ASEH 2013 Medieval EH papers

There will be several sessions/papers of interest for medieval environmental historians at the American Society for Environmental History meeting in Toronto, 3-6 April 2013:

Panel 3-J: Animals and by-products in Medieval Europe

Stuart Morrison, University of Stirling, “Transitions on the Icelandic Coastline – AD 1000 to c.1400”

Cristina Arrigoni Martelli, York University, “Ducks with read feet and shifting boundaries: Hunting in the Venetian Lagoon in the late Middle Ages”

Nils Hybel, University of Copenhagen, “Danish animal products in Europe c. 1100-1550”

Philip Slavin, McGill University, “Neglected dairy: capro-ovine milk production and consumption in late medieval England”

Panel 4-J: The Fruits and Insects of the early Middle Ages

Ben Graham, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Lucca’s lights: Olive oil in the early Middle Ages”

Noah Blan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Charlemagne’s Peaches: the Cultivation and Consumption of a Mediterranean Fruit and its Limitations in Early Medieval Northwestern Europe (c. 750-850 CE)”

David Owen, York University and Tim Newfield, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Locust swarms in first millennium Europe, environmental contexts and human responses”

Panel 6-B: Water, Power and Society: a Comparative History of Rivers and Lakes in Asia

Ling Zhang, Boston College, “Whose Water, Whose Sand, and Whose Land? The Yellow River and the Local Environmental History of Lankao County (12th-20th centuries)”

Panel 8-I: Fish, Food and French Society in Three Environments

Abigail Dowling, University of California, Santa Barbara, “Fish as Social Capital: The Politics of Pisciculture under Countess Mahaut d’Artois, 1302-29”

Panel 9-F: Seeing from the Sea: Marine Environmental Histories

Valerie Dufeu, University of Stirling, “Human Ecodynamics in the North Atlantic: modelling settlement patterns and the emergence of commercial fishing in Iceland and the Faeroes, 9th-13th centuries”


Catastrophe, Calamity and Chaos in the Pre-Modern World

Athabasca University and the Medieval and Modern Institute (MEMI) at the University of Alberta are hosting their first annual Virtual Symposium on Pre-Modern Studies, titled “Catastrophe, Calamity and Chaos in the Pre-Modern World.”

The symposium February 9th, 2013 between 9:30 and 11:30 am MST will be available for online participation. See the online program with abstracts and details of how to join the symposium virtually. This is a great opportunity to participate in an international symposium without the travel cost and hassle!

Symposium on Medieval & Renaissance Studies

The Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies (June 17-19, 2013) invites proposals for papers, complete sessions, and roundtables. Any topics regarding the scholarly investigation of the medieval and early modern world are welcome. Papers are normally twenty minutes each and sessions are scheduled for ninety minutes. Scholarly organizations are especially encouraged to sponsor proposals for complete sessions. The goal of the Symposium is to promote serious scholarly investigation into all topics and in all disciplines of medieval and early modern studies.

The deadline for all submissions is December 15, 2012. Decisions will be made in January 2013 and the final program will be published February 15.

5th Medieval Europe Conference

The 5th Medieval Europe Conference will be held in conjunction with the European Association of Archaeologists 18th meeting in Helsinki, Finland, 29 August – 1 September 2012. The program includes many sessions that would be of interest to medieval environmental historians, such as “Living and Being in Wetlands and Lakes”, “Life in the City”, and “Organizing Landscapes and Settlements” to name a few.

Call for MARS panels at ASEH

The Medieval Association for Rural Studies (MARS) is looking to hold multiple panels on medieval and early modern European food production, procurement, storage and shortage at the 2013 meeting of the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 3-6 April 2013 – And we would like you to participate!

The ASEH’s annual meeting provides a wonderful opportunity for practicing and ‘new’ environmental historians of pre-industrial Europe to interact with and learn from each other. It also furnishes the chance to engage the methods, angles and sources of scholars working on familiar issues but in unfamiliar regions and periods. Additionally, by assembling multiple papers that share a common theme, we at MARS intend to create an environment in which scholars working on medieval and early modern food really stand to gain.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to) hunting, crop disease, fishing and fisheries, soil management and fertilisation, problems and costs associated with food storage and transportation, the effects of climatic anomalies and extreme weather on arable and pastoral husbandry, food entitlements, agricultural technology, the cultivation of fruit-bearing trees, and livestock disease.

If you are interested in presenting a paper with us, we ask that you submit to this email ( a 200-word paper proposal pertaining to our theme of food before 5 June 2012. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

See additional information about the ASEH and the meeting in Toronto. While MARS is unable to support travel or lodging, the ASEH offers a number of travel grants.

We encourage you to submit a proposal and hope to see you in Toronto in 2013!

ENFORMA at Kzoo 2012

ENFORMA is sponsoring five sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, May 10-13, 2012. The sessions are:

Session 43: Medieval Environments I: Food Shortage and Subsistence Crises in Medieval Europe, Thursday, 10 am, Bernard 157

  • After the “Fall”: Feeding Rome in the Early Middle Ages – Kathy Pearson, Old Dominion Univ.
  • Shortages and Population Trends in Carolingian Europe, ca. 750–c.950 – Tim Newfield, Univ. of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • Alternative Consumption: Fodder and Fodder Resources in Late Medieval English Economy, ca. 1250–1450 – Philip Slavin, McGill Univ.

Session 88: Medieval Environments II: Religion and the Environment (co-sponsored with AVISTA), Thursday, 1:30 pm, Bernard 157

  • The Lynn White Thesis: The View from Outside Medieval Studies – Elspeth Whitney, Univ. of Nevada–Las Vegas
  • Holy Environments and Saintly Identity in Guillaume de Bernevilles’s La vie de saint Giles – Monica Ehrlich, Univ. of Virginia
  • Gifts of Forest Rights to New Monastic Foundations in Thirteenth-Century Northern France – Constance H. Berman, Univ. of Iowa

Session 142: Medieval Environments III: Exploiting and Managing Animal Resources, Thursday, 3:30 pm, Bernhard 157

  • The Prince, the Park, and the Prey: Hunting in and around Milan in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries – Cristina Arrigoni-Martelli, York Univ.
  • Forgotten Landscape: An Environmental History Examination of Medieval Parks in Scotland – Kevin Ian Malloy, Univ. of Wyoming/Univ. of Stirling
  • Hunting for Abandoned Medieval Industry: The Addition of Geo-Chemical Prospecting to a Historian’s Toolkit – Tyler Chamilliard, York Univ.

Session 344: Fifty Years after Lynn White’s Medieval Technology and Social Change (1962) III: The Mechanical Revolution (co-sponsored with AVISTA), Friday, 3:30 pm, Bernhard Brown & Gold Room

  • Interlocking Structure of Agriculture, Trade, Shipping, Power, Corporality, and Escapement Images in the Pearl Poem – Martha Reiner, Florida International Univ.
  • Just Add Water: How Industrial Mills Spurred the Economic Growth of the Cistercian Order – Christie Peters, Univ. of Houston
  • Casting Aspersions: Fishing Rights and Twelfth- or Thirteenth-Century Mills in Northern France – Heather Wacha, Univ. of Iowa

Session 363: Teaching Environmental History: Interdisciplinary Approaches (A Roundtable), Saturday, 10 am, Fetzer 2030
A roundtable discussion with Richard C. Hoffmann, York Univ.; Alasdair Ross, Univ. of Stirling; and Janet Schrunk Ericksen, Univ. of Minnesota–Morris.

Some other sessions that might be of interest for environmental historians include:
Session 186, Friday, 10 am, Environmental Readings of Medieval Celtic Literature
Session 286, Friday, 1:30 pm, Fifty Years after Lynn White’s Medieval Technology and Social Change (1962) II: The Agricultural Revolution
Session 337, Friday, 3:30 pm, Natura Nova: Ecocriticism and Medieval Studies
Session 542, Sunday, 8:30 am, Women and Their Environments: Real and Imagined
Session 551, Sunday 10:30 am, Gardens and Nature in Medieval Italy

Conference registration is now open.

During the meeting, we will be collecting donations to cover ENFORMA’s membership in the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations (ICEHO). Please give all donations to Ellen Arnold.

ENFORMA sessions at Kzoo 2012

ENFORMA is pleased to announce that three environmental history sessions for the 2012 International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo have been approved.

Two of these (Medieval Environments I-II) will be traditional paper sessions, providing a forum for the presentation of individual papers and the sharing of current research projects. This is a forum for new directions and new results; Congress authorities rightly expect that papers be essentially original and not repetitions of work already published elsewhere. Experience teaches that the most effective papers are solid expositions of work in progress, where presenters can get useful feedback from an engaged and broadly-informed audience.

The third session will be a roundtable discussion on incorporating environmental history in the medieval studies classroom. We hope to assemble a panel of 4-5 people to discuss their classroom experiences. Once the participants are established, we will plan the roundtable jointly. We are looking for both people who can address teaching specialized courses in medieval environmental history and people who can speak to the ways that environmental topics can be incorporated into general medieval surveys, through single day lesson plans or readings.

Ellen Arnold is organizing the sessions. Formal proposals must include an abstract of no more than 300 words and a completed Participant Information Form, which must also include your AV requirements. These forms are essential, as if we receive more proposals than we have space for, they will be forwarded for inclusion in the general program. The forms are now available on the congress website.

Proposals and PIFs need to be sent directly to Ellen Arnold by 15 September 2011.

We have no funds to help with travel or other expenses. The Kalamazoo Congress has very limited resources to help participants from outside North America. For information on travel awards, see:

Kalamazoo 2011 & 2012

Although this is an off-year for our environmental sessions at Kalamazoo, this year nonetheless features several papers on environmental topics, and the MARS group (Medieval Association for Rural Studies) has organized sessions on “Gardens and Gardening” and the “Archaeology of Landscape.” This year’s Congress is from May 12-15. See for more information.

We will be proposing a series of environmental sessions for Kalamazoo 2012. We will be proposing at least one pedagogy session, and people interested in this should share ideas for how that might be shaped. We welcome any scholars researching environmental aspects of the medieval world.  We encourage you to submit your own projects or encourage other colleagues or students to join our group.  Please feel free to pass this information along to others. This is a forum for new directions and new results, and we always welcome new people. Congress authorities rightly expect that papers be essentially original and not repetitions of work already published elsewhere. Experience teaches that the most effective papers are solid expositions of work in progress, where presenters can get useful feedback from an engaged and broadly-informed audience. Contact Ellen Arnold ( if you would like to participate in one of the environmental sessions.

ASEH 2011 Medieval Papers

The American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) meeting in April 2011 (see includes several papers of interest for medieval environmental historians:

Panel 2-A: Abigail Schade, Columbia University, Reading medieval water knowledge forward? Reading into al-Karaji’s 11th century instruction manual for Extraction of Hidden Waters

Panel 5-C: The European Experience with Sustainable Practices in the Late Middle Ages includes the following papers:

  • Richard Hoffmann, York University, Reassessing ‘Ecological crisis in fourteenth century Europe’
  • Tim Sistrunk, California State University-Chico, Defining sustainable practice in late medieval law
  • Richard Keyser, Western Kentucky University, The keys to sustainability in premodern European woodlands
  • Kimberley Kinder, University of California-Berkeley, A warmer, wetter world: Adapting to climate change in the Netherlands

Panel 6-C: Philip Slavin, Yale University, Between ecology and war: the fourteenth-century crisis in the British Isles

ASEH 2011 warfare panel

Dagomar Degroot, a PhD candidate in environmental history at York University, Toronto, Canada, is working with David Hsiung to develop a panel proposal on the relationship between pre-industrial warfare and environment for the 2011 ASEH conference in Phoenix,  April 12-16.  As the panel presently stands, Dagomar’s  paper would uncover links between the fluctuating climatic history of the 17th century and contemporary Dutch warfare, while David would trace energy flows during the American Revolution. They need a third panelist.

Interested colleagues can reach Dagomar  by email at  The deadline for proposals is June 30, 2010.