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Bristol makes its mark in environmental history

Dr Dan Haines

Dr Dan Haines

7 October 2015

Bristol University’s reputation as a centre of excellence in environmental history has been cemented with the publication of an article by history lecturer Dr Dan Haines in the latest issue of the leading journal in the sub-discipline, Environmental History.

‘No other university beyond the United States has seen as many articles published in Environmental History by its historians as Bristol,’ explained Peter Coates, Professor of American and Environmental History in the Department of History.

Dr Haines’ article – ‘Constructing State Power: Internal and External Frontiers in Colonial North India, 1850s-1900s’, Environmental History 20 (2015) – follows hot on the heels of articles in this high-impact journal from the other environmental historians in the department. Last year Professor Tim Cole published ‘“Nature Was Helping Us”: Forests, Trees, and Environmental Histories of the Holocaust,’ Environmental History 19 (2014) and was one of the co-authors with Professor Coates and Dr Marianna Dudley of ‘Defending Nation, Defending Nature? Militarized Landscapes and Military Environmentalism in Britain, France, and the United States’, Environmental History 16 (2011).

Professor Coates is also the author of ‘The Strange Stillness of the Past: Toward an Environmental History of Sound and Noise’, Environmental History 10 (2005), one of the most-cited/read articles over the two decades of the journal’s existence (with ‘Defending Nation, Defending Nature?’ not far behind it). A former PhD student of Professors Coates and Cole, Dr Chris Pearson, now a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool, also published in the journal while he was still a doctoral candidate (‘The Age of Wood: Fuel and Fighting in French Forests, 1940-1944’, Environmental History 11 [2006]).

The quarterly journal was first published in 1976 as the Environmental History Review and assumed its current title in 1996. That first volume included an article by Professor Coates about nuclear testing on the Aleutian island of Amchitka, styled as a bio-biography. Environmental History, co-published by the American Society for Environmental History and Forest History Society in co-operation with Oxford University Press, is, Professor Coates notes, ‘consistently international in its coverage and read by growing numbers of historians who would not characterise themselves as environmental historians’.

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