Nancy Langston


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Professor of Environmental History, Social Sciences

Member of the Great Lakes Research Center

  • Ph.D., University of Washington
  • M.Phil, Oxford University
  • B.A., Dartmouth College


I am an environmental historian who examines the shared histories of people and watersheds. My current research explores the connections between landscape change, mining, and environmental health in Lake Superior and other boreal watersheds.

During 2012-2013, I was the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science, in residence in the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies at Umeå University. 

At MTU, I explore the environmental history of Lake Superior. I am particularly interested in students who wish to work on fisheries or mining environmental histories.

Learn more about my research at  Sustaining Lake Superior


  • Environmental history
  • Watershed change
  • Ecological history
  • Fisheries history
  • Mining history

Recent Publications

  • Nancy Langston. 2010. Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES. New Haven: Yale University Press. Read More
  • Nancy Langston. 2003. Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Read More
  • Nancy Langston. 1995. Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares: The Paradox of Old Growth in the Inland West. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Read More
  • Nancy Langston. 2013. Mining the Boreal North. American Scientist. April
  • Michelle Steen-Adams, David J. Mladenoff, Nancy E. Langston, Feng Liu, and Jun Zhu. 2011. “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 (8) (August 21): 1165-1178. Read More
  • Michelle Steen-Adams, 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. Read More

Recent Funding

  • King's Professorship, Sweden


  • Mining the Boreal North. Lecture to the King of Sweden and the Royal Society, Stockholm, May 2013.
  • Hybrid Ecologies and the Environmental Humanities. Keynote for Science and Technology Days, Umea University, Sweden, March 2013.
  • Toxaphene in Lake Superior: The Convergence of Medical and Environmental Health. Keynote for Endocrine Disruptor Conference, Paris, December 2013.
  • Why Blame the Non-native? Invasive species, fisheries collapse, and Lake Superior. Resilience Center, Stockholm, November 2013.
  • What happened to the lake trout? Historical perspectives on multiple stressors in Lake Superior. Aalborg University, Denmark, October 2012.
  • After the collapse: Comparing societal responses to sudden environmental change in boreal watersheds. Umea University, October 2012.
  • Ecological History and an Ecology of Health. Renmin University, Beijing, China. Keynote speaker for opening ceremonies of the Center for Ecological History. May 2012.
  • Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and 50 years of environmental health concerns. Rachel Carson Center and the Deutches Museum, Munich, Germany. Keynote speaker. April 2012

Research Projects

  • Sustaining Lake Superior
  • Mining the Boreal North
  • Toxic Bodies