As both public and scholarly interest increasingly focuses on contemporary environmental issues, the vital importance of studying the environment in pre-industrial societies is often overlooked. To boost the visibility of pre- and early modern environmental history, we invite you to present your research with us in an ASEH panel in Columbus, Ohio during April 10-14, 2019. The panel is tentatively titled “Global Perspectives on Crisis and Space in Pre-industrial Environmental Histories.” 

The key purpose of the panel is to examine new questions innate to the environmental history of the preindustrial world. What are the risks and rewards of “presentism” in pre-industrial environmental history? How can we complicate our understanding of how preindustrial societies understood space and environmental management, and what can we learn from this? What is the potential for environmental historians working on the periods other than the modern to forge their research without reliance upon modern environmental issues? How can we globalize our understanding of the environment in the past? 

Particularly, the panel will explore diverse ideas of environmentally related crisis in the preindustrial world and the strategies that were devised to comprehend, endure, recover, prevent and avoid it. Posing the question of crisis in association with the space, we emphasize the values of socio-political and cultural differences, yet those not confined within the boundaries of the modern nation-states. We seek for discussions of the processes in which local experiences of certain crisis often deemed specific to the pre-industrial environment of a region was integrated, or became silent, in the narratives of large-scale patterns of global environmental history.

Panelists thus far include Jack Bouchard, who will present on the early North Atlantic fisheries, and Hieu Phung Corsi, who will present on water in early modern Vietnam. We’re excited to have Ruth Mostern of the University of Pittsburgh and its World History Center to act as the chair. 

Colleagues working on any geographical regions with interest in any environmental issues, from forestry, land use, soil to water and animals, to name but a few, are welcome. Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words (preferable up to 250 words) to Jack Bouchard (jackbbouchard@gmail.com) and Hieu Phung Corsi (hieumphung@gmail.com) by July 10, 2018