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RCC Newsletter, Issue 25

May 2016


Dear Friends of the RCC,

The new semester at LMU Munich is now well underway, and the RCC is a hive of activity not just for its fellows, but these days also for the many students and doctoral candidates in RCC programs. Recent workshops have brought together scholars from all parts of the world and our newest publications are already being circulated and discussed both digitally and in the classroom. Read on for details!

  1. Recent Events:

    The RCC hosted a workshop Consuming the World exploring how food traditions are influenced by changes in local environmental conditions, as well as being an expression of evolving cultural narratives and desires.

    Men and Nature: Gender, Power, and Environmental Change, also hosted at the RCC, aimed to correct the tendency of environmental studies to focus on women by bringing together academics, artists, and activists to discuss the role of men and masculinities in environmental discourses.

    The RCC co-sponsored a symposium in Sydney together with several Australian universities on Foreign Bodies, Intimate Ecologies: Transformations in Environmental History. Presenters considered the challenge of how to cross established boundaries (temporal, geographical, cultural) in the face of environmental crises.

    Supported by a grant by the DAAD, a group of RCC doctoral students and LMU professors joined members of the Center for Culture, History and Environment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for a place-based workshop exploring the upper Mississippi.

    The RCC sponsored a graduate student workshop in Beijing on Transformations of the Earth together with the Center for Ecological History, Renmin University of China. Several students from the RCC doctoral program (Annka Liepold, Yolanda López-Maldonado, and Martin Mieske) had papers accepted for the workshop.

    Smaller workshops included a visit by two post-doctoral scholars, Wesley Mwatwara and John Agbonifo, together with their mentors, to discuss their work as part of their proposals for a grant supporting research on Subsaharan Africa. Former fellow Greg Cushman organized a workshop and webinar on Phosphorus and the Opening of the Plantationocene, and in an event organized by the RCC’s Environmental Studies Certificate Program, Bronislaw Szerszynski talked about the Anthropocene Monument.

  2. Upcoming Events: 

    Lunchtime Colloquium resumed on 14 April. Upcoming talks include:

    2 June: Alan MacEachern on “Respecting Borders: Two Nations’ Histories of a Natural Disaster”

    9 June: Oliver Richters on “Why Can't We Stop?—A Survey of Growth Imperatives”

    16 June: Vidya Sarveswaran on “Under Another Sky—A Story from Rajasthan”

    23 June: Benjamin Hale on “The Wild and the Wicked: Why You Don't Have to Love Nature to be Green”

    30 June: Arnab Dey on “Unkempt Edens: Tea and the 'Culture' of Commerce in Eastern India, circa 1840–1920”

    7 July: Saskia Beudel on “Science, Imagination and Narrative: Rachel Carson as Interdisciplinary Thinker”

    14 July: Arran Stibbe on “Ecolinguistics: The Search for New Stories to Live By”

    The Green Visions film series for summer semester 2016 features “Green Movements.” It opened on 10 March with How to Change the Worldand continues with documentaries on Slow Food, the Occupy Movement, and the African Green belt movement.

  3. The RCC special exhibition at the Deutsches Museum, “Welcome to the Anthropocene: The Earth in Our Hands,” has been extended until 30 September.
  4. Check out our recent publications! RCC Perspectives 2016/2, “Whose Anthropocene?” revisits Dipesh Chakrabarty’s seminal essay “The Climate of History: Four Theses” and consider the many ways in which Chakrabarty’s arguments both reflect the need to develop new modes of historical thinking in the light of climate change. RCC Perspectives 2016/3, “A Future without Waste?” arose from the research cluster “Waste and Society” of the RCC together with LMU’s Center for Advanced Studies; the essays explore real-world examples of challenges and successes on the way to zero waste. Inwastement: Abfall in Umwelt und Gesellschaft, edited by Jen Kersten, collects additional research from this project.

    The RCC special issue of Global Environment 9.1, edited by Agnes Kneitz, collects selected papers from the conference “The Country and the City” held in Beijing in 2014. The contributions aim to break down the city/country binary and create a more complex understanding of the interconnections between city and countryside.

    Vol. 8 of the RCC series “Environment in History: International Perspectives” published by Berghahn books appeared in March. Disrupted Landscapes: State, Peasants, and the Politics of Land in Postsocialist Romania by Stefan Dorondel traces how the transition from collectivization to privatization profoundly reshaped Romania’s forests, farmlands, and rivers.

  5. Alumni News: RCC associates and former fellows have been busy. Here are some highlights:

    Jon Mathieu presented his new book on the Alps in February at the Deutscher Alpenverein. Ernst Langthaler has published a pioneering study on farming in Nazi Germany entitled Schlachtfelder. John M. Meyer co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory, which also includes contributions by other former fellows. Don Worster’s book Shrinking the Earth: The Rise and Decline of American Abundance has been published, as has The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945 by John R. McNeill (coauthored with Peter Engelke). 

    Former fellows have also been involved with other prestigious projects besides publications: José-Augusto Pádua cofounded the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which opened in December to great acclaim. Together with RCC director Christof Mauch, María Valeria Berros procured funding for a collaborative project on “Rights of Nature in Transatlantic Perspective” of the RCC and the Universidad Nacional del Litoral (UNL) in Santa Fe, Argentina; it is sponsored by BAYLAT, the Bavarian University Center for Latin America. 

    The RCC Society of Fellows took advantage of the ASEH conference in Seattle to hold a reunion. The RCC was well represented at the conference: more than 40 past and current fellows, as well as doctoral students and board members, presented their research or chaired sessions.

  6. Academic programs: Graduating members of the Environmental Studies certificate program will present their final projects on 19 July.

    Certificate program students have the opportunity to participate in a number of workshops in June and July: “Living Well with Worms” (with Jamie Lorimer), “Towards Sustainable Communities” (with Mark Roseland), and “Building an Ecosophy” (with Arran Stibbe). The program’s annual place-based workshop will look at saline and water history in Berchtesgarden / Bad Reichenhall. Certificate students also have the opportunity to join the Tage der Zukunft in Arnoldstein (Austria).

  7. Check out the new virtual exhibition curated by Elin Kelsey on the Environment and Society Portal. It features letters that address the cultural concept of “doom and gloom.” The exhibition seeks to create a more hopeful, solutions-oriented environmental narrative. Readers are invited to submit their own visions of a future “beyond doom and gloom.”

    A new multimedia collection, “Radical Environmental Journals,” presents for the first time, in full text, a nearly complete collection in digital form of the radical journals Earth First!, Wild Earth, ALARM, and Live Wild or Die! These journals were devoted to the idea that every life form and every ecosystem has intrinsic value and a right to live and flourish regardless of human interests. The collection includes an introduction by Bron Taylor.

    Arcadia, the RCC’s and ESEH’s online, peer-reviewed publication platform, is seeking short (750-word) articles spotlighting original research on environmental topics. Learn more about how to contribute to Arcadia.

As always, to stay up-to-date on RCC—check out our website, Facebook page, and blog, or follow us on Twitter.

Best wishes,

The Rachel Carson Center