Participant Info

First Name
Conevery Bolton
Last Name
Boston College, Dept of History
Website URL
earthquakes, health, new madrid earthquakes, ISOTYPE
Additional Contact Information
office phone: 617.552-8803 (not there weekends)

Personal Info

About Me

Conevery Bolton Valencius (CON-a-very BOL-ton va-LEN-chus) is a professor of History and Environmental Studies at Boston College, where she writes and teaches about environmental history, the history of science and medicine, American energy systems, and the US Civil War. In 2002 Basic Books published her award-winning first book, The Health of the Country: How American Settlers Understood Themselves and Their Land, and in 2013 University of Chicago Press published her investigation of seismic upheaval along the Mississippi Valley, The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes. Her research includes a co-authored article on Sacajawea and the Lewis and Clark expedition that won an award for the history of women in science and medicine, as well as a recent multi-historian study that argued that we can find a great deal of scientific work in early America if we only look in the right places. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Dibner Institute, and the Boston Athenaeum, and is a Class of 2017 Radcliffe Fellow. She is a faculty affiliate of  Harvard’s Department of the History of Science.   Valencius is currently working with journalist Anna Kuchment, of the Dallas Morning News and Scientific American, on a book about earthquakes and the boom in shale energy.

Recent Publications
  •  The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes (The University of Chicago Press, 2013, paperback, 2014).  “Recommended summer book:” Nature, 2014.
  • “The Health of the Country:” How American Settlers Understood Themselves and Their Land (Basic Books, 2002).  2003 George Perkins Marsh Prize and the 1999 Allan Nevins Prize.

representative articles:

  • “How to Build Bridges: Career Stories that Connect the Humanities and the Sciences,” (coauthored) in Paul Gibbs, ed., Transdisciplinary Higher Education: A Theoretical Basis Revealed in Practice (Springer: 2017): 227-254.
  • “Science in Early America,” (co-authored) Journal of the Early Republic, 36, no 1. (Spring 2016).
  • “Accounts of the New Madrid earthquakes: personal narratives and seismology over the last two centuries,” in Deborah R. Coen, ed., Witness to Disaster: Earthquakes and Expertise in Comparative Perspective, special issue of Science in Context, 25, no. 1 (February 2012).
  •  “Sacagawea’s ‘Cold’: Pregnancy and the Written Record of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,” (co-authored) Bulletin of the History of Medicine 82 (Summer 2008). Awarded the 2012 History of Science Society Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize
  • “Gender and the Economy of Health on the Santa Fe Trail,”in Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy, and Chris Sellers, eds., Landscapes of Exposure: Knowledge and Illness in Modern Environments, published as Osiris 19 (2004).
  • “ISOTYPE and the Project of Universal Graphic Language,” in Werner Sollors, ed., Multilingual America (New York and London: New York University Press, 1998)
Media Coverage
“Barnes and…A Conversation with Dr. Conevery Bolton Valencius,” 25-minute interview about earthquakes of past and present on AETN, Arkansas public television, filmed April 2015 and broadcast September 2015.
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic