Seeing the Woods

A blog by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society


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Call for Papers: The Environmental History of the Pacific World

Conference – Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China

24 May – 26 May 2018

Location: Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China

Sponsors: The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich; Department of History and The Center for Oceania Studies, Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou; The Center for Ecological History, Renmin University of China, Beijing.

pacific world

The Pacific Ocean is the ancient outcome of plate tectonic movement, creating one of the largest eco-regions on earth. Although navigators explored those waters early on, and peoples spread to all the ocean’s shores and penetrated as far into the center as the Hawaiian archipelago, it was not until the 16th century that the great body of water was discovered as a whole and mapped at a global scale. Since then, the Pacific has become a place of increasing human-nature interaction—through international trade, warfare, cultural interchange, and extraction of resources. Our conference aims to bring this ocean more fully into the discourse of environmental historians.

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Day 3. Danube Excursion: Passau—Linz

by Lea Wiser


Passau → Linz


Our third day on the Danube excursion was both eventful and thought provoking, packed with activities covering a broad range of subjects: from environment and sustainability to modern history and the Nazi regime, to where these two subjects intersect—the city of Linz.

Jochenstein

Our first stops, the Donaukraftwerk in Jochenstein and Haus am Strom in Untergriesbach, were already familiar to us, but during this visit we were able to admire the views from the other side of the Danube. On the way, we passed the Schlögener Schlinge, a meandering part of the river that created a loess-rich agricultural land below the steep slopes of the Bohemian Massif.

jochenstein bridge

Hydropower plant Jochenstein. The German-Austrian border runs through the center of the structure.

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Household Consumption and Environmental Change in the Twentieth Century

30–31 May 2017, Bologna, Italy

In May 2017, the University of Bologna’s Department of History and Culture hosted a workshop entitled “Household Consumption and Environmental Change in the Twentieth Century.” The workshop was co-convened by RCC alumnus Giacomo Parrinello (Sciences Po, Paris) and professor of contemporary history Paolo Capuzzo (University of Bologna). The event was co-sponsored by the RCC and the University of Bologna. Twelve scholars from the US, Germany, and Italy convened to discuss the links between consumer culture (and practices) in the household and ecological transformations on multiple spatial and temporal scales.

By Giacomo Parrinello

Rikki_Chan

The papers, all pre-circulated in advance, were grouped into three panels: food and the kitchen, household technologies, and energy and the home. The three panels were preceded by an introduction by the conveners, which presented the central concern of the workshop: the apparent contradiction between awareness of negative ecological impact of mass consumption and the affects and identities embedded in consumer practices. Continue reading


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Making Tracks: Sarah Strauss

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.

“Hither and Yon—All roads lead to Munich?”

by Sarah Strauss

It’s really all about the stories. I started my academic career thinking I would be a biomedical researcher, perhaps also a physician, and spend my life in a lab. While taking the necessary science courses, I sought distraction and pleasure (two good warning signs for a need to switch paths) through courses in literature, philosophy, and comparative religion; big ideas like truth and beauty were exciting, but to me, the most interesting parts of these courses focused on the stories people tell. How do people in different cultures make sense of the universe in meaningful ways? During the same period, I spent most of my non-academic time hiking or climbing in the mountains, or on the back of a horse.  Ultimately, I discovered the field of medical anthropology, and realized that it could allow me to focus on the stories that people tell about health, well-being, and the good life. As a medical anthropologist, I could work to understand what it means to be healthy or ill, not only in biomedical terms, but also from the perspective of the narratives that guide people toward beliefs and practices that they expect will give them a good life. Continue reading


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CfP: “From Fossil to Renewable Energies?”

Submissions are invited for a one-day workshop entitled “From Fossil to Renewable Energies? Energy Regimes, the Environment and International Relations, 1970s to Today”.

The Workshop will take place in Bologna in May 2014 (exact date and location to be confirmed), and will be divided in two panels, one focused on the impact of energy issues on international relations and the other devoted to studies on environmental history.

Proposals should consist of a 400-word abstract of the proposed paper and a one-page CV. The deadline for submission is 1 October 2013.

For more information, please click here.