I teach a variety of courses that focus on environmental history, war and society, and modern Europe. Several of my courses, especially my environmental history courses, transcend national boundaries and place their subjects in a global context. My classes also heed one environmental historian’s classic advice to go out and get some mud on our hiking boots. With its tradition of community outreach and dedication to applied learning, Rhodes College is ideally suited for a hands-on approach to history. Among our many excursions, my classes have hiked in the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, climbed ancient mounds at the Chucalissa Archeological site, examined old graves at the historic Elmwood Cemetery, toured a local biofuel refinery, visited a wastewater treatment plant, explored the college’s own Level IV certified arboretum, and even paddled voyager canoes (modeled after what French explorers once used) down the Lower Mississippi River. These off-campus adventures help my students to better understand the intricate connections between us and the environment and the ways in which our relationships with nature have changed over time.
My scholarship focuses on the evolving relationships among individuals, states, and the environment, particularly in times of crisis and conflict. My current book project, tentatively titled, A Landscape of Pleasure and Pain, focuses on German and Austrian mountaineers in the Eastern Alps from the 1860s until the start of the Second World War. I examine how the tourism industry altered the Alps, both physically and symbolically. Massive construction projects carved the mountainside with roads and railways, much to the despair of conservationists and climbers alike. But Alpine clubs and tourist organizations also modified the peaks by civilizing the heights with maps, trails and lodges. Members of these groups projected their competing civic values and chauvinistic visions onto the Eastern Alps, making these mountains contested territory. Environmental change in the Eastern Alps tells us much about the transformations in modern Central European society, and challenges our assumptions about transnational space.
My next book project will be an environmental history of the First World War. The duration of hostilities fundamentally changed how the belligerent countries, their allies, and neutral neighbors allocated and used natural resources. The demand for raw materials transformed economies and state infrastructure around the world. Ecological degradation wrought in combat continued long after the armistice. The Great War altered the natural world. Examining the First World War from an environmental perspective will illuminate the lasting, global dimensions of the conflict.
Ph.D., History, Georgetown University
M.A., German and European Studies, Georgetown University
B.A., History, University of Rochester
History 105 – Disease and Epidemics
History 207 – Global Environmental History
History 217 – Age of Extremes: European Cultures and Society in the 20th Century
History 229 – Imperial Russia
History 307 – Nature and War
History 327 – Germany at War
History 427 – The Great War
Environmental Studies and Sciences 150 – Environment and Society
Several of my courses contribute to the Environmental Studies minor at Rhodes College.
To learn more about the Environmental Studies Program click on the link below:
“Great War – Mighty Mountain: The Environmental Legacy of the First World War in the Alps.” The Austrian Center for Environmental History, Vienna, October 2010.
“Where Sunday Lasts Forever: Urban Tourists in the Eastern Alps.” ForumAlpinum, Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Munich, October 2010.
“Glacial Bonds and Racial Peaks: The Alps and National Identities in Germany and Austria, 1871-1933.” Nature and Nation in Europe since 1860 International Workshop, Trento, September 2010.
“Battling the Mountains of Melancholy: Bodies and Minds on the Alpine Front, 1915-1918.” National World War One Memorial Museum, January 2009.