The Nelson Institute's Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) draws together faculty, staff, graduate students, and others from a wide array of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to investigate environmental and cultural change in the full sweep of human history.


Latest News

Announcing the Edge Effects Podcast

CHE’s digital magazine, Edge Effects, has launched a podcast series of interviews with scholars, scientists, and artists who engage with questions of environmental and cultural change. Enjoy wide-ranging conversations with Carolyn Finney (Black Faces, White Spaces) and Lauret Savoy (Trace). Learn about the path-breaking research of CHE alumni Dawn Biehler (Pests in the City) and Andrew Stuhl (Unfreezing the Arctic).  Several more exciting episodes are forthcoming in 2017, including William Cronon's reflection on the 25th anniversary of his book Nature’s Metropolis; Adam Mandelman will talk law and politics in the Anthropocene with Jedediah Purdy (After Nature); and Edge Effects editor Helen Bullard will host a conversation with glass artist Anna Lehner about her current work exploring endangered languages.

Get the podcast sent straight to your mobile device or computer by subscribing through the iTunes store. You can also find episodes on Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn, or stream or download directly on the Edge Effects website.


Finding the Words: Erstwhile Blog editor Julia Frankenbach reflects on the CHE Symposium weekend

CU-Boulder graduate student and Erstwhile blog editor Julia Frankenbach was one of the many attendees at the March 4-6, 2016 CHE Graduate Symposium "E is for Environment: New Vocabularies for the Past, Present, and Future." In addition to describing the rich set of topics discussed at weekend paper workshops, panel presentations, and keynote from Dr. Kate Brown of University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Frankenbach remarks that the weekend was "a humbling place to be, think, and rejuvenate." But what new questions can one think on when, as Frankenbach aptly observes, environment's "capaciousness" as a term tends towards abstraction? Read more of her reflections and takeaways from the weekend in the article she has authored for Erstwhile.


More news →

Upcoming Events

William deBuys on "Not Shutting Down: Staying Engaged in an Era of Environmental Loss"
Wednesday, April 5, 12:00 PM, Helen C. White, 7191
Terra Incognita Art Series Event
Can the beauty of Earth re-inspire us even in the most trying times? Environmental historians (and journalists) face the challenge of telling stories that are true (and therefore too often lack happy endings) and yet do not cause our audiences to go numb and stop listening. After writing recent books on climate change and extinction, William deBuys will speak about his efforts to grapple with these dilemmas and share his (admittedly provisional) answers. deBuys is the author of eight books including The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures (listed by the Christian Science Monitor as one of the ten best non-fiction books of 2015), A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American West (2011), The Walk (2008), Seeing Things Whole: The Essential John Wesley Powell (2001), Salt Dreams (1999), River of Traps (a 1991 Pulitzer finalist,) and Enchantment and Exploitation (1985). Please join us for a talk and conversation aimed at thinking through these topics together.


Hope and Renewal in the Age of Apocalypse
Tuesday, April 18, 8:00 AM, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
11th Annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference
Post-apocalyptic films and books are more popular than ever, with recent titles like The Hunger Games, The Passage, Snowpiercer and The Walking Dead joining a rapidly growing list. What drives our fascination with the end of the world? Can this pop-culture phenomenon help us understand today's environmental challenges and stimulate ideas to build a just, secure and sustainable future? Hope and Renewal in the Age of Apocalypse features an exciting line-up of provocative authors, leading thinkers and creative problem solvers to explore these questions. Join us for a day of fresh ideas about climate change, wildlife conservation, economic growth, social justice and other challenges that drive our anxieties and test our resolve.


More events →