CFP - The Climate Crisis: Early Americanists Respond 2022

Call for Participants

The Climate Crisis: Early Americanists Respond

McNeil Center for Early American Studies, EMSI University of Southern California, and Online

June 16-17 2022

As scholars of early America, we aim to respond to the current climate crisis and better understand the depth and ramifications of its roots in the early modern era through a workshop dedicated to the topic. Co-organized by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Environmental Historians’ Action Collaborative, we hope to trace these connections and to create resources that historians, literary scholars, and others can use to integrate climate crisis history into their teaching and research.

Toward these ends we seek participants who can creatively and strongly demonstrate the relevance of early American studies to the modern climate crisis.  We are particularly interested in scholarship from contingent scholars and scholars from marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Participants will make a short presentation and collaborate in the production of a resource for teaching, scholarship, and activism. We invite proposals from scholars to present aspects of their research projects as well as less conventional contributions including, but not limited to: pedagogical strategies and materials, collaborative projects, and proposals for connecting scholarly efforts to activist movements.

Potential themes include the following, but we also invite creative and novel insights that go beyond them:

- Causes: How can we trace the climate crisis to early America and/or the early modern Atlantic world.

- Precedents: How did different peoples understand and respond to previous moments of climate change and environmental degradation?

- Legacies: How do structures, institutions, and geographies created in early America shape our definition of and responses to the climate crisis today?

- Solutions and Responses: How can studying the past allow us to imagine and enact livable futures?

Format: As we seek to promote modes of scholarly interaction suitable to the climate crisis, this will be a 1-2 day hybrid workshop, with an in-person hub at the McNeil Center and at the University of Southern California’s Early Modern Studies Institute. To facilitate the participation of European-based scholars, it will be run in cooperation with the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Ludwig Maximillian’s-Universität München.

Date: June 16-17, 2022

Deadline for proposals: March 1, 2022

Funding and travel: Some funding will be available for the conference. We will prioritize small honorariums for scholars in contingent or temporary positions. Details will be provided to accepted applicants. As we seek to minimize emissions, airfare will not be reimbursed.

Interested scholars should send a 250-word abstract and a copy of their CV to McNeil Center Associate Director Amy Baxter-Bellamy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


News & Events