ESEH Conference: Deadline October 1, 2014

Environmental history has the ambition of changing not only the way we interact with the natural world, but also the ways we are writing and practicing history. In this conference we aim to create conversations about the results of environmental history research and about the process and methods of that research. Through an emphasis on disciplines, methods, and questions, we hope to encourage dialogue with all types of history, other humanities and social sciences, and the natural sciences. Where are we coming from as disciplinary specialists, and how are we organizing the relationships between society and environment? How, as environmental historians, are we changing the way history is written and historical objects interpreted? What is the future of environmental history and the humanities at a time when we are confronted with environmental and climate challenges that could push to reframe the divide between natural sciences and the humanities and social sciences?

The Program Committee welcomes contributions that address the environmental history of any period or place, and the conference is open to scholars from all disciplines and backgrounds. In particular, we hope to see a large number of submissions from graduate students and early career scholars. Because of the conference’s focus on disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, we are also interested in receiving proposals that directly address methods and approaches, and that could launch fruitful conversations across disciplines. We will have regular paper sessions, roundtables, a poster session, and the opportunity to apply for “experimental” format sessions.

Finally, we encourage the submission of papers and sessions that can connect our discussions more directly to the landscape and history of our location, and to current concerns. Our setting in Versailles encourages discussions of the pre-modern past, and connections between landscape and political and royal power, and recent extreme events in Northern Europe suggest that discussions of hydrology, flooding, and resilience and fragility of natural and human systems could yield fruitful discussions. The connection of Versailles to multiple attempts to restructure Europe also invites discussions of modern political bodies and their impact on environmental practices and infrastructures. Finally, this conference will take place in France during the centennial of WWI, and the committee is especially interested inviting papers that address the environmental contexts of that conflict. We encourage both panels and individual paper proposals dealing with all aspects of the relationship between the war, landscape, power, and the environment.

Deadline for submissions: Proposals are due no later than October 1, 2014

Submitting a Proposal
Please submit your proposal through the forms available on this website.
All questions about proposals should be sent to conference [at]

The conference language is English. Submissions and presentations in other languages cannot be accepted.

*Note—due to a limited number of sessions, individual scholars can only submit in one category (paper, roundtable, or poster) though individuals can appear as chair (not commenter) of a second session. This is to ensure diversity and breadth of participation.

Presentation formats

Paper Sessions
Sessions will be 90 minutes, and can thus consist of either three papers of not more than 20 minutes each, or four papers of not more than 15 minutes each. Note: in this context, formal comments count as papers, and all sessions should include sufficient time for general discussion. Session proposals should include the proposed session title, a list of contributors and a chair, and individual paper titles. Decisions about sessions will be based not only on the strengths of individual papers but also on the cohesiveness and energy of the entire session. Sessions will be accepted either in their entirety or not at all.

Scholars can also propose 90-minute roundtables, which differ in form and goal from regular paper sessions. Roundtables are panels ranging from 3-6 people and a chair who speak to a common question or theme. Successful roundtables involve interaction between the panelists, the active involvement of the chair in shaping the conversation, and ample time for the audience to interact with the panel and pose questions.

Individual Papers
We are also accepting proposals for individual papers (of 20 minutes each), which will be combined into sessions of three papers in case of acceptance. The scientific committee would like to encourage scholars who do not have a full session assembled or who are interested in engaging with new partnerships and connections to submit individual paper proposals, which will be given equal consideration as full sessions.

Posters will be on display during the conference and authors will have an opportunity to introduce their research in brief (approx. three minute) oral presentations in a special plenary session.

We also welcome sessions that explore new ways of communicating research findings and alternative formats that involve a more interactive element, along with a higher level of audience involvement, than conventional sessions.

Program Committee
Ellen Arnold, USA (Chair) conference [at]
Federico Paolini, Italy
Bo Poulsen, Denmark
Kathleen Pribyl, UK
Martin Schmid, Austria

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