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Turku Book Prize

The Turku Book Prize is a joint prize from 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 6th annual 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 of € 3,000.

The prize is awarded at the Biennial ESEH Conference.

Entries must follow these citeria:

  • single-authored monographs
  • original work recognizable as European environmental history
  • published in 2021 or 2022
  • received by 15 January 2023


Members of the 2023 Turku Prize Committee are:

      • Marcus Hall (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
      • Nicolai Hannig (Darmstadt Technical University, Germany)
      • Ulrike Plath (Tallinn University, Estonia), Committee Chair
      • Katie Ritson (Rachel Carson Center, Germany)
      • Violette Pouillard (Ghent University, Belgium)

    Applications for the Turku Book Prize 2023 are open now. You can find more information here.

    Turku Book Prize 2021

    2021 Winner

    hannig_2021Nicolai Hannig, Kalkulierte Gefahren. Naturkatastrophen und Vorsorge seit 1800, Wallstein, 2019. 

    2021 Finalists: 

    Lydia Barnett, After the Flood: Imagining the Global Environment in Early Modern Europe, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.

    Thomas Fleischmann, Communist Pigs: An Animal History of East Germany's Rise and Fall, University of Washington Press, 2020. 

    Thomas Lekan, Our Gigantic Zoo: A German Quest to Save the Serengeti, Oxford University Press, 2020.

    Luigi Piccioni, 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


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

    2019 Finalists:

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


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

    2017 Finalists

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

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

    2015 Finalists

                  • Deborah R. Coen, The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science from Lisbon to Richter, University of Chicago Press, 2012.
                  • Jens Lachmund, Greening Berlin: The Co-Production of Science, Politics, and Urban Nature, MIT Press, 2013.
                  • Clapperton Mavhunga, Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovations 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 2013Patrick Kupper, Wildnis schaffen: Eine transnationale Geschichte des Schweizerischen Nationalparks, Haupt Verlag, 2012.

    2013 Finalists

                  • Marco Armiero, A Rugged Nation: Mountains and the Making of Modern Italy, The White Horse Press, 2011.
                  • Finn Arne Jørgensen, 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

    Stefania Barca, 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

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