Session Submission Summary

Direct link:

Problems of Place: An Ongoing Conversation on Community, Connection, and Belonging

Fri, March 24, 8:30 to 10:00am, Hilton Boston Back Bay, Floor: Second, Maverick B

Session Submission Type: Roundtable


The graduate school and early-career academic experience too often imperils scholars’ connections to place, to environment, and possibly to the principles underlying their research agendas. They are assailed by contradictory imperatives: the personal/intellectual drive to be rooted in place, versus economic imperatives to be migratory and mutable; the dedication to research for the good of all, and unequal access to educational and research opportunities; the commitment to the health of both humanity and the planet while participating in higher education systems that refuse to divest from fossil fuels and/or for-profit prisons, let alone pursue carbon-neutrality or even food-waste composting.

While there are many structural issues that need to be addressed, this session will break some of the tacit silence on a series of problems that drive many graduate students and early career scholars, especially those from underrepresented groups, from careers in the academy and from participating in the wider environmental humanities scholarly community in their “alt-ac” or “anti-ac” careers. How can academia be more inclusive in terms of who gets access to tenure and/or career stability? How can environmental history be more inclusive of scholars who have found a home outside academia? How can intellectual communities be crafted between heterogeneous individuals, across global distances, and despite economic precarity?

The session features scholars who have written for Environmental History Now, an online platform that showcases the environmental-related work and expertise of graduate students and early career scholars who identify as women, trans and/or nonbinary people. While the ongoing “Problems of Place” blog series explores these questions on the EHN website, this session seeks to create a welcoming space for these conversations to happen live and dynamically, grounded in the present moment.

Sub Unit