Category Archives: “Give Earth a Chance” Exhibit

Matt Lassiter Publishes Essay in Washington Post on the 1970 U-M Teach-In on the Environment (March 11, 2020)

Matt Lassiter, the director of the Environmental Justice HistoryLab, has published an essay on the history and legacies of ENACT’s 1970 Teach-In on the Environment in the Washington Post‘s “Made by History” section on March 11, 2020, the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the four-day U-M teach-in.  Read the article here.

The essay, subtitled “the forgotten environmental action that pointed the way forward for the left,” emphasizes the legacies of environmental sustainability and justice and includes quotations from five of the former Environmental Action for Survival leaders and Earth Day 1970 organizers who have returned to U-M campus for two panel discussions on the Teach-In on the Environment and campus activism.

Lassiter’s article draws from the archival research and interviews conducted by the eight undergraduate students who created the “Give Earth a Chance: Environmental Activism in Michigan” exhibit published January 2018.  This is a prominent example of Why Environmental History Matters and of the power of faculty-student research collaborations that utilize digital and multimedia platforms for public impact, the mission of the U-M HistoryLabs program.

Michigan Today Creates Slide Show from “Give Earth a Chance” (Feb. 2020)

Michigan Today, a publication of the University of Michigan, has created a slide show drawn from the research materials in the “Give Earth a Chance: Environmental Activism in Michigan” exhibit, as a preview for the “Earth Day at 50: Rise to the Challenge” commemoration of the 1970 Teach-In on the Environment.  The Environmental Justice HistoryLab is partnering with the Ecology Center to produce two panel discussions for the commemorative week on March 11, 1970, co-sponsored by the School for Environment and Sustainability.

View the Michigan Today slide show here.

Meghan Clark and Hannah Thoms Publish Chapter in the Book: Teaching Undergraduates with Archives (Dec. 2019)

Meghan Clark and Hannah Thoms, two members of the undergraduate student team that created the “Give Earth a Chance: Environmental Activism in Michigan” exhibit, have published a chapter about their experiences in Teaching Undergraduates with Archives (Michigan Publishing, 2019).  The chapter, “Give Earth a Chance: History Undergraduates and Environmental Activism in the Archives,” is coauthored with Professor Matt Lassiter, the project director.  The chapter is an expanded version of a panel presentation by the three coauthors at the “Teaching Undergraduates with Archives” symposium held at the Bentley Historical Library in November 2018, where Clark and Thoms were the only undergraduates on the conference program.

Read the “Give Earth a Chance: History Undergraduates and Environmental Activism in the Archives” chapter here.

Read all of Teaching Undergraduates with Archives, coedited by Nancy Bartlett, Elizabeth Gadelha, and Cinda Nofziger, at this link.  The anthology is open-source with free digital downloads.

From the Bentley Historical Library: “This work reflects a shift at the Bentley and beyond to develop new approaches to engaging undergraduates in research with primary sources,” says Bentley Associate Director Nancy Bartlett, who edited the book along with Bentley archivists Liz Gadelha and Cinda Nofziger. “Teaching students how to analyze and understand primary sources is how you can teach students to analyze and understand anything.”

History Students Win U-M Library Award for “Give Earth a Chance” Website (May 2018)

In May 2018, four students in History 399, “Environmental Activism in Michigan,” won the second-place prize for undergraduate research during AY 2017-2018 in the Maize category for single-term projects, awarded by U-M Libraries and sponsored by JABberwocky Literacy Agency.  Meghan Clark, Amanda Hampton, Julia Montag, and Hannah Thoms received the award for their contributions to the digital exhibit “Give Earth a Chance: Environmental Activism in Michigan” during the Fall 2017 semester.

View the award citation here.

From the citation:

Format:  Website, Online Exhibit

The U-M Library Undergraduate Library Research Award Committee is pleased to award Second Place in the Maize Award category for Single-Term Projects to Meghan Clark, Amanda Hampton, Julia Montag, and Hannah Thoms for their project in the Department of History entitled “Give Earth a Chance: Environmental Activism in Michigan.” The four-member student team underwent the daunting task of generating the bulk of the material in a content-rich website that is, according to their professor, Matthew Lassiter, “a phenomenal accomplishment.”

Through its use of a vast array of digitized archival documents and images, interviews, multimedia, and a powerful textual narrative, this unique scholarly resource successfully provides a nuanced examination of environmental activism occurring at U-M over the past 50 years and places it in the broader national context. The committee was impressed by the team’s extensive exploration and use of primary sources within numerous archival collections in the Bentley Historical Library, within the Joseph A. Labadie Collection in the Special Collections Library, accessible via the Michigan Daily Digital Archive, and available online through other institutions and organizations. They supplemented these resources with plenty of books as well as articles from newspapers and scholarly journals.

Deftly navigating the logistics of digitization and building the website, the team coalesced an extraordinary amount of research into an online resource that Lassiter hopes will be recognized as “a model of publicly engaged and digital humanities collaborative scholarship that shows what students can accomplish in collaborative research projects.”