The Elinor Melville Prize for Latin American Environmental History

The Melville prize, established in 2007 through a bequest from Elinor Melville, is awarded for the best book in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese on Latin American Environmental History.  Melville defined environmental history as “the study of the mutual influences of social and natural processes.”  The prize goes to the book that best fits that definition, while also considering sound scholarship, grace of style, and importance of the scholarly contribution. Normally not considered are reprints or re-editions of works published previously, and works not primarily historical in aim or content.  More general works of environmental history with significant Latin American content may also be considered. In exceptional cases, the book award committee may decide on co-winners. The co-winners will split the prize. In such cases, there would not be an honorable mention.



Germán Vergara, Fueling Mexico: Energy and Environment, 1850-1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

Honorable Mention:
Seth GarfieldGuaraná: How Brazil Embraced the World’s Most Caffeine-Rich Plant (University of North Carolina Press, 2022)


Rocío Gómez, Silver Veins, Dusty Lungs: Mining, Water, and Public Health in Zacatecas, 1835-1946 (Nebraska University Press, 2020)


Mikael Wolfe, Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico (Duke University Press, 2017)


Barbara Mundy, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City (University of Texas Press, 2015)


Vera Candiani, Dreaming of Dry Land: Environmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City (Stanford University Press, 2014)


Susanna Hecht, The Scramble for the Amazon and the ‘Lost Paradise’ of Euclides da Cunha (University of Chicago Press, 2013)


Eric D. Carter, Enemy in the Blood: Malaria, Environment, and Development in Argentina (University of Alabama Press, 2012)


Emily Wakild, Revolutionary Parks: Conservation, Justice, and Mexico’s National Parks, 1910-1940 (University of Arizona Press, 2011)


Mark Carey, In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers: Climate Change and Andean Society (Oxford University Press, 2010)


Stefania Gallini, Una historia ambiental del café en Guatemala: La Costa Cuca entre 1830 y 1902 (Guatemala City: Aviansco, 2009)


Reinaldo Funes MonzoteFrom Rainforest to Cane Field in Cuba: An Environmental History Since 1492 (University of North Carolina Press, 2008)

Honorable Mention:
Rosalva Loreto Lopez, Una vista de ojos a una ciudad novohispana: La Puebla de los Angeles en el Siglo XVIII


Shawn William Miller, An Environmental History of Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2007)


Myrna Santiago, The Ecology of Oil: Environment, Labor and the Mexican Revolution, 1900-1938 (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Melville Prize Committees (Chair listed first):

2023 Barbara Mundy, Eric Carter, Rocío Gómez

2021 Myrna Santiago (chair), Jaime Rodríguez, Oscar de la Torre.

2019 Mark Healey , Stefania Gallini, Wilson Picado Umaña

2018 Claudi María Leal León, Mark Healey, Kristin Wintersteen

2016 John Soluri, Sharika Crawford, Vera Candiani

2016 Thomas Rogers, John Soluri, Sharika Crawford

2015 Emily Wakild, Tom Rogers, John Soluri

2014 Mark Carey, Emily Wakild, Sharika Crawford

2013 Myrna Santiago, Emily Wakild, Mark Carey

2012 Shawn Miller, Myrna Santiago, Mark Carey

2011 Gregory Cushman, Shawn Miller, Myrna Santiago

2010 Susan Deeds, Gregory Cushman, Shawn Miller

2009 Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, Susan Deeds, Gregory Cushman

2008 Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, Stuart McCook, Susan Deeds

2007 Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, Stuart McCook, Mark Carey

< Prev Next >