My work aims to better understand human relationships with the natural world. My methodologies are largely historical but my goals are for learning about the present, with the past being a laboratory for revealing who we have become. My main tribe has been the environmental historians who are researchers that investigate how we have confronted such issues as habitat degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change, population pressure and environmental injustice. Our methodologies rely on archives that are both cultural and natural, as we look for clues in landscapes as well as in paper records
I have asked questions about how people seek to ‘repair’ the natural world, allowing me to learn about our experiences with ecological restoration, and our notions about environmental degradation and optimal natures. I have also turned to topics relating to rewilding, invasion biology, chronobiology and disease ecology, using these fields and their pasts to try to make sense of how humans understand and manage the natural world. My research, teaching and outreach have taken up such questions as:
- What are the differences between the preservation and restoration of natural resources? Link
- How do our home landscapes influence how we understand foreign landscapes? Link
- How do our own words for describing plants and animals shape our conceptions of them? Link
- How realistic is the goal of rewilding, that quest to use the human touch to erase the human touch? Link
- How has warfare shaped the natural world? Link
- How far does our sense of rhythm stem from the natural world? Link
- How is malaria an environmental disease? Link
- What can we learn by experiences of collapse, whether natural or cultural? Link
- Can humanity learn to coexist peacefully with the mighty mosquito, humanity’s most dangerous and fearsome animal? Link
- How have parasites modified human history, and can we envision symbiosis as a new paradigm for human survival? How are the Gaia Theory and the Anthropocene linked ideas? Link
I also think it crucial to combine interdisciplinarity with environmental study, and I believe environmental humanities is a good way to title this pursuit. Even if there are semantic challenges with this label, there is little question that humanists must be joined with scientists for a fuller understanding of how nature works and for unraveling better ways that humans can live on this planet. To build community, we have built a modest working group at SAGUF (The Swiss Society for Environmental Research and Ecology) for establishing our own organization called Environmental Humanities Switzerland, www.eh-ch.ch. EH-CH’s several initiatives have included public lecture series, academic symposia, film festivals, blogs and graduate summer schools. Beyond traditional publication outlets, we feel that films and other multi-media are crucial ways to divulge our messages. We don’t pretend to know which research will eventually show itself to have utility, but we do think that we need to craft our research by realizing that our many serious problems need to be addressed.
Education and professional positions
|2021 - present||Professor (Titular Professor), Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland|
|2009 - 2020||Senior Lecturer (Privatdozent), Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland|
|2006 - 2009||Assistant Professor (tenure track), Department of History, University of Utah, USA|
|2006 - 2007||Associate Researcher, Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Zurich, Switzerland|
|2000 - 2005||Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Bologna, European University Institute Florence, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs New York City, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, American Academy of Rome, Italy|
|1999||Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA|
|1981||B.Sc., Stanford University, USA|
- Hall M., Tamir D., eds. (in press). Mosquitopia: The Place of Pests in a Healthy World. Routledge Series in Environmental Humanities. 17 contributors. New York
- Hall M. (2010). Restoration and History: The Search for a Usable Environmental Past. London: Routledge Studies in Modern History. 27 contributors. New York. ISBN 978-0415871761
- Armiero M., Hall M., eds. (2010). Nature and History in Modern Italy. Athens: Ohio University Press.
- Hall M. (2005). Earth Repair: A Transatlantic History of Environmental Restoration. University of Virginia Press & Center for American Places.
Edited Special Journal Issues
- Hall M., Kupper P. eds. (2014). Crossing Mountains: The Challenges of Doing Environmental History. Rachel Carson Center Perspectives Series, 4. Munich. PDF
- Hall M. ed. (2004). The Nature of G. P. Marsh: Tradition and Historical Judgment, Special issue of Environment and History 10:2, 121p.
- Hall M., Coates P., eds. (2003). The Native, Naturalized, and Exotic: Plants and Animals in Human History, Special issue of Landscape Research 28:1 (January), 137p.
Recent Articles and Book Chapters
- Sietze J. Norder, et al., Hall M. (2020). Global change in microcosms: Environmental and societal predictors of land cover change on the Atlantic Ocean Islands. Anthropocene. DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2020.100242
- Hall M. (2019). Chronophilia; Or, Biding Time in a Solar System. Environmental Humanities: 373-401. DOI: 10.1215/22011919-7754523
- Hall M. (2019). "The High Art of Rewilding: Lessons from Curating Earth Art." In Rewilding, N. Pettorelli, S. Durant, & J. du Toit, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 201-221. DOI: 10.1017/9781108560962
- Hall M. (2018). "Thinking Like a Parasite." In Landscapes, Natures, Ecologies: Italy and the Environmental Humanities, S. Iovino, E. Cesaretti, & E. Past, eds. University of Virginia Press. See
- Hall M. (2017). "Invasives, Aliens, and Labels Long Forgotten: Toward a Semiotics of Human-mediated Species Movement." In Human Dispersal and Species Movement from Prehistory to Present. N. Boivin, R. Crassard, and M. Petraglia, eds., Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/9781316686942
- Kueffer C., Thelen Laesser K., Hall M. (2017). “Applying the Environmental Humanities: Ten steps for action and implementation.” SAGUF; Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Science, Bern. 39p. See
- Hall M., Forêt P., Kueffer C., Pouliot A., Wiedmer C. (2015). Seeing the Environment through the Humanities: A New Window on Grand Societal Challenges. GAIA. 24/2: 134-136. DOI: 10.14512/gaia.24.2.14
- Hall M., Forêt P. (2014/2015). Environmental Humanities. Bulletin SAGW- Bulletin of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4:31-32 & Report (49p). PDF
- Higgs E., Falk DA., Guerrini A., Hall M., Harris J., Hobbs RJ., Jackson ST., Rhemtulla JM., Throop W. (2014). The changing role of history in restoration ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment. 12(9): 499-506. DOI: 10.1890/110267.
- Hall M. (2014). Restoration and the Search for Counter Narratives, in Andrew Isenberg, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History. New York: Oxford University Press: 309-331. Link
- Hall M. (2014). Conspicuous Elevations and the High Art of Posing the Right Question, in Marcus Hall and Patrick Kupper, eds. 2014. Crossing Mountains: The Challenges of Doing Environmental History. Rachel Carson Center Perspectives Series, 4. Munich: 65-73. Link
- Hall M. (2014). Extracting Culture or Injecting Nature? Rewilding in transatlantic perspective in Josef Kuelarz & Martin Drenthen, eds. Old World and New World Perspectives on Environmental Philosophy. New York: Springer: 17-35.
- Forêt P., Hall M. and Kueffer C. (2014). Developing the Environmental Humanities: A Swiss Perspective. GAIA 23/1 (2014): 67-69. PDF
- Hall M. (2014). 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). H-Net Reviews: PDF
- Hall M. (2014). Review of J. Frawley and I McCalman, Eds., Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities (New York: Routledge). Basic and Applied Ecology, 15: 720-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2014.09.003
- Larson B., Kueffer C., and the ZiF Working Group on Ecological Novelty. (2013). Managing invasive species amidst high uncertainty and novelty, Trends in Ecology and Evolution (May) 28(5): 255-56. [Marcus Hall is a member of ZiF Working Group].
- Hall M., ed. (2012). Wilderness BABEL: What does wilderness mean in your language? Contributor and editor to a multi-media project exploring meanings of 'wilderness' in Europe's and the world's principal languages. 20 collaborators. See Environment and Society Portal: Link
- Hall M. (2011). Le ultime battaglie contro la malaria in Italia: Una guerra in sangue e metafore, Ricerche Storiche 41(3): 50-70.
- Hall M. (2011). History of Environmental Clean Up, Online Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (Paris: EOLSS / UNESCO). Edited by Simone Neri Serneri. PDF