I study American environmental history as my primary field of expertise, specializing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I devote the bulk of my time and "intellectual energy" to studying rivers, but I am also interested in cultural politics, the rhetoric of technology, the social discourse of development, and comparativ environmental history. My research, which frequently comments on riparian systems, examines the interrelationships between man and nature and seeks to understand what shapes contemporary conceptions of modernity, development, and continuity. With a background in environmental science, it is only natural that I would be drawn to a field of study that allows me to deconstruct and to discover the subtle patterns in our surrounding environments. A park is not just a park; it is a space that, through its layers, reveals a history of grazing, farming, civic improvement, and accumulation of capital. A dam is never just a reminder of technocracy, and a cityscape is a story of more than vertical space, urban growth, or industrial might.
Although I truly enjoy the researching and writing process, I will always be a teacher first. The desire to educate and to pass along my own sense of curiosity is deeply ingrained within me! I have been working with students since I began tutoring first graders as a fourth grader, and I have worked, at one time or another, with students in elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, and colleges. I currently teach introductory history courses, but I hope one day to augment those basic surveys with upper level courses. Although I find a special joy in introducing young minds to a subject that I love, I am always grateful for the opportunity to delve more deeply into issues of water, history, and environment with upperclassmen. I feel particularly comfortable teaching American environmental history, comparative environmental history, nineteenth century American history, and twentieth century American history.
In addition to the basic history courses, I have also taught environmental science labs and worked in the fields of city planning, natural resource management, and Geographic Information Systems (G.I.S.).
*all photographs taken by Kenna Lang Archer