Though it departs a bit from this year's theme, I'd like to form a panel that looks at, broadly speaking, the intersections of intellectual and environmental history. How have environments, geographies, landscapes influenced (and been influenced by) ideologies, cultural discourses, and the history of ideas?
Typically, these two areas of inquiry are seen as rather distinct realms, so I thought that a panel on how they intersect and influence one another, not only as historical discourses, but also in "the practice of everyday life," would be an informative venture that might push the boundaries of both fields.
My paper would look at the competing visions of (and for) Ohio Country during the 1780s and 1790s between early settlers/squatters and national leaders, and how those conflicts directly informed the development of the Northwest Land Ordinances, which fundamentally redefined the western landscape. I will attempt to tease out the different understandings and interpretations of the natural world that informed these competing visions, and then show how the geography, both physical and conceptual, laid out by the Land Ordinances definitively redefined the space, linking a specific geographical and environmental understanding to national ideology and identity.
I am looking for two panelists and commentator. Feel free to contact me at the email below.
Joshua J. Jeffers, Ph.D.
Department of History