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Turku Book Prize

The Turku Book Prize is a joint prize of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC). The award is named after the city of Turku, Finland, where it was awarded for the first time at the sixth ESEH Conference in June 2011.

The Turku Book Prize is intended to identify and encourage innovative and well-written scholarship in the field of European environmental history and carries a prize money of €3,000.

Entries must follow these citeria:

  • Single-authored monographs
  • Original work recognizable as European environmental history
  • Published in 2023 or 2024
  • Received by 15 January 2025

The Turku Prize Committee is regularly chaired by a member or alumna of the Rachel Carson Center. Three of its members are nominated by the RCC and two members by the ESEH. The chair of the 2025 committee is Prof. Dr. Melanie Arndt (Freiburg University, Germany).

Applicants must submit three copies* of the monograph by mail to the Rachel Carson Center at the address below, as well as a digital copy (preferably a pdf file) to turku@rcc.lmu.de. If the book is published in a language other than English, please include a one-page English summary.

Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society
Turku Book Prize
Leopoldstrasse 11a
80802 München

*For some publication models (e.g. print on demand, open access), it may be difficult to supply three hard copies of the book. In this event, please contact turku@rcc.lmu.de for advice.

Turku Book Prize 2023

2023 Winner

Turku Book Prize Book Cover The Keys to Bread and WineAgresta, Abigail. The Keys to Bread and Wine: Faith, Nature, and Infrastructure in Late Medieval Valencia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2022.

2023 Finalists:

  • Hardenberg, Wilko Graf von. A Monastery for the Ibex: Conservation, State, and Conflict on the Gran Paradiso, 1919–1949. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.
  • Lehmann, Philipp. Desert Edens: Colonial Climate Engineering in the Age of Anxiety. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2022.
  • Orsini, Davide. The Atomic Archipelago: US Nuclear Submarines and Technopolitics of Risk in Cold War Italy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022.

Special mention was given to Alexandra Cotofana for her wonderful contribution to the development of a region with Xenophobic Mountains: Landscape Sentience Reconsidered in the Romanian Carpathians (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).

The selection committee consisted of chair Ulrike Plath (Tallinn University) with fellow members Katie Ritson (Rachel Carson Center), Marcus Hall (University of Zurich), 2021 Turku Book Prize recipient Nicolai Hannig (Darmstadt Technical University), and Violette Pouillard (Ghent University).

Turku Book Prize 2021

2021 Winner

hannig_2021Hannig, Nicolai. Kalkulierte Gefahren. Naturkatastrophen und Vorsorge seit 1800. Wallstein, 2019. 

2021 Finalists: 

  • Barnett, Lydia. After the Flood: Imagining the Global Environment in Early Modern Europe. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.
  • Fleischmann, Thomas. Communist Pigs: An Animal History of East Germany's Rise and Fall. University of Washington Press, 2020. 
  • Lekan, Thomas. Our Gigantic Zoo: A German Quest to Save the Serengeti. Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • Piccioni, Luigi. The Beloved Face of the Country: The First Movement for Nature Conservation Protection in Italy, 1880–1934. The White Horse Press, 2020.

The selection committee consisted of Martin Knoll (Salzburg University, Austria), Christof Mauch (Chair; RCC), Ruth Oldenziel (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands), Doubravka Olšáková (Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic), and Ulrike Plath (Tallinn University, Estonia).

Turku Book Prize 2019

2019 Winner

turkuprize3_webHamilton, Sarah. Cultivating Nature: The Conservation of a Valencian Working Landscape. University of Washington Press, 2018.

2019 Finalists:

          • Coen, Deborah. Climate and Motion: Science, Empire and the Problem of Scale. University of Chicago Press, 2018.
          • Collet, Dominik. Die doppelte Katastrophe: Klima und Kultur in europäischen Hungerkrise 1700–1772. Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht, 2019.
          • Gaggio, Dario. The Shaping of Tuscany: Landscape and Society between Tradition and Modernity. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
          • Warde, Paul. The Invention of Sustainability: Nature and Destiny, c. 1500–1870. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

The selection committee consisted of Jane Carruthers (Chair; University of South Africa), Stefan Dorondel ("Francisc I. Rainer" Anthropology Institute of the Romanian Academy), Marianna Dudley (University of Bristol), Eva Jakobsson (University of Stavanger), Christof Mauch (RCC).

Turku Book Prize 2017

2017 Winner


Cavert, William M. The Smoke of London: Energy and Environment in the Early Modern City. Cambridge University Press, 2016. 

2017 Finalists

            • Campbell, Bruce. The Great Transition: Climate, Disease and Society in the Late-Medieval World. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
            • Matteson, Kieko. Forests in Revolutionary France: Conservation, Community, and Conflict, 1669–1848. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
            • Parrinello, Giacomo. Fault Lines: Earthquakes and Urbanism in Modern Italy. Berghahn Books, 2015.
            • Thorsheim, Peter. Waste Into Weapons: Recycling in Britain During the Second World War. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

The selection committee consisted of Verena Winiwarter (Chair; Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), Jane Carruthers (University of South Africa), Arielle Helmick (RCC), and Ellen Arnold (Ohio Wesleyan University). 

To read a citation from the award speech by Verena Winiwarter, including contributions from Arielle Helmick and Jane Carruthers based upon the discussions of the Turku Prize committee, click here.

Turku Book Prize 2015

2015 Winner

Cushman_Winner 2015

Cushman, Gregory. Guano and the Opening of the Pacific World: A Global Ecological History. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

2015 Finalists

                • Coen, Deborah R. The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science from Lisbon to Richter. University of Chicago Press, 2012.
                • Lachmund, Jens. Greening Berlin: The Co-Production of Science, Politics, and Urban Nature. MIT Press, 2013.
                • Mavhunga, Clapperton. Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe. MIT Press, 2014. 

The selection committee consisted of Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum / RCC), Patrick Kupper (University of Innsbruck), Finn-Arne Jørgensen (Umeå University), Robert Emmett (RCC), and Julia Lajus (National Research University Higher School of Economics / European University).

Turku Book Prize 2013

2013 Winner

Kupper_Winner 2013Kupper, Patrick. Wildnis schaffen: Eine transnationale Geschichte des Schweizerischen Nationalparks. Haupt Verlag, 2012.

2013 Finalists

                • Armiero, Marco. A Rugged Nation: Mountains and the Making of Modern Italy. The White Horse Press, 2011.
                • Jørgensen, Finn Arne. Making A Green Machine: The Infrastructure of Beverage Container Recycling. Rutgers UP, 2011.

The selection committee consisted of Franziska Torma (RCC), Stefania Barca (ESEH), Julia Herzberg (RCC), Uwe Lübken (RCC), and Paul Warde (ESEH).

Turku Book Prize 2011

2011 Winner

Barca_Winner 2011_2

Barca, Stefania. Enclosing Water: Nature and Political Economy in a Mediterranean Valley, 1796–1916. The White Horse Press, 2010. News Story on Barca's Win

2011 Finalists

                • Carey, Mark. In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers: Climate Change and Andean Society. Oxford University Press, 2010.
                • Larsen, Torben Huus. Enduring Pastoral: Recycling the Middle Landscape Ideal in the Tennessee Valley. Rodopi, 2010.
                • Mathis, Charles-François. In Nature We Trust: Les paysages anglais a l'ere industrielle. Presses de l'universite Paris-Sorbonne, 2010.
                • McNeill, John. Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620–1914. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

The selection committee consisted of Christof Mauch (ESEH / RCC / LMU Munich), David Moon (ESEH), Diana Mincyte (RCC), Phia Steyn (ESEH), and Franziska Torma (RCC).