black Atlantic in Essex County” maps the complex portrait of resistance that emerges within the Alvin D. McCurdy fonds, the largest photographic archive of Black history in Canada. This research positioned vernacular photographs as key sites in uncovering transnational networks of kinship and resistance that impacted the political, cultural and social life of Lake Erie. Rachel received her MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and has held archival internships at the Royal Ontario Museum and the TMU Image Centre. Her research has been published in the International Journal of Canadian Studies, and Archivaria: The Journal for the Association of Canadian Archivists.
Gabrielle McLaren is a young academic living on the unceded lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation in Montréal. She is interested in the historical intersection of labour, health, and the environment as well as settler colonial studies, infrastructure, tropical and imperial medicine, and climate history. She earned her MA from Concordia University’s Department of History in 2022, after writing an environmental and medical history of the Rideau Canal’s construction with a focus on how malaria’s presence in Upper Canada affected settlers’ perceptions of the colony as a potential site for settlement, agriculture, and economic development. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with honours in history and a minor in world literature in 2020 and is currently working as the main administrator for the SSHRC-funded partnership project Deindustrialization and the Politics of Our Time (DePOT). She is active within her union, facilitates a knitting circle, and plays board games in her spare time.
Nicole Miller is an artist and visual anthropologist working at the intersection of fine art, philosophy, and environmental history. She holds an MA in Global Environmental History from Uppsala University and currently lives in the forest in Sweden where she maintains a studio practice and works as an independent researcher. She has previously lived in many places including Argentina, Canada, the United States, and Denmark, and her artistic works have been exhibited internationally. Her latest project investigates the aesthetic experience of mushroom picking as a cultural pastime, incorporating visual culture theory and experimental methods. Her research interests include: the interplay of photography and archives with environmental engagement, collecting as a process that encourages new perceptions of one’s environment, and new possibilities for multi-sensory historical, environmental research. She enjoys connecting interesting people across disciplines and has organized several interdisciplinary symposiums, planned an international conference on sustainable architecture, and mapped collaborative food projects in North America and Europe. She also coordinates the IHOPE (Integrated History and Future of People on Earth) International Research Network and is visual editor for the environmental history magazine Between Territory and Earth, among other projects.
Alex Souchen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph, cross-appointed between the Department of History and Bachelor of Arts and Science Program. He is the author of War Junk: Munitions Disposal and Postwar Reconstruction in Canada (UBC Press, 2020), which won Honorable Mention for the 2020-2021 C. P. Stacey Award for Best Book in Canadian Military History. He is also a co-editor of the forthcoming book Silent Partners: Historical Perspectives on Canada’s Military-Industrial Complex (UBC Press, Fall 2023). His interdisciplinary research explores the history of science and technology, warfare, and the environment in the 20th century.
Latest posts by NiCHE Administrators (see all)
- 2023 Winner of Best Article/Chapter in Canadian Environmental History Prize - June 1, 2023
- Job – Lecturer in Environmental History, Newcastle University - June 1, 2023
- Canada’s First Oil Boom: Kerosene Lighting in Canada, 1846-1920 - May 18, 2023
- Petrolias, Then & Now: Exploring Change & Continuity in the Ethics of Extraction - May 18, 2023
- Online Event – Decolonizing Ourselves: Legislating Broken Promises, Past and Present - May 1, 2023
- CFC – The Routledge Handbook of Health and Environmental Humanities - February 22, 2023
- WEBINAR: Supporting Modern Environmental Research with Digital Primary Sources - February 2, 2023
- Call for Papers – Transitions, Transformations and Transdisciplinarity: Histories beyond History, WCEH4 2024 - January 23, 2023
- Top Five Posts of 2022 - January 4, 2023
- Open Call for Authors “Future Directions in Environmental History” - December 13, 2022