We revisit one of our first interviews with environmental historian Richard White. He addresses the (mis)perceptions of the natural world, the ambiguities surrounding the Anthropocene boundary, and explains what he meant when he wrote the provocative essay “Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living.”
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Richard White is a Pulitzer Prize Nominated historian specializing in the history of the American west, environmental history, and Native American history. He is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University, a faculty Co-Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and the former President of the Organization of American Historians. He received a MacArthur fellowship in 1995 and was awarded a Mellon Distinguished Professor grant in 2007. Professor White is currently the principal investigator a project titled ‘Shaping the West’ within the Spatial History Lab at Stanford University, which explores the construction of space by transcontinental railroads during the late nineteenth-century. His book, The Middle Ground: Indians Empires and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, was a Pulitzer Prize nominated finalist. It won the Francis Parkman Prize for the best book on American History, the Albert B. Corey Prize for U.S.-Canadian History, the James A. Rawley Prize for the history of race relations and the Albert J. Beveridge Award for best English-language book on American History.
Judee Burr is an undergraduate student in Stanford’s class of 2012, majoring in Earth Systems, with a focus in Land Systems, and Philosophy. She has been involved in environmental research and activism on and off Stanford’s campus. Last summer, she was an intern at the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and, last year, she volunteered as a research assistant for PhD candidate Bill Anderegg at the Carnegie Department of Global Ecology. While studying abroad in South Africa this past spring, she volunteered at SEED, an NGO that builds gardens and teaches permaculture classes at disadvantaged grade schools around Cape Town. She served as Vice President of Outreach for Students for a Sustainable Stanford this year. She also works for Philosophy Talk, a nationally syndicated Stanford based radio show that links philosophy to everyday issues. Last summer, she spent 5 weeks working on organic farms in Ireland. She is currently writing an honors thesis in Earth Systems comparing collaborations between Indigenous communities and land management agencies on fire management in Australia and California.