Friday, February 12, 2010

THE OYSTER QUESTION receives OAH Turner Award honorable mention

Christine Keiner's multifaceted analysis of the decline of the Chesapeake Bay oyster industry, THE OYSTER QUESTION, has been given honorable mention by the 2010 Frederick Jackson Turner Award Committee.

The award, presented each year by the Organization of American Historians, commends an author's first book on some significant phase of American history; a list of past winners and honorable mention titles can be found here, and it's extremely congenial company. The winner of this year's prize will be announced at the organization's annual meeting in early April.

Keiner's book, part of the press's Environmental History and the American South series, argues that in contrast to the well-known argument for "the tragedy of the commons," Maryland's officials, scientists and oystermen were able to successfully sustain a regulated commons until a string of events in the 1980s with severe ecological impact.

The search for a workable solution to the oyster question is still very much at the forefront in Maryland; current news stories (Baltimore Sun, South Maryland News) are following the response to Governor Martin O'Malley's proposed Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan, which would dramatically increase the habitat protected in state oyster sanctuaries and encourage aquaculture.