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George Vrtis

George Vrtis

Introduction

Professor Vrtis’ teaching and research interests focus on the fields of American and World environmental history, the American West, and contemporary environmental issues.  As a joint appointment in the History Department and the Environmental Studies Program, he teaches courses on a wide range of subjects, including American Environmental History, American Wilderness, Wilderness Studies at the Grand Canyon, American Cities and Nature, and American Farms and Food.  He recently published, with co-editor John McNeill, Mining North America: An Environmental History since 1522 (University of California Press, 2017).  His current research is focused on completing Nature's Crossroads: The Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, which he is co-editing with Christopher W. Wells and is under contract with the University of Pittsburgh Press.  When Nature's Crossroads is completed, he plans to turn his attention to studies of federal wilderness at Grand Canyon National Park, precious-metals mining in Colorado, and the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.

Education & Professional History

Marquette University, BS; Northwestern University, MA; Georgetown University, PhD.

At Carleton since 2006.

Highlights & Recent Activity

Manuscripts in Progress:

  • Nature’s Crossroads: The Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, co-edited with Christopher W. Wells (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, under contract).
  • Gold Rush Colorado: An Environmental History

Publications (since 2010):

Edited Books and Journals:

  • Mining North America: An Environmental History since 1522, co-edited with J. R. McNeill (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017).
  • Twin Cities Environmental History: A Bibliography of Published and Unpublished Sources, co-edited with Christopher W. Wells (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 2012).
  • Guest editor, Special Issue on “Gold Rush Colorado,” Journal of the West 49:2 (Spring 2010).

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

  • “Introduction: Of Mines, Minerals, and North American Environmental History,” co-authored with J. R. McNeill, in Mining North America: An Environmental History since 1522, eds. J. R. McNeill and George Vrtis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017), 1-16.
  • “A World of Mines and Mills: Precious-Metals Mining, Industrialization, and the Nature of the Colorado Front Range,” in Mining North America: An Environmental History since 1522, eds. J. R. McNeill and George Vrtis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017), 73-107.
  • “Teaching Environmental History: Two Views from the United States” [美国的环境史教学:两种观点],” co-authored with Linda L. Ivey, Global History Review [全球史评论] 4 (December 2011): 326-41. (Published in Chinese).
  • “Thrift and Waste in American History: An Ecological View,” co-authored with J. R. McNeill, in Thrift and Thriving in America: Capitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present, eds. Joshua J. Yates and James Davison Hunter (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 508-35.
  • “Open Space Index: A GIS-Based Tool for Assessing Human Penetration of a Landscape,” co-authored with Tsegaye Nega and Wei-Hsin Fu, Local Environment 15:8 (September 2010): 743-59.
  • “Introduction: Gold Rush Colorado,” Journal of the West 49:2 (Spring 2010): 6-7.
  • “Gold Rush Ecology: The Colorado Experience,” Journal of the West 49:2 (Spring 2010): 23-31.

Book Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, and Short Pieces:

  • Review of Clark C. Spence, A History of Gold Dredging in Idaho (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2016), H-Environment, H-Net Reviews (December 2016): available at H-Net, https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=47345.
  • “Environmental History in the Field: Reflections on Teaching Wilderness at Grand Canyon National Park,” in Proceedings of the 2015 Symposium on Field Study, ed. Drew Cavin (Colorado Springs: Colorado College Office of Field Study, 2016), 73-76.
  • Review of Brian Allen Drake, Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Reagan (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013), The Historian 77:4 (Winter 2015): 789-90.
  • Review of Diana L. Di Stefano, Encounters in Avalanche Country: A History of Survival in the Mountain West, 1820-1920 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013), Canadian Journal of History 49:3 (Winter 2014): 525-27.
  • “Colorado Rockies Forests,” in Biomes and Ecosystems, ed. Robert Warren Howarth (Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, 2013), 2:480-82.
  • “Rocky Mountains,” in Encyclopedia of Sustainability, vol. 8, The Americas and Oceania: Assessing Sustainability, eds. Sara G. Beavis, Michael L. Dougherty, and Tirso Gonzales (Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing Group, 2012), 264-65.
  • Review of Gordon Morris Bakken, The Mining Law of 1872: Past, Politics, and Prospects (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008), New Mexico Historical Review 86:1 (Winter 2011): 119-20.
  • “Mining and Smelting,” in Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, ed. Kathleen A. Brosnan (New York: Facts on File, 2011), 3:914-18.
  • “Mercury,” in Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, ed. Kathleen A. Brosnan (New York: Facts on File, 2011), 3:891-92.
  • “Rocky Mountains” in Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, ed. Kathleen A. Brosnan (New York: Facts on File, 2011), 4:1131-33.
  • “Rachel Carson, Silent Spring,” in Every Book, a Tale: Selections from Special Collections in the Laurence McKinley Gould Library of Carleton College, ed. John Roger Pass (Northfield, MN: Trustees of Carleton College, 2010), 108-09.
  • Review of Nicholas K. Menzies, Our Forest, Your Ecosystem, Their Timber: Communities, Conservation, and the State in Community-Based Forest Management (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), Capitalism Nature Socialism 21:2 (June 2010): 126-28.

Online Digital Projects:

  • “Minnesota Environments,” an app and accompanying website co-developed with Christopher W. Wells, released in 2016, available in the Apple and Google Play app stores, and at Carleton College, https://mnenvironments.carleton.edu/.
  • “Twin Cities Environmental History Research Guide,” a multi-media research guide and bibliography co-authored with Christopher W. Wells, released in 2012, available at the Minnesota Historical Society, http://mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/TwinCitiesEnvironHistory.php.

 

As Listed on Department Faculty Pages

Profile updated June 7, 2017

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