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Reflections and studies on environmental history

Histoire environnementale : études et réflexions

Les Cahiers d'Histoire

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Published on Monday, October 17, 2016


Les Cahiers d’histoire is presently accepting proposals for its winter 2018 edition. Environmental history will be the topic for this upcoming edition, and it will be published under the supervision of co-directors Michèle Dagenais (Full Professor, UdeM) and Catherine Paulin (M.A. student, UdeM).



Les Cahiers d’histoire journal is presently accepting proposals for its winter 2018 edition. Environmental history will be the topic for this upcoming edition, and it will be published under the supervision of co-directors Michèle Dagenais (Full Professor, UdeM) and Catherine Paulin (M.A. student, UdeM).

As a sub-discipline emerging in the 1970s and 1980s, environmental history offers a new lens into a past that is not only forged by humans, but also by their surroundings, the landscape (urban included), nature and other living beings. By questioning basic assumptions, such as who or what can be an historical agent (whether active or less so), historians have the possibility to reach new perspectives as well as learn new insight about past events and their context. In considering an environment of material and biological beings as well as their interagency, we ensure a full and more complex vision of our, as well as their, past. Broadly, it allows us to perceive history as being more than a purely human achievement, all-the-while keeping in mind that “history” is a human concept.

When applied to historical questions, environmental history offers the possibility of rendering awareness about how complex the past can truly be; its methods, theories and questions bring to the forefront interconnections which develop through time and space. Its openness to new tools to better analyse historical contexts also means its historians appreciate interdisciplinary work and collaboration.

Examining questions about the past with an environmental perspective in mind also allows historians to closely tie their work to the present, demonstrating its relevance to better understanding our own contemporary concerns. 

Below is a non-exhaustive list of various themes which could be discussed:

  • Spaces and places (urban, rural, appropriation and production of spaces/places, shared places, exclusion)
  • Consumption
  • Pollution
  • Natural resources (impact of, exploitation of)
  • Transportation and movement
  • Waste and garbage (impact, recycling, etc.)
  • Parks, zoos, botanical gardens (restricted areas, created places)
  • Animals (pets, working, livestock, leisure, slaughterhouses, butcher shops, etc.)
  • Species (exploitation, endangered, introduction of, indigenous, etc.)
  • Markets (agricultural, urban, public, etc.)
  • Relations to the environnement (nature/culture, humans/animals, gender, etc.)
  • Watercourses
  • Populations, borders (frontiers), Aboriginal peoples
  • Environmental politics (local, municipal, provincial, national, international, transnational)
  • New perspectives on various topics (ex: perspectives disengaged from anthropocentric points of view)
  • Various theoretical and methodological reflections (interdisciplinary, GIS)

Both co-directors wish to reiterate the importance of interdisciplinary work in environmental history as well as emphasise the potential diversity of primary sources at hand. As such, individuals who specialise in any temporal or geographical zone, as well as any social science (history, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, etc.), are encouraged to submit a proposal, as long as the historical focus is evident in the proposed text. Methodological and theoretical reflections on environmental history are also permitted.

Submission guidelines

If this theme is of interest to you, we warmly invite you to submit a 500-word proposal to describe the article you aspire to write. Please include the references and primary sources which will be of use to your research, as well as explain your proposed article’s contribution to the discipline.

These proposals must be submitted at the latest by November 15th, 2016.

Include any images which would be pertinent to your study. Completed articles must remain within an 8000-word limit, endnotes included, and must be received by the editorial team at the latest by May 15th, 2017 for evaluation. Texts can be written in English or in French.

Les Cahiers d’histoire expects that the articles received follow specific presentation guidelines, which are available online at http://www.cahiershistoire.org/directives.html. Please submit your proposals, or write with any requests for additional information, at publication@cahiershistoire.org.

(Several short reviews, from 700 to 800 words including endnotes, will also be accepted in a limited quantity. Please write to recensions@cahiershistoire.org with your idea or if you wish to contribute!)


  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016


  • environnement, interdisciplinaire, espace, relation, animal, nature, humain


  • Catherine Paulin
    courriel : publication [at] cahiershistoire [dot] org

Information source

  • Catherine Paulin
    courriel : publication [at] cahiershistoire [dot] org


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Reflections and studies on environmental history », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, October 17, 2016, https://doi.org/10.58079/vwi

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