Current Position

Department of Ecology & Environmental Science
Umeå University, Sweden

Researcher Profile

I am a historian of the environment and technology. I am most interested in how human technologies shape the world around us and how we come to understand what is "natural" and what is not, what is acceptable environmental behavior and what is not.

I have co-edited two environmental history volumes published in 2013:

  • New Natures, which brings ideas from Science & Technology Studies into environmental histories. The volume is co-edited with Finn Arne Jørgensen and Sara Pritchard.

  • Northscapes, which looks at the making of environments with technologies in the northern reaches of the globe. The volume is co-edited with Sverker Sörlin. We also co-authored the volume's introductory essay. The intro essay (minus last few pages of notes) is available as a sample chapter from the press here.

I'd recommend that you read my research blog to find out about my latest project on animal reintroduction in Norway and Sweden.

If you read Norwegian and want to see how I think about environmental history, you can look at "Miljøhistorie: Kunsten å lytte til naturens stemme?" co-authored with Finn Arne Jørgensen, Fortid 5, no. 4 (2008): 6-9. Available as a pdf.

I have a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering with an Environmental Engineering specialty. I worked for two different engineering consulting firms in Texas from 1995 to 2009 (with the last few years doing only short contract consulting). My areas of emphasis were waste management operations, site contamination assessments, oil and petrochemical operations, and data management.

Both my master's and PhD projects dealt with medieval environmental issues. My master's dealt with forestry and fishery management in England and Normandy, France, during the period 1066 to 1135. Go to the page on Medieval Resource Management. The PhD project was on urban sanitation in England and Scandinavia from 1350-1600. Go to the page on Medieval Sanitation. I discuss medieval environmental history as a discipline and my own work in a podcast interview for the Umeå Group for Premodern Studies from 2013 and a podcast interview for the website Environmental History Resources from 2009.

My post-doctoral project moved me closer to my engineering roots through an examination of policies about converting offshore oil and gas platforms into artificial reefs. It is a comparative project looking at these policies from the mid-1970s to present for three areas: the Gulf of Mexico, California Bight, and North Sea. This project incorporates some concepts from Science & Technology Studies (STS) to find ways of understanding how and why the policies developed differently. Go to the page on my Rigs-to-Reefs project.

I am currently working on a project about the role of history in the reintroduction of mammals in Norway and Sweden. I am focusing on the beaver and muskox in the first phase of this project. Go to the page on my Restoration work.

I have two major side interests: popular culture and history and medieval art.

Professional Activities

I am the President of the European Society for Environmental History, 2013-2015.

I am an editor of the book series The Environment in History: International Perspectives with Berghahn Books.

I am a co-founder of the Environmental History Network for the Middle Ages (ENFORMA) which was established in 2009. I designed and maintain the website.

I am currently the H-Environment book review editor for non-US environmental history books.

I am currently the Secretary for the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations (ICEHO)

I am active in the Envirotech Special Interest Group of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). I have previously served as a co-convener and on the Article Prize Committee.

I served on the Hal Rothman Fellowship committee (2008-2011) for the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) and the Sites committee (2009-2011) for the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT).

I am a member of the Nordic Environmental History Network established by Finn Arne Jørgensen and funded by Nordforsk (2009-2011). I co-coordinated the workshop meeting in Trondheim in November 2009 and co-edited the book resulting from the October 2010 meeting in Stockholm.

The Return of Native Nordic Fauna

A research blog about reintroduction, restoration, and history

Research Interests

  • The interaction of environment and technology
  • Understandings of the natural
  • How art and artifacts both represent and serve as lived reality

Web Projects

Links to Related Websites