2022: NiCHE’s Year in Images

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2022 was NiCHE’s fifth year on Instagram. Managing our Instagram account is a lot different from our other social media accounts. A focus on the visual and, to a lesser extent, audio aspects of our site’s content leads to new and unique aspects of the material coming to the forefront. It also leads to a different kind of engagement with our readers and followers and draws new people into environmental history content.

Our “Top Nine” on Instagram is more than a statistical analysis of our digital popularity; it is an indication of the topics and images that resounded the most with our audience and a chance to look back on the past year. Here are our nine most-popular images from 2022:

#9: The Titles in Our Canadian History and Environment Book Series

November was our second annual (successful!) fundraising month. To garner support for our campaign, Brian Scrivener from University of Calgary press highlighted our Canadian History and Environment book series. There are now eleven titles in this open-access series of edited collections.

An image of the book bindings from The Canadian History and Environment series with University of Calgary Press

#8: Map of Nicosia in Cyprus, created in 1597 by the Venetian Giacomo (Jacomo) Franco

This 1598 map of Nicosia, Cyprus was featured in “The Great In / Büyük An,” a poem by ErmanD that we published as part of our Succession II: Queering the Environment series. In this poem, Erman uses the historical building at the center of Nicosia, The Great In or Büyük An, to “provide a meditation of the biopolitics of Cyprus from a queer ecological perspective.”

Map of Nicosia in Cyprus, created in 1597 by the Venetian Giacomo

#7: A Map of Doggerland

This map portrays Doggerland, a now submerged piece of land that once connected the United Kingdom and Ireland to mainland Europe, which flooded approximately 8,000 years ago. The map was featured in “Tedium, tins and turbines: Sleepwalking in Doggerland,” a piece from Elliot Honeybun-Arnolda and Reuben Martens that was part of our 2021 series, Environmental Histories of the Future, which examined Ben Smith’s novel named after this piece of geography.

Map of Doggerland

#6: A Postcard titled “Old Indian House, Caughnawaga, Que.”

This postcard was the feature image for Bill Parenteau’s review of The Laws and the Land: The Settler Colonial Invasion of Kahnawà:ke in Nineteenth-Century Canada by Daniel Rück. The Laws and the Land looks at the development of land use rights and ownership on the Kahnawà:ke reserve.

Postcard, “Old Indian House, Caughnawaga, Que.

#5: Historical Trash Scatter in the Burn Area of Colorado’s 2021 Cameron Peak Fire

Taken by Dillon Maxwell, this photograph portrays an old patch of trash that was burned during the Cameron Peak Fire of 2021 in Colorado. In “A Fire Archive in the Making: Working the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire,” part of the Fire Stories series, Maxwell reflects on his experience working for the United States Forest Service (USFS) during the fire. “Nothing I saw would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places but losing some of those sites, though already in ruins, weakened our connection to the past, and changed the ecology in the present,” Maxwell wrote.

A historical trash scatter in the burn area of the Cameron Peak Fire.

#4: Definition of Queer Ecology

Our fourth most popular post on Instagram of 2022 was a set of quotes about queer ecology from Meg Perret’s 2020 piece, “‘Chemical Castration’: White Genocide and Male Extinction in Rhetoric of Endocrine Disruption,” part of the first Succession: Queering the Environment series. This post continues to be our most-read post on the site by a considerable margin, and we are glad that we are able to provide a thoughtful analysis of Alex Jones’ “gay frogs” conspiracy for individuals interested in the topic.

Quote: Queer ecology is a subfield that explores the intersection of queer theory and environmental studies.  - Meg Perret

#3: Cover of There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities

This cover of There’s Something in the Water is featured in our post for Episode 69 of Nature’s Past, “Environmental Racism and Canadian History.” In this episode, Sean Kheraj speaks with Ingrid Waldron about her book and the broader legacy of environmental racism in Canada.

Cover of There's Something in the Water by Ingrid Waldron

#2: Cover of Across Species and Cultures: Whales, Humans, and Pacific Worlds

We regularly publish “New Book” posts to highlight new monographs coming out in Canadian environmental history. We provide authors the opportunity to bring attention to specific parts of their books and/or the personal and academic stories behind them. Ryan Tucker Jones and Angela Wanhalla’s new edited collection, Across Species and Cultures, enjoyed a particularly enthusiastic reaction from our readership.

Cover of Across Species and Cultures

#1: The West Wind, 1917, by Tom Thomson

The Group of Seven (and artists connected to the group, like Thomson) elicit a great deal of interest from readers. In fact, 2021’s list of top images also included a piece of artwork from the group. This year’s top image, The West Wind by Tom Thomson, was featured in Isabelle Gapp’s “Water in the Wilderness? Rethinking the Canadian Group of Seven.” In this article, Gapp introduced her 2021 Journal of Canadian Studies article. “My primary focus was to address the wilderness narratives that so-often define a study of the Group of Seven’s landscapes. I wanted, instead, to draw attention to the fact that Lake Superior’s northern Canadian shoreline was anything but the desolate and barren landscape it was made out to be,” Gapp wrote.

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is an environmental historian of Canada and the United States, editor, project manager, and digital communications strategist. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. She is an executive member, editor-in-chief, and social media editor for the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE). Additionally, she is the Managing Editor for the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. She is also a working board member of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society and Girls Rock Saskatoon and a Coordinating Team member of Showing Up for Racial Justice Saskatoon-Treaty Six. A passionate social justice advocate, she focuses on developing digital techniques and communications that bridge the divide between academia and the general public in order to democratize knowledge access. You can find out more about her and her freelance services at jessicamdewitt.com.

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