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Cameron Muir

Profile

Name: Cameron Muir

Title: Postdoctoral Fellow (APDI), Research Centre, National Museum of Australia

Qualifications: PhD (ANU), BA Hons (UTS)

Expertise: Environmental history, History of food and agriculture, transboundary environmental justice, History and philosophy of science, Aboriginal history.

Contact details

Dr Cameron Muir
Research Centre
National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
CANBERRA ACT  2601
AUSTRALIA

Phone: +61 2 6208 5103
Email: cameron.muir@nma.gov.au

 

Cameron Muir

Background

Cameron Muir is an environmental historian with strong interests in narrative nonfiction writing, and exploring ways research can contribute to public discourse. Since 2008 he has maintained the Australian & New Zealand Environmental History Network website with Libby Robin. He also maintains the Centre for Environmental History website.

Current activities

The Broken Promise of Agricultural Progress: An Environmental History

An environmental history about how people have lived in the aftermath of ecological imperialism. This book journeys to the inland plains of Australia where European ideas and agricultural technologies clashed with a volatile and taunting country that resisted attempts to subdue and transform it for the supply of global markets. Its wide-ranging narrative puts gritty local detail in its global context to tell the story of how cultural anxieties about civilisation, population, and race, shaped agriculture in the twentieth century. It ranges from isolated experiment farms to nutrition science at the League of Nations, from local landholders to high profile moral crusaders, to an Australian apricot grower who met Franklin D Roosevelt and almost fed the world.

This book will be published in the new Routledge Series in Environmental Humanities in 2014.

Feeding the World

A series of projects on the relationships between food, environment, and health. The research centres on changes to food and agricultural production over the twentieth century, the ideas that drove these changes, and the current state of our food systems. For examples of this work, see my Griffith REVIEW essays ‘Feeding the World’ and ‘Marrying Health and Agriculture’. I am contributing to the One River project on the theme of food and environment. One River is a Centenary of Canberra project that will engage with scientists, traditional owners, artists and communities to create local events, debate, films and a range of other activities across the Murray-Darling Basin and in Canberra throughout 2013. See the symposium ‘Critical Undercurrents’ held at Mildura in March 2013.

The Feeding the World project includes a book on the origins of the current food 'crisis', with chapters exploring food and health, food and the poor, waste, eating invasive species and pests, food justice, and environmental impacts of food production.

Pesticides and The War on Weeds

Research for an ARC funded project called ‘The Culture of Weeds: Invasion biology, identity and aesthetics in Australia’. Industry partners are the National Museum of Australia and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. I am working with curators at the NMA on a project about the history of pesticides.  

Restoration Ecology

A project investigating the ideas that have influenced ‘restoration ecology’ internationally. Initial research focuses on the writings of Aldo Leopold in the United States and Eric Rolls in Australia. I will be a visiting fellow at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 (Leopold country).

Achievements

2010 Griffith REVIEW Emerging Writers Prize for Non-fiction (which included a week’s residency at Varuna)

2012 PhD thesis shortlisted for the AHA’s Serle Award

2012 Australian Society of Authors Mentorship

2013 Member of the Expert Reference Group for the One River project

2013/14 Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center, Munich (a joint initiative of LMU Munich and the Deutsches Museum).

Publications

Muir, C, 2012, 'Marrying Health and Agriculture', Griffith REVIEW, Edition 36: What is Australia For?, 150-65.

Muir, C, 2012, Preserved for the people for all time, Inside Story, February, http://inside.org.au/preserved-for-the-people-for-all-time/

Muir, C, 2012, 'Inland thirsts for ideas', Canberra Times, 28 January, pp.

Muir, C, 2010, 'Essay: Feeding the world', Griffith Review, vol. 27, pp. 59-73.

Muir, C, Rose, D & Sullivan, P 2010, 'From the other side of the knowledge frontier: Indigenous knowledge, social-ecological relationships and new perspectives', The Rangeland Journal, vol. 32, pp. 259-265.

Muir, C, 2009, 'The Opera House of the West', Australian Humanities Review, vol. 47, pp. 55-65.