Envirotech Parr Travel award for SHOT in Milan, applications due August 15

The Joy Parr Envirotech Travel Award is a grant of $400 toward the costs of attending the annual meetings of the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) and the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). The award is named in honor of the eminent Canadian historian of work, gender, and technology Joy Parr.

Eligibility for the award is limited to those presenting a paper or poster at the meeting addressing the interrelated histories of environment and technology. The grant is available to current graduate students, recent PhDs (within the past three years) and independent scholars. The winner will receive a check for $400 at the Envirotech breakfast meeting at the conference.

Applicants should complete the linked questionnaire and email it along with a 1-page CV to envirotechtravelaward@gmail.com.

Applications for the travel grant for the upcoming SHOT conference in Milan, Italy, on October 24-27, 2018, are due by August 15, 2019.

Call for proposals – Envirotech Workshop at SHOT in Milan, 27 October 2019

The Envirotech SIG invites proposals for lightning presentations (8 minutes followed by Q&A) at a special workshop session on Envirotech history to be held at the SHOT conference in Milan on Sunday, 27 October 2019, 9:30am-12:30pm. The workshop will also feature a roundtable discussion on the state of the art in envirotech history.

All subjects are welcome for the lightning presentations, but presenters are especially encouraged to focus on a particular primary source (text, image, object, etc.) that they deem useful for thinking about Envirotech in comparative or global perspective. 

Submissions for the lightning presentations should be sent in the form of a title and abstract (up to 200 words) to Etienne Benson (ebenson@upenn.edu) and Aleksandra Kobiljski (aleksandra.kobiljski@ehess.fr) by 15 August 2019. Presenters will be notified of decisions by 31 August 2019.


This special Sunday workshop will be in addition to the usual Envirotech breakfast, which will be held on Saturday morning. If you plan to attend both, be sure to check the boxes for both events when registering.

Call for 2019 Joel Tarr Envirotech Article Prize Nominations

Envirotech, a special interest group within the Society for the History of Technology and the American Society for Environmental History, invites nominations for the 2019 Joel A. Tarr Envirotech Article Prize. The Tarr Prize recognizes the best article published in either a journal or article collection on the relationship between technology and the environment in history.


To be eligible for this prize, the article must have been published between October 1, 2017, and March 31, 2019. Articles originally published in any language are welcome, but applicants must provide a translation of non-English articles. The Tarr Prize carries a cash award of $350 and will be conferred at the Society for the History of Technology meeting in Milan, Italy, October 24-27, 2019.


To apply, send your article and a brief curriculum vitae (one page Word or PDF files only please) to envirotechtarrprize@gmail.com. The deadline for nominations is June 15, 2019. The winner of the prize will be notified by the end of July.

Envirotech 2018 Travel Award

The Envirotech Special Interest Group is pleased to announce the Joy Parr Travel Grant, a $400 travel grant for the upcoming SHOT conference in St. Louis on October 11-14, 2018. The application is due by Friday, August 17, 2018.

Eligibility for the award is limited to those presenting a paper or poster at the meeting addressing the interrelated histories of environment and technology. The grant is available to current graduate students, recent PhDs (within the past three years) and independent scholars. The winner will receive a check for $400 at the Envirotech breakfast meeting during the conference.

Applicants should complete the linked questionnaire and email it along with a one to two page CV to envirotechtravelaward2018@gmail.com. Any questions can be sent to Etienne Benson and John Baeten at the same address. For more information about Envirotech, please visit our website at http://www.envirotechhistory.org/.

Announcing the 2017 Envirotech Tarr Article Prize Winner

Envirotech is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016-2017 Joel A. Tarr Prize. As envirotech grows as a field, so does the breadth and depth of its scholarship. This year’s Tarr Prize submissions included a wealth of articles that offered new directions in fielddefining topics like risk, infrastructure, and pollution. The submissions also touched on newer areas of historical research and showed the range of topics withinenvirotech, as well as how an envirotechnical focus can enrich other areas of historical inquiry and shed light on contemporary problems. The submissions spanned the globe—indeed, even extending beyond the earth—across a wide historical time period and represented scholars from a wide range of institutions and career stages. 

Amidst this exceptionally strong field, the committee, Etienne Benson, Aleksandra Kobiljski, and Kellen Backer, selected Camille Cole’s “Precarious Empires: A Social and Environmental History of Steam Navigation on the Tigris,” as the prize winner. Cole’s work links the history of technology, environmental history, and the history of empire through a case study of the steamship in Southern Iraq. Based on a rich array of archival sources in multiple languages,it is also historiographically engaged and brings an envirotechnical focus to a region that has received too little attention.The article follows steamships entering the Tigris, showing how they were transformative, even if not in the ways intended. The idea of precariousness stands at the core of Cole’s study, showing howenvironmental and social conditions helped to create an empire that was difficult to control—both for the British and for the Ottoman empires. Alluvial and marsh environments undermined steamships at the same time that steamships created new avenues for empires to expand, while also providing new opportunities for tribal polities and the local shipping industry. Cole’s work complicates the story of imperial technologies by showing howin this instance, steamships were “not conquering, but not quite conquered by the river or the marsh-based tribal polities.”  It is an impressive study that opens up new pathways for envirotech historians to pursue. 

Envirotech 2017 ASEH Travel Grant

The Envirotech Special Interest Group is pleased to announce the Joy Parr Travel Grant for the upcoming 2017 American Society for Environmental History conference. Eligibility for the award is limited to those presenting a paper addressing the interrelated histories of environment and technology at the ASEH meeting in Chicago March 29 – April 2, 2017. The grant is available to current graduate students, recent Ph.D.s (earned within three years), and independent scholars. The application is due by Wednesday, March 15, 2017. The winner will receive a check for $400 at the Envirotech breakfast meeting during the conference.

Applicants should complete the attached questionnaire and email it along with a one or two page C.V. to envirotechtravelaward@gmail.com. Any questions should be addressed to Kellen Backer and submitted by email to envirotechtravelaward@gmail.com.

Application form.

Envirotech 2016 ASEH Travel Grant

The Envirotech Special Interest Group is pleased to announce a $400 travel grant for the upcoming 2016 American Society for Environmental History conference. Eligibility for the award is limited to those presenting a paper addressing the interrelated histories of environment and technology at the ASEH meeting in Seattle, WA on March 30–April 3. The grant is available to current graduate students, recent Ph.D.s (earned within three years) and independent scholars. The application is due by Monday, March 14, 2016. The winner will receive a check for $400 at the Envirotech breakfast meeting during the conference.

Applicants should complete the attached questionnaire and email it along with a one or two page C.V. to envirotechtravelaward@gmail.com. Any questions should be addressed to Kellen Backer and submitted by email to envirotechtravelaward@gmail.com.

Call for Nominations: 2015 Joel A. Tarr Envirotech Article Prize

Envirotech, a special interest group within the Society for the History of Technology and the American Society for Environmental History, invites nominations for the 2015 Joel A. Tarr Envirotech Article Prize. The Tarr Prize recognizes the best article published in either a journal or article collection on the relationship between technology and the environment in the past. The prize committee will consider all publications that address the intersections of environment and technology and is particularly interested in those that give new insights into interactions between histories and their publics. Articles originally published in any language are welcome, but applicants must provide a translation of non-English articles. To be eligible for the 2015 prize, the article must be published between June 16, 2014 and November 15, 2015.

The Tarr Prize carries a cash award of $350 and will be conferred at the American Society for Environmental History meeting in Seattle, Washington.

Send one copy of your article and a brief curriculum vitae (one page Word or PDF files only please) to tarrprize2015@gmail.com to be considered. The deadline for submissions is December 18, 2015. Winners will be announced in early February.

CFP: Technology, Environment and Modern Britain

This is a call for papers for a workshop that will explore the intersections of history of technology and environmental history in modern British contexts. “It can be difficult to write environmental history without paying at least passing attention to technology”, noted Jeffrey K. Stine and Joel A. Tarr over a decade ago, in a ground-breaking survey article, “Conversely, it can also be difficult to write technological history without touching on some environmental element”. This entanglement has remained the case even as both historical specialties have explored an increasing diversity of technologies and environments. Yet it is also true to say that both specialties have taken different, perhaps more expansive, trajectories in the United States and continental Europe than in Britain, both as a location for writing and as a topic of study.

We are inspired by a number of exciting investigations. For example, Harriet Ritvo located the dawn of modern environmentalism in the conflict to secure Thirlmere in the Lake District for Manchester’s technological system of water supply; Richard Grove, on the other hand, identifies British imperial contexts in his answer to the same question. While historians of the sea, space and polar regions have explored life-preserving, unmistakeably technologically-mediated environments, technologies also frame all aspects of British encounters with nature and environment. Wilderness, however, is not our theme: from Arthur Tansley’s opening observation in The British Islands and their Vegetation (1939), that his topic was thoroughly “semi-natural”, through Oliver Rackham’s distinctive insistence on the human-made history of woodland, there has been recognition of the deep artificiality of British environments. In the nineteenth and especially twentieth centuries, the industrialisation of organisms, for food, sewage and materials, has gathered pace. What are their histories? Bill Luckin has traced the environmental histories of London’s air and river, but what are the histories of intersections between urban technology and environment in other cities? With the motorcar, did the contrast between city and countryside, the cultural power of which was dissected so well by Raymond Williams, falter? One kind of answer might be found in the rich history explored by David Matless, for one country, in Landscape and Englishness. There are histories of environment and technology from above (Kitty Hauser’s Bloody Old Britain) and below (Ted Nield, Underlands).

This intersection of subjects will necessarily draw on studies from different scholarly specialties: general history, the cluster around the crossroads of “Science and Technology Studies” (STS, including the history and sociology of science and technology), historical geography, and environmental history. This call for papers recognises this fact, while seeking to focus discussion productively by asking for papers that satisfy all three of the following criteria: a) papers that take a primarily historical approach, b) papers that focus on Britain, broadly understood, and c) papers that discuss both technology and environment.

Possible subjects include, but are not restricted to:

  • Technological systems and their environments. Technological systems (in Thomas P. Hughes’s sense), include: networks of light and power, water, sewerage, communication, roads, rail and flight
  • Urban environments, artificial/natural
  • Industrialised organisms in countryside and city
  • Domestication of nature and technology
  • Evolutionary history (in Edmund Russell’s sense) of modern Britain
  • Infrastructures and pathogens, air and pollution, gardens and weeds
  • Bureaucracy (the ‘Government Machine’), nature and conservation
  • Maintenance
  • Agency as a historiographical issue in history of technology and environmental history
  • Comparative national (and transnational) historiographies of technology/environment as steps towards a critical historiography of the technologies and environments of modern Britain

Technology, Environment and Modern Britain will take place at UCL on Wednesday 27 April 2016. Registration will be free.

We invite proposals for thirty-minute papers. Proposals of no more than 350 words, together with the name and institutional affiliation of the speaker should be sent to Jacob Ward at jacob.ward.12@ucl.ac.uk. The closing date for submissions is 1 December 2015.

The workshop is convened by Jon Agar, Professor of Science and Technology Studies, UCL and Jacob Ward, Doctoral Candidate, UCL/The Science Museum.

Kind regards,

Jon Agar and Jacob Ward

Announcement: Special Issue on Histories of Transport, Mobility and Environment

It is a pleasure to announce the publication of the special issue of the Journal of Transport History on the histories of transport, mobility, and environment. Please find the table of contents below or visit the journal website here.

Thomas Zeller, University of Maryland, Guest Editor (tzeller@umd.edu)

Journal of Transport History
Volume 35, Number 2, December 2014
Histories of Transport, Mobility and Environment

Thomas Zeller, “Editorial: Histories of Transport, Mobility and Environment,” iii-v.

Victor Seow, “Socialist drive: The First Auto Works and the contradictions of connectivity in the early People’s Republic of China,” 145-161.

Cory Parker, “Negotiating the waters: Canoe and steamship mobility in the Pacific Northwest,” 162-182.

Christopher Wells, “Rebuilding the city, leaving it behind: Transportation and the environmental crisis in turn-of-the-century American cities,” 183-199.

Eike-Christian Heine, “Connect and divide: On the history of the Kiel Canal,” 200-219.

Thomas Robertson, “The bird’s-eye view: Toward an environmental history of aviation,” 220-224.

Matthew K. Chew, “A picture worth forty-one words: Charles Elton, introduced species and the 1936 Admiralty map of British Empire shipping,” 225-235.

Christopher F. Jones, “Landscapes of intensification: Transport and energy in the U.S. mid-Atlantic, 1820-1930,” 236-241.