Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Monash University
Website URL
Environmental History, History of Science, Water History, Climate History, Mining History
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Ruth Morgan is an environmental historian and historian of science with a particular focus on Australia, the British Empire, and the Indian Ocean. Most recently, she has co-edited a themed issue of the International Review of Environmental History, titled ‘Bodies of Knowledge‘.

Ruth holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and is a Senior Research Fellow in History. During 2017, Ruth was based in Munich, Germany at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU, where she held a Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

She joined Monash in mid-2012 after completing her doctoral studies at The University of Western Australia in Perth.

Ruth is a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Historical Association and the National Management Committee of the Australian Garden History Society. She is also Treasurer of the International Water History Association, Vice President of the International Commission on the History of Meteorology, and a member of the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub.

Recent Publications

Sole-author Books

2015     Running out? Water in Western Australia (Crawley, UWA Publishing)

Edited Collections

2018     (with Alessandro Antonello) Bodies of Knowledge: Histories of Environment and Science, International Review of Environmental History 3, no. 2.

2017     (with Christof Mauch and Emily O’Gorman), Visions of Australia: Environments in History, Rachel Carson Center Perspectives.

2014     Argument, Authority and Anxiety in the Atmospheric Sciences, History of Meteorology 6.

2013     (with Jeremy Martens and Cecilia Leong-Salobir) Western Australia and the Indian Ocean, Studies in Western Australian History 28.

Refereed Journal Articles

2018     (with Alessandro Antonello) ‘Making and Unmaking Bodies: Embodying Knowledge and Place in Environmental History’, International Review of Environmental History 3, no. 2, 55-67.

2018     ‘Dry continent dreaming: Australian schemes to use Antarctic icebergs for water supplies’, International Review of Environmental History 3, no. 2, 145-66.

2017     ‘AHS Classics: Rural History and Environmental History’, Australian Historical Studies 48, no. 4, 554-68.

2017     (with Christof Mauch and Emily O’Gorman) ‘Envisioning Australia’, RCC Perspectives, 5-8.

2017     ‘The allure of climate and water independence: desalination projects in Perth and San Diego’, Journal of Urban History, doi:10.1177/0096144217692990

2017     (with Meredith Dobbie and Lionel Frost) ‘Overcoming abundance: social capital and managing floods in inner Melbourne during the nineteenth century’, Journal of Urban History, doi:10.1177/0096144217692984

2017     (with James Beattie) ‘Engineering Edens on the “Rivered Earth”? A review of water management and hydro-resilience in the British Empire, 1860s-1940s’, Environment and History 23, no. 1, 39-62.

2015     ‘Ghosts of the water dreamers: water histories between the desert and the sea’, Griffith REVIEW 47, 172-80.

2014     ‘Imagining a greenhouse future: scientific and literary depictions of climate change in 1980s Australia’, Australian Humanities Review no. 57, 43-60.

2013     ‘Western Australia and the Indian Ocean: a land looking west?’, Studies in Western Australian History 28, 1-12.

2013     ‘Histories for an uncertain future: environmental history and climate change’, Australian Historical Studies 44, no. 3, 350-60.

2013     (with James L. Smith) ‘Pre-modern streams of thought in twenty-first century water management’, Radical History Review no. 116, 105-29.

2011     ‘Diagnosing the dry: historical case notes from southwest Western Australia, 1945-2007’, Osiris, J. Fleming and V. Jankovic (eds), 26, 89-108.

2011     ‘Dry horizons: exploring the responses of Western Australian water managers to the enhanced greenhouse effect in the late 1980s’, History Australia, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 158-76.

2011     (with Philip A. Keirle) ‘Teething problems in the academy: negotiating the transition to large-class teaching in the discipline of history’, Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practic 8, no. 2,

2011     ‘A thirsty city: an environmental history of water supply and demand in 1970s Perth’, Studies in Western Australian History, A. Gaynor and J. Davis (eds), 27, 81-97.

2010     ‘“Fear the hose”: an historical exploration of sustainable water use in Perth gardens, 1970s’, Transforming Cultures eJournal 5, no. 1,

Book Chapters

2017     ‘On the Home Front: Australians and the 1914 Drought’, in Georgina Endfield and Lucy Veale (eds), Cultural Histories, Memories and Extreme Weather: A Historical Geography Perspective, Routledge (Research in Historical Geography Series, eds Simon Naylor and Laura Cameron), 34-54.

2015     ‘Salubrity and the survival of the Swan River Colony: health, climate and settlement in colonial Western Australia’, in A. Varnava (ed.), Imperial Expectations and Realities: El Dorados, Utopias and Dystopias, Manchester University Press (Studies in Imperialism Series, ed. John M. MacKenzie), 89-104.

2014     ‘Farming on the fringe: agriculture and climate variability in the Western Australian wheatbelt’, in James Beattie, Matthew Henry and Emily O’Gorman (eds), Climate, Science and Colonization: Histories from Australia and New Zealand, Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Studies in History of Science and Technology, eds James R. Fleming and Roger D. Launius), 159-76.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Australia, India, South Africa
Expertise by Geography
Africa, Australia, India
Expertise by Chronology
5, 7, 8, 9
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Economic History, Environment, Science