I research and write about American environmental change, and the ways in which Americans (and others) have thought and told stories about that change–and about themselves. Over the years my work, both published scholarship and teaching, has focused more and more on images (mostly photographs) as documents of environmental history.
My first book, The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003), starts with an image, the one on the cover of the book (see below).
Click on the images of covers and titles below for full text (articles) or to learn more about some of these publications.
From the introduction, “On the Chilkoot”: “…Alaska-Yukon miners sometimes saw themselves on a journey away from culture and into primitive nature. On one level, especially at trying moments on the Chilkoot Pass, those perceptions were accurate. They did journey into nature, through nature, and with natures. But rather than journey out of culture or away from it, they journeyed into and through their own industrial culture, and into and through the relationships with nature at the heart of that culture….[N]o matter how far they traveled, they remained with in a culture which rapidly transformed human relations with the environment. And no matter how thoroughly industrial culture transformed nature, human beings remained connected to their environment. The nature of gold was a nature from which they could never be fully separated” (p. 15).
Copyright© 2012 Kathryn Morse. Published by Oxford Univ Press for the Organization of American Historians. This article first appeared in The Journal of American History 99:1 (June 2012): 124-34. Click title image for full article. Image: Lake View Gusher, CA, ca. 1910, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Copyright © 2017 Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Reviews in American History, Vol. 45 Issue 1, March 2017, pages 109-116. A review essay on recent work.
Roundtable review of Carolyn Finney, Black Faces, White Spaces and Carl Zimring, Clean and White, with review essays by Kathryn Morse, Mary E. Mendoza, Richard M. Mizelle, Jr., Traci Brynne Voyles, and introduction by Christopher F. Jones.
Copyright© 2007 American Society for Environmental History. This article first appeared in Environmental History 12:2 (April 2007): 346-49. A short meditation on Jaws as a key film in environmental history.
Copyright© American Society for Environmental History. This article first appeared in Environmental History 10:4 (October 2005): 728-30. A short essay on Jane Smiley’s story “Good Will” as a key text in environmental history.
Copyright© The Society for History Education. This article first appeared in The History Teacher 37:1 (November 2003), 67-72.
Copyright© The Author. This non peer-reviewed essay was published in 2007 by the Mount Independence Coalition, Orwell, VT. It is a good example of how an environmental historians approaches a topic not always associated with “environmental” ideas.