"New Perspectives in Environmental History, " Saturday, April 18, 2020, New Haven, CT, REGISTRATION OPEN

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April 18, 2020
Connecticut, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Animal Studies, Environmental History / Studies, World History / Studies


Saturday, April 18, 2020

A Northeast Regional Conference


Kroon Hall, Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut



Yale Environmental History will host its eighth “New Perspectives in Environmental History” conference on Saturday, April 18, 2020 to showcase new projects in the field. The conference will include three moderated panel sessions featuring papers by doctoral students from eight different universities from across the Northeast.

The first panel, “PRODUCING AND EXTRACTING EXPERTISE,” will examine how Scottish courts defined coal in the 1850s; the influence of Indigenous American plant knowledge on European medicine; and the Japanese colonial politics of red brick architecture in early twentieth-century Manchuria.

The second panel, “LANDSCAPES OF VIOLENCE, SPACES OF RESISTANCE,” will analyze “scoutcraft” and bush expertise in Zimbabwe’s liberation war; protests against expanding cattle feedlots in 1970s Lubbock, Texas; and the relationship between Bracero migrant identities and the contemporary town landscape of Temacapulín, Mexico.

The third panel, “VALUING AND MANAGING RESOURCES,” will explore conflicting claims to the Ewaso Ng’iro River in late-colonial Kenya; mudflats and imperial power in Choson-Qing borderlands; the infrastructures of Ottoman sheep-breeding; and the “politics of wonder” in Qing court collections of exotic animals.

Presentations will be based on papers circulated in advance to panel commentators and conference attendees. A faculty panel with CHRISTINE DELUCIA (Williams College), FABIAN DRIXLER (Yale University), and DANIEL RODRIGUEZ (Brown University) will conclude the day’s activities with a discussion of innovative approaches to environmental history.


9:30     Opening Remarks

9:45-11:00 Panel 1: Producing and Extracting Expertise

Chair: Gabriel Lee (Yale)

Phoebe Springstubb (MIT), “’To examine mountains with microscopes’: Gillespie of Torbanehill v. Russel and Son, Coal Masters, 1853”

Michael Simpson (Brown), “’All the Drugs of Alexandria’: The Indigenous Influence on the Atlantic Medical Complex”

Yuting Dong (Harvard): “The Production of Expertise in Colonial Manchuria in Japan’s Empire (1905-1945)”

Comment: Harriet Ritvo (MIT)

11:00   Coffee Break

11:20-12:35     Panel 2: Landscapes of Violence, Spaces of Resistance

Chair: Amity Doolittle (Yale)

Robby Zeinstra (Princeton): “Bush War: Scoutcraft, Environmental Knowledge, and Ancestral Guidance in Zimbabwe: 1975-1980”

Sam Hege (Rutgers): “’When Such Nauseating Odors Prevail’: Race and the Emergence of the World’s Cattle Feeding Capital, 1920-1971”

Fernando Amador (Stony Brook): “An Absentful Landscape: Migratory and Environmental Transformations in Rural Mexico”

Comment: James McCann (Boston University)

12:35   Buffet Lunch (free for all registered participants)

1:45-3:35 Panel 3: Valuing and Managing Resources

Chair: Peter Perdue (Yale)

James Parker (Northeastern): “Who Deserves the River? The Ewaso Ng’iro and Competing Claims to Water Rights in Late-Colonial Kenya”

Wenjiao Cai (Harvard): “Unlikely Resources: Mudflats and the Making of the Chosŏn-Qing Borderlands”

Anil Askin (Brown): “’They Are Not Worth Eating’: Breed, Logistics, and Infrastructure of Merino Sheep in the Ottoman Empire, 1800-1850”

Arina Mikhalevskaya (Yale): “The Heavenly Horses of Xinjiang: Towards an Environmental History of Chinese Borderlands”

Comment: Laura Martin (Williams College)

3:35  Afternoon Refreshments

4:00-5:15  Faculty panel

Christine DeLucia (Williams College)

Fabian Drixler (Yale University)

Daniel Rodriguez (Brown University)

Contact Info: 

Taylor Rose, Graduate Student Coordinator, Yale Environmental History, environmentalhistory@yale.edu