"Creating Healthy Landscapes: Human and Environmental Well-being in Comparative and Historical Perspective"
A Northeast Regional Conference
Yale University, Saturday, March 26, 2011
Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street
New Haven, Connecticut
Environmental History at Yale invites scholars, faculty, and graduate students to attend its March 26, 2011 conference, "Creating Healthy Landscapes: Human and Environmental Well-being in Comparative and Historical Perspective."
The conference will investigate ideas about healthy landscapes to create a dialogue between histories of human health and accounts of transformations in the natural world. The same landscape-- such as the tropics-- could carry multiple and contradictory meanings. Searching for health in nature often has the ironic effect of changing the traits of the natural environment that were initially valued. Indeed, the very idea of health itself has never been stable; it continually shifts in response to new forms of scientific and cultural awareness. These shifts and turns are of more than academic or cultural curiosity-- the search for health has provided a powerful ideological justification for restructuring landscapes and displacing populations. For environmental historians, the questions of what it means-- and has meant-- for a landscape to be healthy are a starting point to explore the entanglement of human and natural histories.
The one-day conference will feature innovative environmental history scholarship by doctoral students from seven northeastern universities.
Three moderated panel sessions will explore our conference theme. Our first session will examine how ideas of human and landscape health intersected with imperial and state expansionist projects. Our second session will explore social conflicts and tensions resulting from efforts to achieve physical and cultural rejuvenation in nature. Our third session will consider the relationship between scientific expertise, ideology and governmental efforts to create healthy environments. A faculty panel featuring Joyce Chaplin (Harvard), James McCann (Boston University), and Christopher Sellers (SUNY-Stony Brook) will conclude the day.