Seeing the Woods

A blog by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society


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Making Tracks: Lisa FitzGerald

In the “Making Tracks” series, RCC fellows and alumni present their experiences in environmental humanities, retracing the paths that led them to the Rachel Carson Center. For more information, please click here.

By Lisa FitzGerald

Environments needle their way into our minds, becoming the settings for our stories but also telling their own tales.

Landscapes push back, shaping our bodies as we move through our lives. As Seamus Heaney wrote, the landscape is “written into your senses from the minute you begin to breathe.”[1] I was raised in Kerry on the west coast of Ireland and that, no doubt, has shaped me. Land positioned on the Atlantic seaboard means a mild and moist climate, battered peninsulas, and roaring tides. It’s where red fuchsias blanket the hedgerows, where ridged and furrowed lazy beds are etched into the landscape. It, too, is etched into and on to my body. Our stories are our engagements with our natural worlds.

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My home place: Ballymacelligott, County Kerry. Photo courtesy of author.

Several years ago, as a fine art undergraduate, I tried to paint pictures that captured that interplay between the body and its subjective environmental experience. I was (in my own mind) painting that effervescent vitality that goes beyond words. For the last several years, theatre, that visceral art medium that involves the artist’s body merging with its surroundings, has been the locus for my exploration of environmental narratives—narratives that are produced as the space around us bears down on our skin, into our senses, and on to our minds. Bodies and space are constantly engaged in the production of a performance, and it is this environment that I review in my recent publication, Re-Place: Irish Theatre Environments. Continue reading


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ProEnviron Presents…

Workshop: Envisioning Environments—Visual Media for the Environmental Humanities

By Arun Adhikari, Maximilian Feichtner, and Fabian Zimmer

“And action!” Katie Ritson, the master of ceremonies for the evening, claps her hands. Gradually, people unglue from the buffet, where they have been busy chatting and grabbing drinks and snacks, and they move to the conference room to find a good place to sit. For some, this means the front row, as they are eager to have a clear view of what they’re about to see; others hurry to find a place somewhere in the back, out of sight. There is a lot of nervous laughter and chuckling. The reason for all the excitement is announced on the folded leaflets lying on every seat: “ProEnviron presents! Short Films from the Envisioning Environments Workshop.”

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CfP: “Transformations of the Earth”—International Graduate Student Workshop in Environmental History

Location: Renmin University, China

Conveners: Christof Mauch (Rachel Carson Center), Mingfang Xia (Renmin University), Donald Worster (Renmin University)

This conference is open to advanced graduate students and early postdocs, regardless of department, discipline, or country. The purpose of the conference is to provide promising, but inexperienced scholars an opportunity to present their work in progress (e.g., a chapter from a dissertation) before an international group of peers and a panel of senior mentors in the field.

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Beijing. Photograph: Flickr, Nikolaj Potanin.

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CfA: RCC Doctoral Program “Environment and Society”

The doctoral program “Environment and Society” invites applications from graduates in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences who wish to research the complex relationships between environment and society on an interdisciplinary basis. Our program is based at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, a joint initiative of LMU Munich and the Deutsches Museum. Within the scope of the program, doctoral students acquire the ability to understand the emergence and interactions of natural and social processes. The stimulating research environment, intensive supervision, and opportunity to form international networks offer excellent conditions for doctoral students.

The program does not offer scholarships for doctoral candidates, but can assist students who apply for external funding: some funding is available for conference travel and archival or field research. Applicants wishing to be admitted to this doctoral program must hold a Master’s degree from a recognized university, show evidence of excellence in their field of study, and present a plan for a doctoral project in one of the following areas or combination of areas: Continue reading


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Job: Research Associate for Environment & Society Portal

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society is seeking a Research Associate to join our small team working on the Environment & Society Portal, the Rachel Carson Center’s gateway to openly accessible resources on the human-environment relationship. This is a part-time (19h/week) position suitable for PhD candidates. The position starts 15 November 2015 or as soon as possible thereafter; the initial contract will be for six months with the possibility of renewal.

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Job: Digital Humanities Research Specialist

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society seeks a part-time digital humanities research specialist to join our small team working on the Environment & Society Portal. This is a flexible, 20h/week position. Negotiable start date between November 2013 and January 2014.

Responsibilities:
• Serve as liaison between the team and the developer; track project development
• Propose future developments based on digital humanities best practices
• Assist team with the more complex features of the Drupal backend
• Contribute to digital environmental humanities scholarship and outreach
• Evaluate, edit, and publish environmental humanities content; opportunity to create content
• Support project director in research and project management activities as required Continue reading


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Danube Floods Present and Past: Exploring Historic Precedents Through the Arcadia project

Post by Andreas Grieger

Germany is currently experiencing record floods along some of its major rivers. Earlier this week, the Danube surpassed its historical flood mark from 1501 and reached an unprecedented height of 12.60m, flooding the entire historic district of the city of Passau. Other Central European countries are also suffering from or are preparing for one of the worst floods in European history.

With its waters rising, the Danube has emerged as a major threat for Central Europe; the flood wave is now reaching Germany’s neighboring country, Austria. As can be seen in a selection of articles from the Arcadia project – a collaboration between the Rachel Carson Center’s Environment & Society Portal and the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) – the Danube and its constant floods have shaped and changed human-nature relations for centuries.

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