During September 14-17, 2011 the Public Lands History Center and the Department of History at Colorado State University hosted National Parks Beyond the Nation, an interdisciplinary colloquium aimed at reconsidering the history of “America’s Best Idea” from global perspectives. The project brought together twelve leading environmental history scholars for an intensive four-day workshop to share their research on the international environmental history of national parks. In addition to discussing and developing pre-circulated papers, participants shared their research in one of three public panels that introduced to a general audience emerging ideas and promoted scholarship, discourse, and debate. The organizing committee was pleased to note that the project attracted and engaged students, faculty, and staff from across the university as well as interested community members and employees of the National Park Service. More than 250 people attended the public presentations. Episode 25 of Nature’s Past, the podcast of the Network in Canadian History & Environment, is a roundtable discussion with several of the colloquium participants. To listen to the podcast, please visit http://niche-canada.org/naturespast. Colloquium participant Alan MacEachern offers his thoughts in a related blog post.
The next phase of the project will require participants to refine their draft papers in preparation for inclusion in an anthology that is slated for publication in 2013. This website will provide the colloquium participants with a platform to continue to share information, links, and research updates on national parks in an international context.