Presentations and Discussions

FHS sponsors presentations, discussions, and lectures at its headquarters in Durham, at conferences, and online. Presenters from varied backgrounds give talks on unique and provocative topics such as the life of naturalist-scientist Alexander von Humboldt, the U.S. Forest Service in the civil rights era, and the intersection of American wilderness and the global pandemic. Recordings of the presentations are later made available on our YouTube channel.

In 2021, FHS is offering a virtual lecture series called Unprecedented Seasons. In these presentations, speakers explore the biggest topics of this last year—including racial inequality and social justice, social isolation/distancing, and climate change—through the lens of environmental history and biography and memoir, and then take questions.

These programs are supported in part by the Society's Lynn W. Day Endowment.

July 22, 2021 “Wood Bioenergy, Forest Supplies, and Timberland Ownership: What We Got Right (and Wrong)"
Virtual presentation by Brooks Mendell. Part of the Unprecedented Seasons series.
June 10, 2021 “Fire Breaks: Fire Suppression, the 'Light-Burning' Controversy, and the Return of Indigenous Flames"
Virtual presentation by Char Miller. Part of the Unprecedented Seasons series.
May 2021 “Stewart Udall and the Politics of the Environment and Race"
Virtual presentation by John de Graaf. Part of the Unprecedented Seasons series.
April 2021 “War and the Environment: A Roundtable Discussion"
Virtual roundtable discussion moderated by Jamie Lewis and featuring Anthony Andersson, Lisa M. Brady, Gerard J. Fitzgerald, Keri Lambert, and Richard Tucker.
March 2021 “'A Vast and Indefinite Loss': Thoreau on Slavery and Nature"
Virtual presentation by Laura Dassow Walls. Part of the Unprecedented Seasons series.
February 2021 “From ‘Invalids need not apply’ to ‘Black Foresters Wanted’: The Forest Service in the Civil Rights Era”
Virtual presentation by Donna Sinclair. Part of the Unprecedented Seasons series.
January 2021 "Isolation and Wilderness: How American Wilderness Intersects with the Pandemic”
Virtual presentation by DJ Lee. Part of the Unprecedented Seasons series.
Nov. 1 & 2, 2019 "A Colloquium Celebrating Alexander von Humboldt's 250th Birthday". Held in cooperation with Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. Participants included:

  • Stephen Bell, Department of Geography, UCLA (A Life in Shadow: Aimé Bonpland in Southern South America)
  • Stephen Jackson, U.S. Geological Survey and University of Arizona (editor, Humboldt’s Essay on the Geography of Plants, and co-editor with Laura Dassow Walls of Humboldt’s Ansichten der Nature)
  • Elizabeth Millán, Department of Philosophy, DePaul University (The Romantic Roots of Alexander von Humboldt’s Presentation of Nature)
  • Nicolaas Rupke, Institut fűr Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Universität Göttingen (Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography)
  • Laura Dassow Walls, English Department at Notre Dame (Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America)
March 2018 "Science Narrative and Grief in a Climate of Uncertainty”
Talk by Jared Farmer
November 2016 "Digitizing the Past, Preserving the Future: FHS at 70”
Talk by Char Miller