Frank Zelko

Frank ZelkoAssociate Professor

Environmental History
Office: Sakamaki A409
Phone: (808) 956-6771

PhD University of Kansas, 2003



The son of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, Zelko was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. He studied history and geography in Melbourne, then moved to the University of Kansas to complete a doctorate in environmental history. Before arriving at the University of Hawai‘i in January 2019, he worked for twelve years at the University of Vermont and three years at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on the history of environmentalism, the history of ecological ideas, and the intersection of environment, industrial pollution, and public health.

Courses Offered

Global Environmental History, History of the Future, History of Environmental Movements, Animal Nature, Environmental History of the Americas.

Representative Research Funding

  • 2018: National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine Research Grant. Project: “Precious Bodily Fluids: The 70-Year Struggle for—and against—Water Fluoridation.”
  • 2016: Cain Senior Fellowship, Science History Institute and University of Pennsylvania. Research funding for project “Precious Bodily Fluids.”
  • 2012: Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, University of Munich. Nine-month research and writing fellowship. Project: A History of Greenpeace.
  • 2008: Gerda Henkel Foundation (Düsseldorf) Six-Month Research Fellowship. Project: “History of Greenpeace in Germany.”
  • 2006: Summer Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for History, Göttingen.
  • August 2003 – July 2004: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Trans-Atlantic Environmental History, German Historical Institute, Washington DC. Project: The History of Transatlantic Environmentalism
  • 2000: Aspen Institute (Washington DC) Nonprofit Sector Dissertation Award.
  • 1998: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) six-month research award.
  • 1996: Fulbright Scholarship

Representative Publications

  • “Bravo for the Pacific: Nuclear Testing, Ecosystem Ecology, and the Emergence of Direct-Action Environmentalism” in Edward Melillo and Ryan Jones (Eds.), Migrant Ecologies: Environmental Histories of the Pacific World. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2019.
  • “Seeing Like a God: The Anthropocentric Turn in Environmental Thought,” in Ted Steinberg and Mark Hersey (Eds.), A Field on Fire: Essays on the Future of Environmental History Inspired by Donald Worster. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2019.
  • “Optimizing Nature: Invoking the ‘Natural’ in the Struggle over Water Fluoridation.” History of Science. Nov. 15, 2018.
  • “Scaling Greenpeace: From Local Activism to Global Governance.” Historical Social Research, 42 (2) 2017: 318-342.
  • “The Umweltmulti Arrives: Greenpeace and Grassroots Environmentalism in West Germany,” Australian Journal of Politics and History. Vol. 61(3), Sept. 2015: 397-413.
  • Make it a Green Peace”: The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • “‘A Flower is Your Brother!’ Holism, Nature and the (Non-Ironic) Enchantment of Modernity.” Intellectual History Review. Vol. 23(4), 2013: 517-536.
  • “From Blubber and Baleen to Buddha of the Deep: The Rise of the Metaphysical Whale.” Society and Animals. 20(2012): 91-108.

Make It a Green Peace!