Donald Worster

Membership:  2013

Member Bio

Donald Worster was a Carson Fellow from February 2011 to July 2011 and from July 2013 to December 2013.
Donald Worster has been active in environmental history since the early 1970s, both in the United States and other parts of the world. In 1971, he completed his PhD at Yale University, where he studied the history of ecology, environmental literature, intellectual history, and the history of the American West. He now holds the position of Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1989. His students have included many of the rising generation of leaders in the field; they have come from China, Latin America, and several countries in Europe, as well as North America. Formerly the president of the American Society for Environmental History, Worster has served on a number of editorial boards, and, for more than two decades, has been founding editor for the Environment and History book series published by Cambridge University Press. He is an elected member of the Society of American Historians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Worster's books include Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas; Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s; Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West; A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell; A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir; along with several books of collected essays, including The Wealth of Nature: Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination. His current research focuses on two projects: Darwinian and post-Darwinian science and the concept of adaptation as theoretical bases for environmental history, and the twin, competing themes of natural abundance and scarcity in American and modern world history.