As of 1 September 2023, Dario Fazzi is the new Professor by Special Appointment at the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies and Leiden University’s Institute for History.

Professor Fazzi will hold the chair of Transatlantic Environmental History. Through this role, he will conduct and promote research focused on a range of socio-ecological issues. This research will particularly target the historical emergence of water-related challenges, from sea level rise to water scarcity. The primary aim is to supplement techno-political approaches to water management with historical perspectives on water justice and water rights.

Blue history

Fazzi plans to position the RIAS as a leading center in continental Europe for studying environmental history. He will broaden the RIAS research scope by encouraging the study of “blue history” — an in-depth look at the complex relationships between water bodies and human culture and societies, particularly those affecting the Atlantic in the modern era. In this context, the blue history focus serves as an invitation to shift away from land-based views and place water-human relationships at the center of historical research.

Transatlantic relations

Following the publication of his upcoming book with Columbia University Press this Fall, Professor Fazzi will continue his investigations into how concerns over water environments have impacted transatlantic relations. He seeks to explore how Western approaches to water have influenced interactions between political elites and intellectuals, the growth of solidarity networks, and the establishment of broader environmental governance.

Educational innovation

As the new chair at the RIAS, Professor Fazzi will also be committed to educational innovation. One focus is the continued organization of virtual exchanges among students across the Atlantic. These programs, developed in cooperation with the RIAS staff, are key to fostering cross-cultural understanding of pressing local ecological issues — especially those affecting delta regions. Through these programs, Professor Fazzi hopes to enable the RIAS to cultivate and develop a new generation of students and scholars more aware of today’s urgent environmental challenges.