Call for Papers: Migrations, Crossings, Unintended Destinations: Ecological Transfers across the Indian Ocean 1850–1920

Workshop

10 October – 12 October 2018

Location: Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany

Conveners: Ulrike Kirchberger (Kassel University), Christof Mauch (RCC)

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In the age of high imperialism, thousands of species of plants and animals were transferred between Australia, Asia, and Africa. Some of them were exchanged deliberately for economic, scientific, or aesthetic reasons. European settlers, for example, transported cattle, horses, and sheep between South Africa, Asia, and Australia; camels were exported from Northern India to Australia; and exotic birds from South Asia, such as, for example, the Myna bird, were taken to Australia and South Africa. Other species traveled between the continents accidentally, as stowaways. Whether intentional or not, these transfers changed ecologies and livelihoods on the three continents forever.

Continue reading “Call for Papers: Migrations, Crossings, Unintended Destinations: Ecological Transfers across the Indian Ocean 1850–1920”

Bookshelf Special Feature Part 2: National Park Science

A Review of National Park Science: Jane Carruthers’ Magnum Opus

 by Bernhard Gißibl

Part 1 features Jane Carruthers’ introduction to her book and a comment by Libby Robin. A full review of National Park Science by Bernhard Gißibl will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Environment and History.

Jane Carruthers’ National Park Science is the first comprehensive and authoritative study of the rise of the conservation sciences in South Africa. The book charts the various disciplines that have contributed to the field and situates their development in the national and international processes and constellations that shaped the professionalization and institutionalization of sciences as varied as zoology, botany, animal ecology, invasion biology, and many other, ever more specialized subdisciplines. It is a story of science made in Africa, and is awe inspiring in its interdisciplinarity.

Cover photographDigesting an impressive number of sources from an array of disciplines and archives, Carruthers traces how the raw material of South Africa’s flora and fauna was nurtured in various protected areas, not just national parks. The study shows how protected nature was subjected to thorough analysis by amateurs, hunters, collectors, and, increasingly, university-trained scientists. Hailing from South Africa herself, Carruthers analyzes how the various sciences contributed to the management of these territories, how the management objectives of protected areas shaped the kind of science that could be conducted, and how governmental interests were served by both the protected areas and the sciences they enabled. Continue reading “Bookshelf Special Feature Part 2: National Park Science”

Bookshelf Special Feature Part 1: National Park Science by Jane Carruthers

Jane at opening of A

We were delighted to welcome Jane Carruthers back to the Rachel Carson Center this autumn. Jane has a longstanding relationship with the RCC; she served on its advisory board for six years, the latter three as its chair, and was a great influence on the center in its formative years. She was made an honorary Carson fellow in 2014 in recognition of her enormous contribution to the work of the center. After all the support the RCC has had from Jane, it was a great pleasure for us to host a celebration of the publication of her latest book National Park Science: A Century of Research in South Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2017) here in Munich.

Jane spoke about her book to staff and students as part of our Tuesday Discussion series, and was joined by two other influential environmental historians, Bernhard Gißibl and Libby Robin, who talked us through the contribution that her book makes to the field. We are pleased to present written versions of the three scholars’ remarks on the new book on Seeing the Woods. A full review of National Park Science by Bernhard Gißibl will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Environment and History, an edited draft of which will be featured here on Seeing the Woods next week.

(*These are edited versions of the talks presented at the Tuesday Discussion. All photos are courtesy of Jane Carruthers.)

Continue reading “Bookshelf Special Feature Part 1: National Park Science by Jane Carruthers”

Tales from Piplantri

“A Fable for Today…”

By Vidya Sarveswaran

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Way to Piplantri: the road not taken…

We are just beginning to hear the murmurs of a nervous street. The sky above is like handmade parchment. Powder blue with swirls of crimped clouds. The air is heavy with the cloying smell of equally heavy flowers that attract snakes. But they do not worry about snakes here. This is the land of the brave desert warriors. Rajasthan, a state in the northwest of India and the only desert state in the country.

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Cow lounging in the marble dust!

Our dusty SUV swerves around to avoid a cow, who looks rather annoyed that we are in her way. We wait for our escort, Champalal: he arrives on his noisy Royal Enfield Bullet motorbike wearing a blood-red turban and an obsequious smile. As we drive through several alleys of this town called Piplantri in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, we cannot help but notice the squeaky clean roads, the vibrant signposts and wall graffiti drawn by the children of the village. The houses that pass us are all splendidly bright and wear a medieval look. And suddenly, the motorbike is lost in the raucous voices of villagers and vendors who have all come out to meet us.

Continue reading “Tales from Piplantri”

Doktorandentag 2017!

Eight new members of the RCC’s doctoral program and two visiting doctoral students presented their projects at the center’s annual “Doktorandentag.” Organized and moderated by members of the program, the format allowed each student to present a *snapshot* of their research followed by a discussion with their peers, doctoral program board members, RCC fellows, and staff. Eight different nationalities, at least six different disciplines/interdisciplines, and 10 very different topics made for a fascinating and enriching day for everyone involved!

Asia and the Pacific: Environments—Cultures—Histories

Workshop Report (LMU-ChAN Satellite Conference, 3–5 November 2017, Rachel Carson Center, Munich, Germany)

by Travis Klingberg

(All sketches by Libby Robin)

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Group picture of the workshop participants.

Flood-proof cities. The social costs of waste incineration. Water level changes in the Pearl River Delta. The environmental impact of nineteenth-century Chinese immigration across the Pacific. These are a sample of the topics discussed during the “Asia and the Pacific” workshop, hosted by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in early November.

The workshop was was organized by the Rachel Carson Center in collaboration with the LMU China Academic Network (LMU-ChAN) and it received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service. Continue reading “Asia and the Pacific: Environments—Cultures—Histories”

CfA: RCC Fellowships 2018–2019

RCC staff and fellows

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society invites applications for its 2018–19 cohort of postdoctoral and senior fellows. The RCC’s fellowship program is designed to bring together excellent scholars who are working in environmental history and related disciplines.

The center will award fellowships to scholars from a variety of countries and disciplines. Applicants’ research and writing should pertain to the central theme of the RCC—transformations in environment and society. Research at the RCC is concerned with questions of the interrelationship between environmental and social changes, and in particular the reasons—social, political, cultural, and environmental factors—for these transformations.

The RCC awards four types of fellowships:

  • Carson Writing Fellowships
  • Interdisciplinary Writing Fellowships
  • Outreach Fellowships
  • Short-Term Fellowships

All fellows are expected to spend their fellowship in residence, to work on a major project, to participate actively in life at the RCC, to attend the weekly lunchtime colloquium, and to present their project at the center. Please note that the RCC does not sponsor field trips or archival research for any of the fellowship types.

Carson Writing Fellowships
These fellowships are at the center of our fellowship program and are awarded to scholars aiming to complete several major articles or a book project in the environmental humanities.

Interdisciplinary Writing Fellowships
To promote cooperation across disciplinary boundaries, we invite applications for interdisciplinary writing fellowships. Scholars from the humanities are invited to apply jointly with scholars from the sciences or field practitioners with the purpose of authoring a collaborative project. These fellowships are only intended for writing.

Applicants for interdisciplinary writing fellowships must apply together from at least two separate institutions or organizations. It would be advantageous if one of these institutions is LMU Munich or another Munich-based organization. Please note that funding will only be awarded to the non-Munich partners. All members of the collaboration should plan to be in residence in Munich at the same time. If applying with a LMU scholar, please include a letter of support from this scholar.

Outreach Fellowships
Outreach fellowships are intended for candidates whose work promotes public engagement with the topic of transformations in environment and society. We invite applications from documentary filmmakers and writers in particular.

Short-term Fellowships
Short-term fellowships (up to 3 months) are designed to encourage genuinely explorative partnerships and dialogue across disciplinary divides and between theory and practice. Scholars on short-term fellowships come to Munich to develop a specific project—for example, a joint publication, a workshop, or other collaborative research projects.

To Apply:
All successful applicants should plan to begin their fellowship between 1 September 2018 and 1 December 2019; it will not be possible to start a fellowship awarded in this round at a later date. Decisions about the fellowships will be announced in mid-May 2018. Fellowships will usually be granted for periods of 3, 6, 9, or 12 months; short-term fellowships are granted for 1 to 2 months. The RCC will pay for a teaching replacement of the successful candidate at his or her home institution; alternatively, it will pay a stipend that is commensurate with experience and current employment and which also conforms to funding guidelines.

The deadline for applications is 31 January 2018. Applications must be made in our online portal. The application portal will be open from 1 January to 31 January 2018. It closes at midnight (Central European Time) on 31 January.

Candidates are welcome to apply for more than one type of fellowship. In such cases, the candidate should submit a new application for each fellowship type. If successful, the candidate will only be awarded one fellowship.

The application should discuss the RCC’s core research theme “transformations in environment and society” in the project description or the cover letter and should include the following:

• Cover letter (750 words maximum)
• Curriculum vitae (3 pages maximum)
• Project description (1,000 words maximum)
• Research schedule for the fellowship period (300 words maximum)
• Names and contact information of three scholars as referees; these scholars should be people who know you and your work well. Please note that we do not initially require letters, and we may not contact your referees.

Please note that in order to be eligible for all fellowships except the outreach fellowships, you must have completed your doctorate by the application deadline (31 January 2018). Scholars already based in the greater Munich area are not eligible.

You may write your application in either English or German; please use the language in which you are most proficient. You will be notified about the outcome of your application by mid-May 2018.

For more information, please visit the Fellowship Applications – Frequently Asked Questions section of our website. Please consult this section before contacting us with questions.

You can download this call here.