"Learning from the Noxious Ones: The Rise of Chemical Agriculture in the North American Grasslands," Kansas State's Agronomy Invited Seminar Series, 2/4/15
I will be speaking at Kansas State University on Wednesday, February 4, about the relationships between pesticides, aerial sprayers, and agricultural scientists as part of the Agronomy Department's Invited Seminar Series. All are welcome to attend. See the flyer or more information.
David Vail, assistant professor in the Morse department of special collections, has won a prestigious research fellowship for Western American history from the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University. He will conduct research for his second monograph project, "The Farmer's Iron Horse: Railroads and Agricultural Extension in the Twentieth Century American West."
Vail's work explores the history of agricultural extension by looking at the environmental, technological and political economy of agricultural science and railroad expansion in the early 1900s. This book-length study examines the shifting roles of railroads in farm production, rural education and the growth of agricultural science in the Great Plains, the Intermountain West and the Pacific Northwest. He argues that these farm-science trains encouraged a "mobile extension system" that formalized cultivation practices, endorsed research and reinforced market relationships.
During his trip, Vail also hopes to build relationships between the K-State and Brigham Young University Special Collections departments.
"This fellowship will be instructive in my research, but also in how I can provide access, generate interest and explore new ways to connect students and faculty to special collections at K-State," Vail said.
Vail is currently finishing the manuscript for his first book, "Chemical Lands: A History of Pesticides, Aerial Spraying and Health in the North American Grasslands," which is based on his dissertation.
Vail serves as public services archivist for the Morse department of special collections. He received his doctorate in history from K-State in 2012 and specializes in environmental history, agricultural history, history of the American West and Kansas history. In addition to humanities and heritage consulting for multiple historical societies and museums, he is also a member of the Kansas Humanities Council board of directors.
K-State Today (6/17/2014 by Sarah McGreer Hoyt)
Exciting humanities events are happening all over the country this year to highlight the federal humanities and social sciences commission's "Heart of the Matter" study. Below is a copy of the report brief and a link to the film.
November 2013 was an exciting time for the Kansas Humanities Council. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling to Birmingham for the National Humanities Conference with my fellow board members. In addition, we were able to explore the Civil Rights District--a very powerful and emotional place.
I just returned from the 2013 Agricultural History Society Meeting in Banff, Alberta--a truly awesome adventure. Much thanks to Barbara Hahn and the AHS Program Committee as well as Joe Anderson and his local arrangements crew. I'm really looking forward to Provo in 2014.
Here's a photo from my lecture “To Protect, Produce, or Endure?: Pesticides, Aerial Application, and Food Production in Kansas, 1945−2013." Thanks to the Ellis County Historical Society, Kansas Humanities Council, Fort Hays State University, and Hays area libraries for such a great series.
In March 2013, I spoke at the Rachel Carson Symposium hosted by Florida State University’s History and Philosophy of Science Program, the Strozier Library, and Florida’s Program in Humanities.