Ant Spider Bee at #ESEH2015

by Finn Arne Jørgensen

Château de Versailles
Château de Versailles. This was thankfully not the line for the conference registration.

Another European Society for Environmental History conference is over – this time, little over 300 scholars from the whole world met in beautiful and steaming hot Versailles in France to share their research, discuss the state of the field, and meet up with old and new friends. This conference was much smaller and more low-key than the massive and quite intense 2013 conference in Munich.

As has become customary, we have made a Storify collection of all the tweets from the conference (using the #ESEH2015) hashtag. We can note that the activity was rather low this time. While this may be attributed to the scorching heat, it is more likely that the unstable and sometimes completely missing wifi access in many meeting rooms was to blame. Still, we see that there is a value to the conference twitter stream in that you can get an idea about what people are talking about in other sessions, not to mention that people who are not attending the conference can see what is happening.

We can also note that while there weren’t any sessions solely dedicated to digital environmental history, many sessions involved papers with explicitly digital approaches. This, we believe, is a good sign for the shape of digital environmental humanities. Looking through the conference program we can highlight the following papers as using digital approaches in one way or another:

  • The Use of Colonial Land-Grant Documents and GIS to Reconstruct Soil Carbon Sequestration in Sixteenth- Century Mexico, Andrew Sluyter, Louisiana State University (1C)
  • Knowing, sharing, and experiencing wilderness in a connected world, Finn Arne Jørgensen, Umeå University (3B)
  • Industrialists and Economic Botanists: Developing Commodities Frontiers in the 19th Century British World, Jim Clifford, University of Saskatchewan (4B)
  • Deepening Understandings of Place and World Heritage through Digital Histories, Ann McGrath, Australian National University (5H)
  • The Rachel Carson Center’s Environment & Society Portal: Environmental History in the Age of Digital Humanities, Susanne Darabas, Rachel Carson Center (Poster 3)
  • Media Environments: Icebergs on Screens, Rafico Ruiz, McGill University (9B)
  • Using Digital Tools to Track Nineteenth-century Leather Tanning Supply Chains, Andrew Watson

Let us know if you came across other papers that explicitly addressed digital humanities tools and debates – we three editors had full schedules and were not able to make it to everything. We hope to see several contributions to Ant Spider Bee based on these papers in the time to come! Contact us if you want to write something for us!

Finally, the Storify collection:

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