James BEATTIE is Director, Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, New Zealand, where he teaches imperial, environmental, garden, and world history. Email: jbeattie@waikato.ac.nz He is also a Research Associate of the Environmental History Centre, ANU and a Senior Research Associate of Centre of World Environmental History, Sussex University.

He has published over 50 articles and chapters on topics in imperial environmental history, history of science, garden history, and art history. He has also written and co-edited six books, including most recently: Eco-cultural Networks and the British Empire: New Views on Environmental History (co-editor with Emily O’Gorman and Edward Melillo, Bloomsbury, 2015), Climate, Science, and Colonization: Histories from Australia and New Zealand (co-editor with Emily O’Gorman and Matt Henry, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and Visions of Peace: The H.W. Youren Collection and the Art of Chinese Cultural Diplomacy (co-written with Richard Bullen, 2014).

He is Founding Editor of International Review of Environmental History (ANU Press) and co-editor with Vinita Damoradaran, Rohan D’Souza and Sujit Sivasundaram of the book series Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History, and on the editorial boards of Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, Environment and History, and New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies. He is also Co-Director with Richard Bullen of a $434,000 Marsden Royal Society project on Rewi Alley, Art and Chinese Cultural Diplomacy.

His past books are:

  • Eco-Cultural Networks and the British Empire: New Perspectives on Environmental History, James Beattie, Edward Mellilo and Emily O’Gorman, eds. (New York; London: Continuum Bloomsbury, 2015, forthcoming). 323 pp.
  • Climate, Science, and Colonization: Histories from Australia and New Zealand, James Beattie, Emily O’Gorman and Matt Henry, eds., (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 280 pp.
  • with Richard Bullen, Visions of Peace: The H.W. Youren Collection and The Art of Chinese Soft Diplomacy(Dunedin: Confucius Institute and MTG Hawke’s Bay, 2014), 108pp.
  • with Duncan Campbell, Lan Yuan蘭園: A Garden of Distant Longing (Dunedin: Shanghai Museum Press and Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust, 2013). 140 pp.
  • Empire and Environmental Anxiety, 1800-1920: Health, Science, Art and Conservation in South Asia and Australasia(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). 336 pp.
  • 蘭園Lan Yuan – The Garden of Enlightenment: Essays on the Intellectual, Cultural, and Architectural Background to the Dunedin Chinese Garden, James Beattie, ed. (Hamilton: New Zealand Asian Studies Society; Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust, 2008). 91 pp.

His current book projects are:

  • Environment, Modernization and Development in East Asia: Perspectives from Environmental History (edited with Ts’ui-jung Liu; Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)
  • Rewi Alley, and the Art of Chinese Cultural Diplomacy (with Richard Bullen)
  • People and Environment since the Holocene (with Bruce Clarkson)
  • Chinese Migrant Landscapes: Environmental Exchanges between South China and New Zealand

Environmental History at The Historical Research Unit, University Of Waikato in 2015

Environmental History Symposium

Histories of Science, Environment, Gardens Symposium

19 August 2015
Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand

HRU Public Lectures on Environmental History

2 July
Professor Harriet Ritvo, Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Wanting the Wild: People, Animals and Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century
*Public Lecture in association with Te Whare Taonga o Waikato/Waikato Museum, Museum Lecture Theatre, 5.30 p.m.-7.00 p.m.

9 August
Professor Tom Brooking, History, University of Otago
New Zealand Environmental History: A Story of Transformations via Farming and Gardening
*Public Lecture in association with Hamilton Gardens, Chartwell Room, Hamilton Gardens, 5.30 p.m.-7.00 p.m.


HRU Public Seminars on Environmental History

23 April
Dr. Catherine Abou-Nemeh, History, Victoria University of Wellington
Regeneration and Animal Soul in Early Modern Crayfish Experiments

4 June
Dr. James Beattie, History, University of Waikato
China on a Plate: A Willow Pattern Garden Realised

11 June
Dr. Ryan Tucker Jones, History, University of Auckland
Liquid Socialism: Soviet Whalers and the Ecology of the Kollectiv

20 August
Dr. Jonathan West, Waitangi Tribunal
What Lies Beneath? History and New Zealand’s Oceans



Environmental History Podcasts