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October 13, 1997

Grant to fund institute on teaching environmental history

Edmund Burke
By Barbara McKenna

UCSC professor of history Edmund Burke III has received a $165,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funding a five-week summer institute in 1998 to explore the environment and world history.

The institute, titled, "The Environment and World History, 1500-2000," will bring 25 college and university teachers of history to the campus next summer to discuss new approaches to incorporating the history of the environment into world history. The seminar, Burke said, draws upon new knowledge about the history of the environment in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, as well as new work in world history. The scholars will meet from June 22 to July 24, 1998.

"Despite an increasing awareness of the significance of the role of the environment in world history," Burke said, "few world history surveys incorporate environmental history. The goal of the institute is to develop new understandings about the ways in which the history of the environment and that of the modern world are inseparably linked, and to discover strategies that will lead teachers of history and the humanities to be more aware of the ways in which regionally based environmental histories can be enriched and disciplined through the application of a global perspective," he explained.

The seminar will feature presentations on topics including the history of El Nino, as well as global patterns of deforestation, water use, the history of environmentalism, and a variety of case studies of environmental change from around the globe.

Burke's fields of study are Middle Eastern and world history. He has written and edited publications on Middle Eastern social history, European orientalism, and world history.

The NEH is a federal agency supporting research, education, preservation projects, and public programs in the humanities.

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