About this collection

“Places & Events” is a collection of digital “historical markers” of environmentally significant places and events. Designed to be browsed on the Environment & Society Portal’s map or timeline, these brief summaries were written by doctoral candidates at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at LMU Munich. Places & Events represented the Portal’s first content when it launched in 2012.

As a pilot project from 2014-2015, we invited three RCC alumni fellows (at LMU Munich, Bucknell University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison) to use Places & Events as a project in their environmental history courses. These instructors guided students (and reviewed their work) in the research and production of these born-digital micro-histories. In his essay for Ant Spider Bee, Bucknell Professor Andrew Stuhl reflects on the project:

As a piece of writing that does not exceed 200 words, it is no substitute for the nuance and depth of the historical essay or the historiographical review. And because the items are published digitally, they have requirements that at first seemed idiosyncratic to students in a history class—like copyright licenses and metadata, for instance. Like other historians teaching digitally have demonstrated, however, these constraints can be opportunities. The entries forced students to be concise, to write for a public audience, and to curate (and not just collect) examples. Surely other assignments meet these learning outcomes. Perhaps none are as engaging for non-History majors tasked with learning about global environmental history.

- Andrew Stuhl

At the end of the pilot project, Places & Events boasted more than 350 thoughtfully composed digital markers with texts, images, and links. Although the Portal now concentrates on peer-reviewed born-digital publications, Places & Events remains an inviting gateway to environmental history for students, instructors, and armchair travelers.

To browse Places & Events, click on either the map or timeline icons below, or explore the list by theme.

Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs 1512
First European Contact with Potatoes 1537
Shensi Province Earthquake 23/1/1556
Agricola’s De re metallica 1556
First recorded notion of sustainable forestry 1560
First recorded “El Niño” 1578
Commercialization of Cultivated Tobacco 1612
Great Deccan Famine 1630
Gerard’s Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes 1633
Flooding of the Rhine and Elbe Rivers and North German and Dutch Coasts 1651
John Evelyn’s Fumifugium 1661
Evelyn's Sylva, or a Discourse on Forest Trees 1664
Great Fire of London 2/9/1666
Colbert's “L’ordonnance des eaux et forêts” 1669
Ray's History of Plants 1686