Call for Papers: The Great Plains: An Environmental History

Professor Brosnan and Alumnus Frehner Receive Great Plains Workshop Grant from NSF

Kathleen Brosnan, the Travis Chair of Modern American History at the University of Oklahoma, and Brian Frehner, an associate professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who earned his PhD at OU, have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to host an interdisciplinary workshop on “The Great Plains: An Environmental History.” The workshop will include scholars from across the United States and Canada and will result in a book published with the University of Oklahoma Press. The Call for Papers, which includes more details on their innovative research approach, follows below. 

Call for Papers: 

“The Great Plains: An Environmental History”

Workshop: May 22-25, 2017

Kathleen A. Brosnan and Brian Frehner, Principal Investigators and Editors

We solicit papers for a National-Science-Foundation-funded, interdisciplinary workshop that explores the environmental history of the North American Great Plains from western Texas to southern Canada. Qualified papers from the workshop will be included in a volume edited by Kathleen A. Brosnan (University of Oklahoma) and Brian Frehner (University of Missouri, Kansas City) and published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

We seek papers that collectively contribute to a redefinition of the region and its environmental history by exploring how technological adaptations, rather than disasters such as the Dust Bowl, have shaped the history of this environment and the people who inhabited it. Submissions should ideally move beyond decline and exploitation as defining ecological narratives of the region and examine the Great Plains by emphasizing one or more of the interrelated themes of water, grasses, animals, and energy. Moreover, technological adaptations can be defined in the broadest sense. We particularly encourage proposals that emphasize the longstanding role of native people in shaping environments throughout the region.

Travel and lodging expenses, as well as most meals, will be provided for workshop participants. The workshop will take place at various Oklahoma locations from May 22-25, 2017. In addition to the papers sessions, the workshop tentatively includes introductions to archival and museum resources at the University of Oklahoma in Norman; travel to Stillwater to observe grasslands management strategies such as prescribed burning; a visit to the Osage Tribal Museum in Pawhuska; and travel to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve to witness the effects of patch burning and to see bison in their native habitat.

The selected participants will join a group of scholars who have already committed to this project including Clint Carroll, Michael Lansing, Mark Palmer, Jonathan Peyton, Molly P. Rozum, Natale “Nat” Zappia, and María Nieves Zedeño.

Penultimate drafts of the papers will be due one month in advance of the workshop. We also plan to podcast the workshop live to high school students and will ask participants to share, in advance of the workshop, sample primary documents for a website for those students.

Please submit a 300-500-word paper proposal no later than September 30 to Kathleen Brosnan kbrosnan@ou.edu and Brian Frehner frehnerb@umkc.edu

Graduate student applications are welcome.