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Leopold-Hidy Award

The Leopold-Hidy Award annually recognizes superior scholarship in the quarterly journal Environmental History, which the Forest History Society (FHS) and the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) co-publish.


Leopold-Hidy Award Details

The Forest History Society and the American Society for Environmental History annually present the Leopold-Hidy Award to honor the best article in the journal they co-publish, Environmental History. When evaluating selections, the journal's editorial board considers a number of criteria, including: elegance of the writing, insightfulness of the argument, novelty of the premise, and rigorousness of the scholarship.

From the journal's inception in 1996 through the year 2001, the Forest History Society and the American Society for Environmental History each presented separately titled biennial awards in alternating years. The ASEH "Aldo Leopold Award" was named for American ecologist Aldo Leopold (1887-1948). The FHS "Ralph W. Hidy Award" was named in honor of Ralph Willard Hidy (1905-1977), a respected professor of business history at the Harvard Business School, former editor of Business History Review, and a longtime Forest History Society director and member. The two awards were combined as Leopold-Hidy in 2001, and have since been given annually in tandem by FHS and ASEH.

The Forest History Society first began presenting an annual award for best article in its journal in 1972. In earlier years, the award was known as the Frederick K. Weyerhaeuser Award.


Recent Recipients

2015 Leopold-Hidy Award
Mikhail, Alan. "Ottoman Iceland: A Climate History." Environmental History 20 (April 2015): 262-284. Discusses the 1783 eruption of the Icelandic Laki volcanic fissure, looking at how it effected the climate and history of Ottoman Egypt.

2014 Leopold-Hidy Award
Husain, Faisal. "In the Bellies of the Marshes: Water and Power in the Countryside of Ottoman Baghdad." Environmental History 19 (October 2014): 638-664. Examines the environmental history of the marshes in the Euphrates region, arguing that the deterioration of Sasanian irrigation systems allowed the natural systems of the Euphrates to be restored, and that this restoration allowed for the rise of the Khaza'il people.

2013 Leopold-Hidy Award
Milanesio, Natalia. “The Liberating Flame: Natural Gas Production in Peronist Argentina.” Environmental History 18 (July 2013): 499-522. Examines the dramatic rise in the production and use of natural gas during Juan Domingo Perón’s government (1946-1955), revealing how “the Peronist government transformed gas into a culturally meaningful object through a web of discourses and images that evoked representations of nature conquered, national prowess, and economic liberation.”

2012 Leopold-Hidy Award
Radding, Cynthia. “The Children of Mayahuel: Agaves, Human Cultures, and Desert Landscapes in Northern Mexico” 17 (January 2012): 84-115. Examines the impact of agave plant cultivation and distribution on desert landscapes and the development of human cultures in Northern Mexico during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Combines ethnobotany, ecology and history.

2011 Leopold-Hidy Award
White, Sam. "From Globalized Pig Breeds to Capitalist Pigs: A Study in Animal Cultures and Evolutionary History." Environmental History 16 (January 2011): 94–120. Uses the introduction of Chinese pigs into 18th-century Europe and America and how it changed meat production as a case study to explore the history of early modern globalization and the emergence of industrial capitalism. White's article is a significant example of interdisciplinary work that one reviewer called a "classic environmental history: blending archival and scientific sources, the national and the global, our effects on nature and nature's effects on us, to help us re-see a world we thought we knew."

2010 Leopold-Hidy Award
David Schecter and Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert. "The Environmental Dynamics of a Colonial Fuel-Rush: Silver Mining and Deforestation in New Spain, 1522 to 1810." Environmental History 15 (January 2010): 94-119. Part of a larger project on the environmental effects of mining in Mexico, this essay explores what the authors call the "overall rhythms and sc ales of fuel wood consumption" over four centuries. The argument gracefully moves across scales, paying close attention to the local environmental transformations wrought by charcoal-making before considering changes in global economic processes. The article connects what historians have too often seen as separate enterprises—the histories of mining and forests—showing how the need for wood for smelting silver ore led to massive deforestation in the colonial period.

2009 Leopold-Hidy Award
Yeh, Emily. "From Wasteland to Wetland?: From Nature to Nation in China's Tibet." Environmental History 14 (January 2009): 103-137. Focuses on Lhasa's Lhalu wetlands and explores the competing ecological national narratives of the Chinese state and Tibetian exiles regarding this region. Yeh approaches the topic from the unique perspective of the conflict that has raged since the 1950s over the Lhalu wetland of western Tibet.

2008 Leopold-Hidy Award
Langston, Nancy. "The Retreat from Precaution: Regulating Diethylstilbestrol (DES), Endocrine Disruptors, and Environmental Health." Environmental History 13 (January 2008): 41-65. Argues that endocrine disruptors—industrial pollutants that mimic hormones—have played a key role in increasing the rates of intersexuality, reproductive cancers, and infertility. Focusing on debates in the 1930s and 1940s, Langston demonstrates how political pressures, scientific uncertainties, and evolving models of gender and health, made it all but impossible for the U.S. government to regulate these chemicals effectively. This led to a retreat from the precautionary principle that was supposed to prevail in the handling of toxic chemicals.

2007 Leopold-Hidy Award
Carey, Mark. "The History of Ice: How Glaciers Became an Endangered Species." Environmental History 12 (July 2007): 497-527. Using global warming as his backdrop, Carey's essay traces the emergence of a metadiscourse that tends to treat glaciers as "endangered species." The author notes that to understand why people lament the loss of ice, one must first place glaciers within their political, cultural, and historical contexts.

2006 Leopold-Hidy Award
Judd, Richard W. "A 'Wonderfull Order and Ballance': Natural History and the Beginnings of Forest Conservation in America, 1730-1830." Environmental History 11 (January 2006): 8-36. Traces the origins of conservationist thinking--including the formulation of concepts of balance, interrelatedness, and the practical and spiritual importance of nature--among a group of scientists who constructed a system of American natural history while exploring the transappalachian frontier between 1730 and 1830.

2005 Leopold-Hidy Award
Mitman, Gregg. "In Search of Health: Landscape and Disease in American Environmental History." Environmental History 10 (April 2005): 184-210. Preliminary historiographic survey of landscape and disease in twentieth-century American environmental history, in search of past places where the concept of land health shaped human-environment interactions. Finds that most scholarship dealing with health is limited to urban studies, and encourages integrating it more fully into the study of environmental history in America.

2004 Leopold-Hidy Award
Walker, Brett L. "Meiji Modernization, Scientific Agriculture, and the Destruction of Japan's Hokkaido Wolf." Environmental History (April 2004): 248-274. Discusses the wolf eradication program implemented on the recommendation of American advisers on the island of Hokkaido in preparation for the development of a ranching industry that would help modernize Japan; late nineteenth century.

2003 Leopold-Hidy Award
Russell, Edmund. "Evolutionary History: Prospectus for a New Field." Environmental History 3 (April 2003): 204-228. Examines human impacts on the evolutionary process.

2002 Leopold-Hidy Award
Soluri, John. "Accounting for Taste: Export Bananas, Mass Markets, and Panama Disease." Environmental History 7 (July 2002): 386-410. Studies the economic and environmental reasons that fruit companies in Central America and the Caribbean delayed using disease-resistant banana varieties. From the 1880s through the 1970s.

2001 Leopold-Hidy Award (2 winners)
Guha, Ramachandra. "The Prehistory of Community Forestry in India." Environmental History 6 (April 2001): 213-238. On the transference of forest management from the British colonial government to community forestry in India during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

McCarthy, Tom. "The Coming Wonder? Foresight and Early Concerns about the Automobile." Environmental History 6 (January 2001): 46-74. Studies environmental concerns resulting from automobile usage in the United States, during the twentieth century, the author asserting that inventors exhibited a lack of foresight in creating a vehicle that produced harmful emissions and operated on a non-renewable resource.