December 17, 2017


TABLE OF CONTENTS     October, 2013 | Vol. 18, No. 4 


Tumbling Snow: Vulnerability to Avalanches in the Soviet North by Andy Bruno

The Bound[less] Sea: Wilderness and the United States Exploring Expedition in the Fiji Islands by Jason W. Smith

A War for Oil in the Chaco, 1932–1935 by Stephen Cote

A Completely Man-Made and Artificial Cataract”: The Transnational Manipulation of Niagara Falls by Daniel Macfarlane



Nowhere, Fast: George Inness’s Short Cut and Agrarian Dispossession by Steven Stoll





Issue 18.4 – October 2013

All four articles in this issue—the final under my editorship—reflect the richness of global and transnational research in environmental history. Andy Bruno’s “Tumbling Snow: Vulnerability to Avalanches in the Soviet North” analyzes how Stalinist policies initially exacerbated vulnerability to avalanches in the far north. Yet after a series of disasters, scientists, industrial leaders, and state planners were able to reverse course and develop innovative strategies that lessened hazards.

Jason W. Smith’s “The Bound[less] Sea: Wilderness and the United States Exploring Expedition in the Fiji Islands” combines the history of science with environmental history in his analysis of nineteenth-century marine exploration. In their encounters with an imagined ocean wilderness, members of the United States Exploring Expedition helped to change American perceptions of marine ecosystems.

Stephen Cote’s essay, “The Nature of Oil in the Chaco War, 1932–1935,” turns to the Chaco Boreal, a petroleum-rich territory claimed by both Bolivia and Paraguay. While other scholars have analyzed this conflict, Cote is unique in framing it as an environmental conflict, not simply a territorial dispute.

Daniel Macfarlane’s “A Completely Man-Made and Artificial Cataract”: The Transnational Manipulation of Niagara Falls” examines the manipulation of Niagara Falls. While both nations agreed that the spectacle of the falls was impressive, Canada and the United States had quite different ideas about how best to negotiate the tensions between scenic splendor and economic utility. Macfarlane’s analysis highlights important differences in how the two nations conceived of border waters, progress, and national identities.

After half a decade of close involvement with the journal—as publication committee member, as chair of the group that moved the journal to Oxford University Press, and most recently as editor in chief—I am delighted to hand journal editorship over to Lisa Brady. Professor Brady has served on the journal editorial team for several years, initially as associate editor and Web editor, and most recently as editor elect. With her connections in global environmental history, she will continue to expand the journal’s international scope and quality. I can imagine no better hands to take over the editing helm.

– Nancy Langston

I am honored to be stepping into the editorial role for our journal and look forward to continuing its long legacy of quality, innovation, and thoughtful investigation into the human–nature nexus. I am deeply grateful to Nancy Langston, who has been patient, kind, and thorough in training me in the processes and etiquette of editorial life. Under her leadership, we instituted our online submission and production system and moved under the Oxford University Press (OUP) umbrella, which has increased our journal’s global reach. She also began the necessary discussion over open access, an issue that will become increasingly important as new policies on funding and scholarship come on line in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and elsewhere. All the while, Nancy recruited and published dozens of topnotch articles, making our journal one of the top history publications in terms of impact factor. Thank you, Nancy, for your commitment and vision.

My goal for this first year is simple: maintain the level of excellence our journal already enjoys. I intend to do this by encouraging submissions from emerging and established scholars, publishing articles that reflect the growing diversity of subjects our field encompasses, and working with our partners at OUP to reach out through social media and other outlets to further increase our visibility. I look forward to working with many of you as authors and reviewers. I welcome your comments and ideas. Please contact me at Always remember, too, that you can access the journal and additional journal-related content at

— Lisa Brady