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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

332.001Environmental History

101.003Western Civilization To 1500

101.004Western Civilization To 1500

490.004Readings -- Field Of Study

478.001Seminar: Topics In Global History

101.004Western Civilization To 1500

101.005Western 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

Environmental Stewardship Award

ISU Office of Sustainability

Kenneth A. and Mary Ann Shaw Teaching Fellowship

ISU College of Arts and Sciences

John Ben Snow Prize for Best Book on British Studies Pre-1800

North American Conference on British Studies

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

“Ecologies of Freedom and the Challenge for Environmental History,” roundtable review of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow in Commonplace: The Journal of Early American Life (October 2022),
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,

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.


Book Break: Keith Pluymers on No Wood, No Kingdom. Book Breaks. Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History. (2022)
No Wood, No Kingdom. Greenhouse Online Book Talks. The Greenhouse: Center for Environmental Humanities, University of Stavenger. (2022)
"“‘Extreme’ Climates, Disease, and Urban Infrastructure," North American Conference on British Studies, 12 November 2022, Chicago, IL.
“Green Imperialism Revisited,” Environments and Sustainability Symposium, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, The Ohio State University, 18-19 November 2022
“Indicted Weirs and the Competing Political Ecologies of Plantation Ireland,” Early Modern Ireland and the Wider World, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 8 April 2022
“Teaching the Climate Crisis (Roundtable),” American Society for Environmental History, 24 March 2022, Eugene, OR
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

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.