The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

RCEH_coverAnthology: Ursula K. Heise, Jon Christensen, and Michelle Niemann, ed. The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities. London: Routledge, 2017.

This book offers a scholarly introduction to the environmental humanities—that is, the interdisciplinary study of how human cultures and histories shape the environment and inform our responses to environmental problems. It consists of 45 chapters by leading environmental historians, environmental philosophers, geographers, anthropologists, and ecocritics.

My role: I both co-edited the volume and managed the editing process. (As a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA, I also coordinated the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on the Environmental Humanities where many of the volume’s contributors workshopped drafts of their chapters.)

My work included:

  • writing big-picture comments on each chapter draft for its author, often with questions about the argument or suggestions for structural revisions, and revising these comments in consultation with my co-editors;
  • corresponding with contributors about suggested revisions, edits, and deadlines;
  • editing the revised chapters before passing them to my co-editors for their edits;
  • proofreading the book, circulating the proof to contributors, and compiling their corrections in one annotated proof for Routledge;
  • communicating with our editors at Routledge;
  • setting up and maintaining a system to keep track of documents and versions during the editing process;
  • formatting and finalizing all the chapters in accordance with Routledge’s specifications;
  • keeping track of images and permissions;
  • compiling a conceptual index for the volume.

“Michelle Niemann is the single best editor I have ever worked with. Her deep knowledge of several fields in the humanities and social sciences, her sharp intellect and sense of what makes for persuasive arguments, and her meticulous attention to detail have been enormously useful to me in improving both the substance and the form of my book chapters and essays on three different projects. She is also a superb project manager who knows how to keep as many as fifty contributors to a volume on track and on time. With her additional excellence in proofreading and indexing, she delivers manuscripts that press editors praise, with real astonishment, for their polish and consistency, leaving their in-house copy-editors with only minor tasks. Michelle accomplishes all of this with a consistent good cheer and sense of humor that helps even the most harried of writers through the editorial process. I’ll be sure to work with her in all my future publishing projects.”

— Ursula K. Heise, Marcia H. Howard Chair in Literary Studies, Department of English, Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, UCLA, and author of Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species and Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global