Edmund Russell, Univ. of Kansas
"Coevolutionary History”
October 14, Forum Room, 3:30-5 pm

 Dr. Russell will explore the ways in which people have shaped the traits of non-human populations, and how changing those traits has circled back to change human experience. Examples of this will come from agriculture, health, industry, and leisure, including his own
recent research on the history of dogs in England.

Dr. Russell is the Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Distinguished Professor of U. S. History at the University of Kansas.  He studies environmental history, American history, and the history of science and technology.  His first research project focused on the impact of warfare on the environment, examining the reciprocal development of chemical weapons and pesticides, often by the same companies and chemists.  This project culminated in his book, War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from WWI to Silent Spring (Cambridge UP, 2001), which won the Edelstein prize for the best book in the history of technology in 2003.  For his next project, he proposed the idea of “evolutionary history,” which combines the insights of evolutionary biology with historical scholarship to study the ways that humans have changed the traits of non-human species, and how these changes have, in turn, altered human experience.  He published a book on his new approach, Evolutionary History: Using History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth (Cambridge UP, 2011), and has a second book under contract, Gambling on Evolution: The Coevolution of English Culture with Fierce, Fleet, and Fancy Dogs (Cambridge UP).  For Dr. Russell’s webpage, please click here.     

A video of this lecture is available at this link.