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Published: 30 Nov, 2011

American named King Gustaf Visiting Professor of Environmental Science

NEWS Professor Nancy Langston has been named the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Sciences for the 2012-13 academic year in Sweden. Langston will hold a visiting professorship in the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies at Umeå University.

Nancy Langston is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States. She is well renowned in the internationally growing field of environmental history. Her research centers on forestry, pollution and climate change impacts on the environment. Nancy Langston has been the President of the American Society for Environmental History (2007-2009) and currently holds the position as Editor of the journal Environmental History.

“A year in northern Sweden will allow me to expand this project to include boreal watersheds from across Scandinavia,” explains Nancy Langston to the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The far north is experiencing the effects of climate change as intensely as anywhere on earth, and understanding historic responses to past environmental change offers us powerful tools for a more resilient and sustainable future."

Umeå University has long held a prominent position in this scientific field. In 1993, the university appointed Sverker Sörlin as Sweden's first professor of environmental history. Since then, the field has developed strongly in Umeå.

Science, Technology and Environment

Umeå Studies in Science, Technology and Environment (USSTE) is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research group at Umeå University, formally designated as a strong field of research within the Faculty of Arts. Their work can broadly be termed as a combination of Environmental Humanities - which includes disciplines like ethnology, philosophy, history, history of science and ideas, literature, environmental archaeology, geography, environmental history, culture and media studies, museology, religious studies, and theology - and Science and Technology Studies and research on sustainable development.

USSTE strongly promotes collaboration with other faculties and other strong fields of research. For example, USSTE is part of the field of research “Sustainable development of forests”, conducted jointly by Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå and Uppsala.

“We are very excited to welcome a researcher of Nancy's class to Umeå,” says Finn Arne Jørgensen, Assistant Professor in the interdisciplinary fields of science, technology and environment. “It is, above all, her interdisciplinary background as a biologist and historian which fits so well into our profile. We have a strong research environment and it feels good that we can attract top international researchers. We will start an international masters program next autumn and I think Nancy will make a positive contribution to the teaching.”

“Nancy Langston will not only contribute to our group, but will help to improve the good relations across the university and also at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,” says Christer Nordlund, professor of the history of ideas and leader of the multidisciplinary research field titled Science, Technology and Environmental Studies.

Langston’s appointment at Umeå University will run from September 2012 through May 2013.

King Carl XVI Gustaf Professorship of Environmental Science

The King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science is a visiting professorship of environmental science that was created for King Carl XVI Gustaf ’s 50th birthday in 1996. Each year, each faculty in Sweden is invited to nominate one scientist, and from those nominations, The Royal Academy of Sciences and the King select ”one eminent foreign researcher to visit Sweden for the academic year, in order to promote research, technological development and enterprise that contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation.

Read more about Science Umeå Studies in Science, Technology and Environment

Contact information: Christer Nordlund Professor of the History of Science and Ideas Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Umeå University
E-mail: Tel: +46 (0)90–786 97 33
Mobile: +46 (0)70-741 27 40

Finn Arne Jørgensen Assistant Professor Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Umeå University

Editor: David Meyers