Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Michigan Tech
Website URL
environmental, ecological, environmental health, pollution, mining, toxics, climate, health, body, forest, conservation, Lake Superior, wildlife, water
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Nancy Langston is Distinguished Professor of Environmental History at Michigan Technological University in the Department of Social Sciences, the College of Forest Resources and Ecosystem Sciences, and the Great Lakes Research Center.

Her most recent book, Sustaining Lake Superior (Yale University Press, Fall 2017), examines climate change and toxics in the Lake Superior basin. Her three previous books include Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares (UW Press, 1995, winner of the Forest History Society Weyerhaeuser Book Prize); Where Land and Water Meet (UW Press, 2003); and Toxic Bodies (Yale University Press, 2010).

Her current project explores climate change and animal migrations, focused on the upper Great Lakes. How has climate change affected the movements of three iconic species of the northern forest: woodland caribou, Great Lakes sturgeon, and loons? How have the relationships between humans and migratory other species been influenced by climate change? How do animal migrations influence the mobilizations of toxics into distant spaces, and how does climate change in turn affect toxic mobility? Can restoring these species help in the fight against climate change? She am currently preparing a series of lectures on these topics for the 2019 Mandel Lectures in the Humanities at Brandeis University in Spring 2019, which will be revised into a book.

In 2018, Langston was awarded  the American Society for Environmental History’s Distinguished Service Award, and she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Umeå University in 2014.  During 2012-2013, she was the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science, in residence in the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies at Umeå University.

For 17 years, she was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Past-president of the American Society for Environmental History, from 2010-2013 she served as editor of the flagship journal in the field, Environmental History. She is one of the coordinators of The Syllabus Project, an initiative to diversify environmental history syllabi (

​Author of 4 award-winning books, 49 peer-reviewed articles, and dozens of popular pieces in outlets as diverse as the New York TimesHigh Country Newse360, and Places Journal, Langston has received fellowships from the Marshall Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Recent Publications


  • Sustaining Lake Superior: An Extraordinary Lake in a Changing World (Yale UP 2017)
  • Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES (Yale UP 2010)
  • Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed (University of Washington Press, 2003) focuses on dilemmas over riparian management in the West. This study examines the ways different cultures have transformed riparian systems and the ways scientific and cultural ideas of nature have affected those transformations. After the Malheur militant takeover in 2016, Langston was interview by 21 major media outlets and contributed Op-Ed pieces for the New York Times, e360, and High Country News:
  • Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares (University of Washington Press, 1995) examines the causes of the forest health crisis on western national forests. Forest Dreams won the 1997 Forest History Society book prize for best book in forest and conservation history published in the preceding two years.

Major articles and chapters: over 52, including

Langston, N. In press. “Environment and sustainability in mining.” Chapter for Environment and Sustainability in a Globalizing World, Ed. A. Nightingale and T Bohler, ME Sharpe Press 2017.

Baeten, J. P., Langston, N., Lafreniere, D. J. In press. “A Spatial Evaluation of Historic Iron Mining Impacts on Current Impaired Waters in Lake Superior’s Mesabi Range.” Ambio.

Langston, N. E. 2018. “DOCUMERICA and the power of environmental history.” Environmental History 23(1):106-116.

Langston, N. 2017 “Iron  Mines, Toxicity, and Indigenous Communities in the Lake Superior Basin,” pp. 313-338 in Mining North America, eds. G. Vrtis and J. McNeil, U of CA Press.

Baeten, J. P., Langston, N., Lafreniere, D. J. 2017. “A Spatial Evaluation of Historic Iron Mining Impacts on Current Impaired Waters in Lake Superior’s Mesabi Range.” Ambio 47 (2): 231-244.

John Baeten, Nancy Langston, and Don Lafreniere. 2016. “A geospatial approach to uncovering the hidden waste footprint of Lake Superior’s Mesabi Iron Range.” The Extractive Industries and Society 3(4): 1031-1045.

Mårald, E., N. Langston, A. Stens, and  J. Moen. 2016. “Changing ideas in forestry: a comparison of concepts in Swedish and American forestry journals during the early twentieth and twenty-firstcenturies.” Ambio 45 (Suppl 2): 74-86.

Thistle, J. and N. Langston. 2016. “Entangled histories: Iron ore mining in Canada and the United States.” Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2): 269-277.

Steen-Adams, M. M., Langston, N., Adams, M. D., & Mladenoff, D. J. 2015. “Historical framework to explain long-term coupled human and natural system feedbacks: application to a multiple-ownership forest landscape in the northern Great Lakes region, USA.” Ecology and Society20(1).

Langston, N. 2015. “Thinking Like A Microbe: Borders and Environmental History.” Canadian Historical Review. 95(4): 592-603.

Langston, N. 2013. “Mining the Boreal North,” American Scientist March/April 101:2-4.

Steen-Adams MM, Mladenoff DJ, Langston NE, Liu F, Zhu J. 2012. “Influence of biophysical factors and differences in Ojibwe reservation versus Euro-American social histories on forest landscape change in northern Wisconsin, USA.” Landscape Ecology 26: 1165-1178.

Langston, N. 2010. “Toxic Inequities: Chemical Exposures and Indigenous Communities in Canada and the United States.” Natural Resources Journal 50:2.

Steen-Adams, M., N. Langston, and D. J. Mladenoff. 2010. “Logging the Great Lakes Indian Reservations: The Case of the Bad River Band of Ojibwe.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 34: 41-66.

Langston, N.  2009. “Paradise Lost: Climate Change, Boreal Forests, and Environmental History.” Environmental History 14: 641-650.

Roberts, Jody A. and N. Langston. 2008. “Toxic Bodies/ Toxic Environments: An Interdisciplinary Forum.” Environmental History 13: 629-635.

Langston, N. 2008. “The Retreat from Precaution: Regulating Diethylstilbestrol (DES), Endocrine Disruptors, and Environmental Health.” Environmental History 13: 41-65.

Media Coverage
New York Times, Washington Post, High Country News, e360, NPR, WI Public Radio, MI Public Radio
Country Focus
United States and Canada
Expertise by Geography
North America
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic