February 17, 2018

Environmental History January 2018, Vol. 23, Issue 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS at OUP January, 2018 | Vol. 23, No. 1



Power: energy; strength or force; level of magnification; capacity to influence. For a short word, power—in any of its manifestations—has far-reaching, complex implications for humans and for nature. Each of this issue’s articles and all of the essays included in the special Reflections section address some facet of power, illuminating the role nature plays in human history, either as a dynamic force that shapes cultural understanding and manipulation of the material world, or as an object over which competing social and political groups wish to exert physical or intellectual authority.

Our exploration of power begins in South Africa, with two articles focused on issues of expertise and knowledge. In “Talking about the Weather,” Meredith McKittrick digs deeply into…

This issue’s full editor’s note…


Gallery Editors’ Note by Finis Dunaway

In many communities, historical markers are ubiquitous. Appearing on roadsides and in public spaces, they boast a distinctive style and shape; their recognizable lettering and logos beseech spectators to pause and reflect on what happened in this place. In this issue’s Gallery essay, Christine DeLucia shows why these markers should matter to environmental historians. DeLucia takes us to Concord, Massachusetts, and looks closely at a sign constructed in 1930 to commemorate the site of an “Indian fishing weir.” She asks what visions of landscape history the sign records and what forms of knowledge and place-making it overlooks. She considers a diverse array of visual and literary sources—from seventeenth-century Puritan imagery and colonial cartography to nineteenth-century writings of Emerson and Thoreau and twentieth-century pictorial maps—to explain how “Musketaquid,” an Algonquian toponym, became incorporated into the sign’s interpretive message. For DeLucia, such markers are not bland or neutral portrayals of the past but “environmental tools of colonial persuasion.” Her focus on landscape and memory in Concord illuminates broader questions related to settler colonialism, past and present Indigenous struggles, and the uses of environmental history.

This historical marker, installed for the tercentenary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1930, stands in the heart of Concord, Massachusetts, a locale frequently celebrated for its Transcendentalist and environmentalist connections but less widely known for its deep—and ongoing—Algonquian histories. Credit: Christine DeLucia.