Seeing the Woods

A blog by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society


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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.


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Five Minutes with a Fellow: Ryan Jones

Five Minutes with a Fellow offers a brief glimpse into what inspires researchers in the environmental humanities. The interviews feature current and former fellows from the Rachel Carson Center.

Ryan was a Carson fellow in the summer of 2017.

 

Ryan Jones

Ryan graduated with a BA in German history from Walla Walla College (Washington State, USA) in 1998, before sojourning in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kamchatka to learn Russian and witness the chaos of the Yeltsin years. He returned to the US and completed his PhD in global history at Columbia University in 2008. His research inspierd an interest in the Pacific and took him to the University of Auckland, where he taught Pacific and environmental history. Ryan began research on the Pacific and history of whaling, working with marine biologists and policymakers. He also began research for his current book project: a global environmental history of Russian and Soviet whaling. He now teaches at the University of Oregon.

 

How does your research contribute to discussions around solving environmental challenges?

My research tries to give historical depth to understandings of the ocean. A perspective from the humanities allows us to understand just what happened to the oceans; why humans made the choices that they made; how they interact or fail to interact with the oceans in certain ways. What the barriers are to sustainability, what the (international) challenges are.

So there are two things. First, to try to get a deeper sense of oceanic ecosystems, which is particularly difficult and requires interdisciplinary work. But my research also contributes to these discussions more in the realm of the humanities in order to understand emotional, legal, and societal relationships to the oceans. Continue reading


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Call for Candidates: Doctoral Program Environment and Society

You can download the pdf of this call here.

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The Doctoral Program in Environment and Society invites applications from graduates in
the humanities and social sciences who wish to research the complex relationships between environment and society within an interdisciplinary setting. Our program is based at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC), a joint initiative of LMU Munich and the Deutsches Museum. The RCC is an international center for research and education in the environmental humanities and social sciences: its mission is to advance research and discussion concerning the interrelationship between humans and nature.

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Day 7. Danube Excursion: Bratislava—Munich

by Lea Wiser


Bratislava → Munich


 

Spending a night on a boat and waking up to views over the glimmering river is not something that happens every day. After a long night, a hearty breakfast helped us to regain our energy for the last guided tour with Peter Pisut, who specializes in the historical geography of Slovak rivers. Even though we did not have much time, it is mandatory to walk up to Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the Danube.

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Uses of Environmental History: Sandra Swart

This is the final post in the uses of environmental history series. The series has been adapted from contributions to a roundtable forum published in the first issue of the new Journal for Ecological History, edited by Renmin University’s Center for Ecological History.


“Feral Historians?”

By Sandra Swart

The greatest strength we have as historians—our secret superpower—is the ability to take an apparently immutable existing status quo and show that “it was not always so.” We can look at the present and expose the seemingly “natural order” for just how “unnatural” (how anthropogenically constructed) it really is. For example, gender historians have exploded the static, apparently unchanging, and ostensibly biological dualism between men and women—thereby opening up new ways of understanding the social order. After all, a key value of learning about the past is to defamiliarize the present. To simply know that “it was not always so” is amazingly potent. It can empower humans to challenge the existing order that we are otherwise taught to believe is “natural,” “biological,” “incontrovertible.” If it has changed before, it can be changed further.

Yet if this ability to complicate the seemingly natural is our superpower, it is also our kryptonite. Many historians have been effectively self-silenced in today’s debate over critical environmental issues simply because we do not think or communicate in soundbites. We’re trained to understand nuance, uncover complexity, and eschew partisanship. These are some of our fundamental values as a discipline and I am not suggesting we jettison them—but I do think we leave too much of our research to be interpreted by interlocutors and politicians. Instead, we need to insert ourselves into those public debates. The role of professional historians in the making of public policy is a contested terrain. We need to extend our home ranges and escape the safely domesticated university, where we feel at home and where there’s always a warm fire and a bowl of milk. We must run feral in the wilder public spaces. Continue reading


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Day 6. Danube Excursion: Vienna—Bratislava

by Laura Kuen


Vienna → Orth → Gabčíkovo → Bratislava


Traveling from Vienna to Bratislava, our day’s topics branched in quite different directions: water power and nature conservation. We first visited the Austrian National Park Donau-Auen in Orth and later the Gabčíkovo Dams, Slovakia’s biggest hydroelectric plant.

Conservation in the Donau-Auen

The national park, which spans the distance between Vienna and Bratislava, finds its roots in a story of resistance, years of struggle, and constant negotiations between opposing forces. Our guide, Manfred Rosenberger, whose personal biography is deeply interwoven with the park, vividly recounted the park’s history.

Karte_nationalpark_donau_auen

Map of the Donau-Auen National Park, reaching from Vienna to the Slovakian border near Bratislava.

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Day 4. Danube Excursion: Linz—Krems

by Stefan Bitsch


Linz → Hütting → Grein → Melk → Krems


Dangers of the Danube: Floods and Rapids throughout History

On the fourth day of our excursion, the group had the opportunity to learn from Christian Rohr (University of Bern) and Severin Hohensinner (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna), who shared their expertise with us during the various stops along the way.

Hütting and the Machland Dam

The first series of stops were concentrated around the small town of Hütting, part of the longest connected dam-building program in Central Europe, which cost around €180 million and was completed in 2012. Forty-five kilometers of dams and flood retention areas now follow the course of the Danube in this region. The area has a long history of flooding, and the town has learned how to deal with these events over time.

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