Dr Venus Bivar to join St Anne’s as Associate Professor of Environmental History post-1750 and Tutorial Fellow

We are delighted to announce that Dr Venus Bivar is to join St Anne’s College in September 2023 as Tutorial Fellow in History. She will at the same time take up the new post of Associate Professor of Environmental History post-1750 with the History Faculty.

On her appointment, Dr Bivar commented: “I am thrilled to be taking up Oxford’s first dedicated environmental history post. Given its reputation as one of the more progressive colleges, St. Anne’s will be an excellent base for developing environmental history across the university. I look forward to working alongside students, faculty, and staff to create new initiatives not only in the curriculum but also in the extra-curricular programming.”

Dr Bivar joins us from the University of York, where she is currently Senior Lecturer in Modern History.

Her research and teaching are located at the intersection of environmental, economic, and European history. Her scholarship excavates the histories of major contemporary global phenomena, from the international agricultural trade system and climate change, to the primacy of economics in political life and the centrality of free markets to the liberal democratic state.

While her primary point of reference for thinking through these questions is modern France, her research and teaching often transcend national boundaries, following commodities, actors, and ideas as they circulate in global markets. Methodologically, she is a social and cultural historian who uses the experiences of non-elite actors, as well as larger symbolic ontologies, to understand how state-led economic practices determined the shape of everyday life.

Her first book, Organic Resistance: The Struggle Over Industrial Farming in Postwar France (UNC Press 2018), was awarded the J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association, as well as an honourable mention for the Society for French Historical Studies’ Pinkney Prize, and was shortlisted for both the Canadian Historical Association’s Wallace K. Ferguson Prize, and the Council for European Studies’ European Studies Book Award. With this research she traced the transformation of the French agricultural sector from a backward also-ran into a global powerhouse. Driven by state policies to modernise the French economy in the wake of the Second World War, French agriculture abandoned centuries-old methods, upending rural labour systems and the nation’s physical environment, to become one of the most powerful industries in the world.

She currently working on two new projects. The first, Falling for Growth, examines the influence of economic thought on anthropogenic climate change, while the second, Unsafe Harbour, draws on the tools of political ecology to analyse the history of industrial pollution and port development in modern Marseille.

We look forward to welcoming Venus to St Anne’s later in the year.