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Keith Pluymers

Assistant Professor
Schroeder Hall - SCH 318
Office Hours
Monday and Wednesday, 1-3:30PM and by appointment.
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


After completing my BA in History at the University of Delaware, I earned my PhD at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining ISU, I was a postdoctoral instructor at Caltech.

Current Courses

200.003Doing History: An Introduction

227.001Early Modern Europe

101.003Western Civilization To 1500

101.004Western Civilization To 1500

332.001Environmental History

490.004Readings -- Field Of Study

101.006Western Civilization To 1500

101.007Western Civilization To 1500

Teaching Interests & Areas

Early Modern Europe, Environmental History, British and Irish History, Atlantic World, Global History

Research Interests & Areas

My first book No Wood, No Kingdom: Political Ecology in the English Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021) examines fears of wood scarcity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the ways in which they shaped English colonial expansion.

My next project examines the history of municipal water supplies, steam power, and climate in the English Atlantic World.

Ph D

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

BA History

University of Delaware
Newark, DE

Outstanding University Teaching Award (Teaching Initiative)

Illinois State University

Teaching Initiative Award

College of Arts and Sciences

Research Initiative Award (College of Arts and Sciences nominee)

Illinois State University

Book Review

The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America by Jonathan Zimmerman [Book Review] in Teaching History: A Journal of Methods (Spring 2021), 46 (1), pgs. 34-35
"A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet [Book Review]," Teaching History: A Journal of Methods, 45, no. 1 (2020), 71-73
"Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century Ireland [Review]," Environmental History 25, no. 4 (October 2020), 802-804
"Ellen Browning Scripps: New Money and American Philanthropy [Book Review]," Southern California Quarterly (2020), 102 (3), pgs. 319-321,
Pluymers, K. A Biography of a Map in Motion: Augustine Herrman’s Chesapeake. By Christian J. Koot. (New York: New York University Press, 2018. Pp. xiv, 283. $40, ISBN 978-1-4798-3729-8) [Review]. Randal Hall (EDs). Journal of Southern History (2019)

Book, Authored

No Wood, No Kingdom: Political Ecology in the English Atlantic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021)

Book, Chapter

Pluymers, K. ‘Pirates’ and the Problems of Plantation in Seventeenth-Century Ireland. Peter Mancall and Carole Shammas (EDs). Governing the Sea in the Early Modern Era: Essays in Honor of Robert C. Ritchie (2015): 79-108.

Journal Article

“Composting in the herbarium” (co-authored with Melissa Oresky), Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture (Autumn 2020) issue 52, pgs. 156-172.
Pluymers, K. Atlantic Iron: Wood Scarcity and the Political Ecology of Early English Expansion. William and Mary Quarterly 73.3 (2016): 389-426.
Pluymers, K. Taming the Wilderness in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Ireland and Virginia. Environmental History 16.4 (2011): 610 - 632.


Water and Power in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia. History Department Brown Bag Series. University of Illinois at Chicago. (2021)
No Wood, No Kingdom Book Talk, Early American Seminar Series, USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, 11 September 2021
“Mud, Steam, and London’s Eighteenth-Century Water Companies,” University of Chicago British History Seminar, 19 July 2021
“Scarcity and Early Modern English Expansion,” Early Modern Europe Seminar, Princeton University, 13 October 2021
Atlantic Iron: Wood Scarcity and the Political Ecology of English Expansion. Environmental Studies Workshop. University of Chicago. (2019)
Bringing the Environment into the History Classroom. History-Social Sciences Teacher Symposium. (2019)
The Great Irish Famine, an Unnatural Disaster?. Senior Professionals Meetings with the Professors. ISU Senior Professionals. (2019)
“Indicted weirs and absolutist political ecology in early modern Ireland,” Northeast Conference on British Studies, 4-5 October 2019
“Panel Discussion: A Confluence of Botanical Interests,” Milner Library, ISU, 1 October 2019
“Wood Conservation, Atlantic Trade, and the Landscapes of Early English Barbados,” North American Conference for British Studies, 14-17 November 2019

Grants & Contracts

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Short-Term Fellowship. Library Company of Philadelphia. Private. (2021)
New Faculty Initiative Grant. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2019)
International Seminar Series: Local and Global Environments in Conversation. International Studies Program. Illinois State University.