Environmental Studies Guide

Figure 1. [T. Lowndes], Cohoes Fall, on the River Mohawk, 900 feet wide 75 feet high., [1771]. From the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. https://jcb.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/detail/JCB~1~1~1049~1320005.

As the effects of climate change loom ever larger in our present and future, casting an eye back through time to view how early modern and early American peoples interacted with the natural world can be fruitful. Indeed, ever since historian William Cronon published his path breaking work, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, in 1983, scholars have been examining how Indigenous, African, and European peoples used the animals, lands, forests, and waterways of early America, and how they experimented to extract food and other commodities. Their works remind us that exploitation of natural resources, particularly for profit, is not a new phenomenon; nor are discursive practices that naturalize certain peoples, cultures, or bodies and privilege them over others. These are practices that went hand-in-hand with European exploration, conquest, and colonization.  The articles in this index were chosen with keywords such as “natural history,” “climate,” and “environment.” They represent the continuing scholarly interest in exploring how interactions between people and the natural world influenced inter-cultural relationships, trade, and mobility, and how they framed new aesthetic ideals and sensibilities.

TitleAuthorVol/Iss – Season, Year
A “Nation…Now Degenerate”: Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, Nova Britannia, and the Role of Diet and Climate in Reproducing RacesFeerick, Jean1/2 – Fall, 2003
Nature’s Currency: The Atlantic Mahogany Trade and the Commodification of Nature in the Eighteenth CenturyAnderson, Jennifer L. 2/1 – Spring, 2004
The Port Royal Earthquake and the World of Wonders in Seventeenth-Century JamaicaMulcahy, Matthew6/2 – Fall, 2008
“Wilderness and its Waters”: A Professional Identity for the Hudson River SchoolStrazdes, Diana7/2 – Fall, 2009
Ecosystems under Sail: Specimen Transport in the Eighteenth-Century French and British AtlanticsParsons, Christopher M.;
Murphy, Kathleen S.
10/3 – Fall, 2012
Old Roots, New Shoots: Early American Environmental HistoryParsons, Christopher M.;
Strang, Cameron B.
13/2 – Spring, 2015
The Other RevolutionChaplin, Joyce E.13/2 – Spring, 2015
Bison Algonquians: Cycles of Violence and Exploitation in the Mississippi Valley BorderlandsMorrissey, Robert Michael13/2 – Spring, 2015
Plantation Ecologies: The Experimental Plantation in and against James Grainger’s The Sugar-CaneRusert, Britt13/2 – Spring, 2015
A New Paradigm for Pre-Columbian Agriculture in AmericaMt. Pleasant, Jane13/2 – Spring 2015
“A Laudable Spirit of Enterprise”: Renegotiating Land, Natural Resources, and Power on Post-Revolutionary Long IslandAnderson, Jennifer13/2 – Spring 2015
 A Natural History of the Early American RailroadSchley, David13/2 – Spring, 2015
Borderlands of Knowledge about Nature: Crossing and Creating Boundaries in Early AmericaRadding, Cynthia13/2 – Spring, 2015
“The happy effects of these waters”: Colonial American Mineral Spas and the British Civilizing MissionScribner, Vaughn14/3 – Summer, 2016
Politics of the Hinterland: Taxing Fowl in and beyond the Ports of Terceira Island, 1550-1600De Avilez Rocha, Gabriel15/4 – Fall, 2017
“Bleed on, blest tree!”: Maple Sugar Georgics in the Early American RepublicSturges, Mark16/2 – Spring, 2018
The Enslaved Ants and the Peculiar Institution: Argument by Analogy in the Slavery QuestionMinella, Timothy K.17/2 – Spring, 2019
Endangered Plantations: Environmental Change and Slavery in the British Caribbean, 1631-1807Johnston, Katherine18/3 – Summer, 2020