Announcing the publication of World History Connected 18.2 : The Environment and Ecology in World History and more

Marc Gilbert's picture
October 1, 2021 to October 1, 2022
United States
Subject Fields: 
World History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, History Education, Asian History / Studies, Italian History / Studies

The University of Illinois Press announces the publication of World History Connected, Vol. 18, no. 2. This announcement will devote a very short paragraph on this issue’s chief focus: the environment and ecology, in world history. This is followed by summaries of the Forum’s constituent articles; the related special feature offering a survey of the course of, and discourse over the Earth Day movement; summaries of the individual articles that take the reader to a globalizing China and Italy and also updates anthropologist James Watson’s classic study, “Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia,” with an exuberance familiar to those readers of Food Historians Candice Goucher, Jonathan Reynolds, and Rick Warner. It then shares the issue’s table of contents, a list of this issues’ book reviews, and information about the journal, including its guide for submissions.


The Forum: Environment and Ecology in the World History

As a new biography reminds us, the former American “First Lady” known as Ladybird Johnson, was an avid botanist and environmentalist during and after she left the White House in 1969. She is credited with coining one of the earliest, simplest and most universal of modern environmentalist aphorisms: “The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” It has taken some time for the literal truth of that statement to strike home to the movers and shakers of humankind, but strike home it did this spring, when it was recognized by the smallest first steps between China and the United States to formally acknowledge just how fragile that environment has become and, by association, how much farther we have to go in terms of the study of ecology.

            As will be noted elsewhere in this issue, ten years ago Micah Muscolino guest edited World History Connected’s first Forum on the environment in world history. In that Forum he referenced historian John R. McNeill, and included an article by Richard Tucker, that became part of a process in which world historians have joined in work once the sole domain of environmental historians: studying and teaching about the “interaction between humans and the natural environment, and assessing how the earth’s environments have conditioned human history and how human action has affected ecological relationships.”

            This issue’s Forum, edited by Brian Holstrom with the blessings of Muscolino, McNeill, and Tucker, includes nine articles that offer rich archival work and innovative teaching methods. The focus of the first two articles by Holstrom, and by Elizabeth Drummond and Amy Woodson writing jointly, provides insight into the challenges and rewards of enriching or restructuring a world history survey around the environment and ecology. Cynthia Ross and Marsha R. Robinson offer original research and lively discussion to the growing number of studies exploring the relationship between colonialism ecology and the environment, while also providing materials necessary to bring their analyses into the classroom.   Mathew Herbst demonstrates how any environment can serve as a basis for experiential learning of historical perspectives on a climate zone many tend to just ignore or avoid, the desert.  His article is followed by Chris Tiegreen and Beth Petitjean’s articles which offer case studies of late medieval and early modern Italian environmental policies and water management with world history ramifications, one heavenly and the other material. Petitjean provides student group activities as part of a five-option package that includes online learning exercises. John Maunu’s database of digital resources supporting the Forum includes material for teaching and learning about the current debates surrounding environmental movements and ecological concerns.

Special Feature

The Forum is followed by a related Special Feature, a public lecture by world and environmental historian Sarah Hamilton, “Earth Day 2021: Reflecting on the Past, Looking to the Future” in which she briefly traces the evolution of the Earth Day, its growth and its critics.

Individual Articles

Thomas Mounkhall’s article is related to the Forum articles by Tiegreen and Petitjean in that they all focus on Italy, with Mounkhall contributing to the extensive section of Pettitjean’s classroom approaches and exercises. Mounkhall uses his own dramatic photographs of local architecture and related classroom activities to identify the influence of trans-regional linkages in world history from trade to cultural diffusion that connected northern Italy and Venice to the rest of the world.

Table of Contents

Brief Summary of the Issue

Marc Jason Gilbert

Forum: Forum: Ecology and the Environment

Guest Editor, Brian Holstrom

Introduction to the Forum: The Case for Ecology and the Environment in World History Instruction

Brian Holstrom

The Case for Ecology and the Environment in World History Instruction

Brian Holstrom

Teaching Modern World History, Or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Urgency of Climate Change

Elizabeth Drummond and Amy Woodson-Boulton

Ecological Imperialism in an Occupied Landscape: Tangantangan and the Tropical Forest

Cynthia Ross

Recharging the Sahara Desert for a Peace Dividend: No Longer Victor Levasseur’s 19th-Century Pipe Dream

Marsha R. Robinson

God, Satan, and Freshmen in the Deserts of California

Matthew Herbst

Following the Template of Heaven: Environmental Policies in Medieval Italy

Chris Tiegreen

Sustaining Thermal Water in Early Modern Tuscany

Beth Petitjean

Digital Resources for Teaching the Environment and Sustainability in World History

John Maunu

Individual Articles

Northern Italy and Venice in World History Perspective

Thomas Mounkhall

Fast Food for Thought: Finding Global History in a Beijing McDonald’s   

Thomas David Dubois

Book Reviews

Sharika D. Crawford, The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean:  Waterscapes of Labor, Conservation, and Boundary Making. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020.

Candice Goucher

Janne Lahti and Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, Editors. Cinematic Settlers: The Settler Colonial World in Film. New York: Routledge, 2020.

Heena Mistry

Michael Christopher Low. Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

Dave Neumann

Andrew B. Liu, Tea War: A History of Capitalism in India and China. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020.

Kit Wainer

Timothy Brook, Great State: China and the World, New York: HarperCollins, 2020.

Reid Wyatt

Books available for Review

About the Journal and Author’s Submissions

Throughout its fifteen-year history World History Connected (ISSN 1931-8642) has been devoted to research and the scholarship of teaching history. Its title reflects the journal’s commitment to assisting both scholars and practitioners to invigorate and expand the reach of research and the teaching of world history and global studies. It guest editors and editorial staff include past (and now in-coming) presidents of the World History Association and award-winning history educators at all levels of instruction.

            The journal’s publisher, the University of Illinois Press, estimates that it currently serves 1.85 million discreet readers of at least two articles annually and receives 6 million visitors to its website. The journal welcomes submissions of articles and book reviews on any subject germane to world history including (a) essays on the state of the field; (b) case studies, or topical overviews which cross regional boundaries to examine such issues as gender, technology, demography, social structure, or political legitimacy; and (c) the evaluation of curriculum and innovative instructional methodology. The journal also seeks peer reviewers to analyze recently published titles in the field of world history. The journal is open-sourced (free): its staff and contributors are not compensated for their work, and it is funded by individual contributions and organizations committed to advancing its goals. It accepts no paid advertising.

            Prospective authors should read, and incorporate into their submissions, the guidelines provided at All submissions are subject to double-blind peer review. World History Connected reserves the right to decline to publish any submission. Submissions to World History Connected must follow the guidelines provided at Individual articles should be sent to the Editor, Marc Jason Gilbert  Forum articles (articles on a topical issue) should be sent to the Guest Editor (s) at [names and emails of Guest Editor(s) entered here]. Requirements include double-spacing in MS Word, with endnotes (Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition), no title page, and a short biography (150 words) similar to that found at the end of the body of all WHC articles. Submitted articles should be more than 3,000 words, with the upper limit of 10,000 words. World History Connected reserves the right to decline to publish any submission.

     World History Connected (ISSN 1931-8642) annually reaches 1.85 million “readers” (readers of more than two articles) and attracts 6 million visits to its website. It publishes Forums, individual articles, book reviews, and lists of books available for review 3 times a year: Winter (approximately February-March), Summer (approximately June-July), and Fall (approximately October-November) that address any topic of interest to researchers and practitioners of world history. General inquiries can be sent to the Editor, Marc Jason Gilbert at  Book review correspondence should be directed to the Book Editor, Cynthia Ross, at


Contact Info: 

Marc Jason Gilbert, PhD

Emeritus Professor of History

Editor of World History Connected

Hawai’i Pacific University

College of Liberal Arts

Department of History, Humanities and  and International Studies

500 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 6-313

Contact Email: