Call for Contributors: Personal Stories/Public Land
We are seeking contributors for a book collection of essays on oral history and public land.
Oral historians have long been interested in the relationship between personal stories and public land. Think of the numerous interpretive centers in our nation’s national parks, the stories recounted on television by historians like Ken Burns, the scholars who have captured the voices of Native Americans and documented their relationship to the land, and the oral history projects of the Sierra Club and the Forest History Society, among others. But seldom has this intersection—between oral history and public land—been documented in book form. For the most part, oral history books of the past forty-four years, since the founding of the Oral History Association, have focused on the stories, voices, and contexts of social movements and political dislocation.
With this call for contributors, we invite scholars and practitioners working in the fields of history, oral history, and/or environmental history to explore topical approaches to environmental history while keeping the methodology of oral history front and center. The tentative title for the essay collection is “Personal Stories/Public Land.” Themes may include activism about the environment, the idea of the commons through the lens of personal story, and the relationship between historical memory and natural environments. We encourage scholars to interpret “public land” in a variety of ways, from national forests, to national parks, wilderness areas, community gardens, city parks, public beaches and waterways, and so on. We are interested in scholars and practitioners who are looking specifically at human interactions with environmental spaces. Human interactions could include migrations, indigenous peoples, militarization, working landscapes, and the process of rewilding. Human-environmental interactions may also focus on environmental degradation, rehabilitation, or preservation; on the perception and construction of sometimes contending cultural landscapes and senses of place; industrial agriculture, tourism, natural disasters, land use and water development.
Please submit electronically an abstract of 500 words and a CV to Kathy Newfont, Associate Professor, Mars Hill College and Debbie Lee, Professor, Washington State University by April 1, 2011. Participants will be notified in mid-May if their abstract is accepted. The deadline for a first draft of the full article will be December 1, 2011. Please feel free to contact either Debbie or Kathy by email if you have further questions.
Department of English
Washington State University
Mars Hill College
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