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.


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CHE Associates Highlight Research at American Society for Environmental History Annual Meeting

The American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) will hold its annual meeting in Chicago at the Drake Hotel on March 29-April 2, and many members of the CHE community are preparing to make the trip.

The work of CHE faculty associates will be highlighted. William Cronon will reflect on the 25th anniversary of his book Nature's Metropolis at Saturday evening's plenary. Gregg Mitman's film The Land Beneath Our Feet will be screened and the subject of a roundtable discussion on Thursday afternoon, and Mitman will serve as commentator for the panel "Scale and Circulation: Bringing History and Geography Together in Global Environmental Histories of Empire." CHE faculty associate, Rick Keyser will be joined by CHE alum Alexander Olson on the panel "Conservation in Historical and Comparative Perspective: Woodlands in Europe."

Three CHE graduate associates are presenting their research. Spring Greeney will deliver the paper "What Clean Should Smell Like: Body Work, Laundry, and the Politics of Nature in the US, 1931-1947"; Rachel Gross will speak on "Layering for Cold and the M-1943 Field Jacket: How American Military Studies of Climates and Bodies Shaped Popular Style”; and Kate Wersan will present "Mechanical Gardeners and Scientific Sailors: Standardizing Organic Time on Land and Sea, 1750-1830."

Community associates Andy Bruno, Jim Feldman, Curt Meine, and Lisa Ruth Rand also will be participating, as will two of our associates-at-large (Wilko Graf von Hardenberg  and Kristoffer Whitney). Several CHE alums will also be in attendance, including Andrew Case, Michael Dockry, and Anna Zeide.

Lastly, members of the Edge Effects editorial board will be set up in the exhibit area (Gold Coast Room) and look forward to chatting with conference attendees about CHE's digital magazine.

For times and locations of these presentations, visit the ASEH conference program.


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.


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Upcoming Events

Terra Incognita Art Series Presents Ecological Storytelling: Imaginative Experiments for All Ages (Co-Sponsored by CHE)
Saturday, October 7, 1:00 PM, Madison Public Library, Bubbler Room
Ecological Storytelling: Imaginative Experiments for All Ages is a special workshop by artists Christa Donner and Andrew Yang. Join Terra Incognita for this hands-on experience exploring unexpected connections between the things in your everyday life and our world - natural, artificial, cultural, and imaginable. Participants of all ages will work together to explore the ecological webs that connect through our lives. In this time of environmental complexity, we need new ways of telling stories that connect us to each other and to our futures, pasts, and present environment. This playful approach to ecological narratives involves the complex, non-linear, and indeterminate. Open to all ages. Inquiries: Terra Incognita Art Series.


"Sorry for your loss: how we grieve--and do not grieve--animal death" with Margo DeMello
Monday, October 9, 4:00 PM, Helen C. White, 7191
CHE welcomes Margo DeMello for a public talk, "Sorry for your loss: how we grieve--and do not grieve--animal death." While religious scholars are divided as to whether or not non-human animals have immortal souls or will experience an afterlife after death, many people believe that animals—at least some animals—will experience an afterlife.  This talk will address both how people mourn and memorialize dead animals, and will cover one of the most popular understandings of an animal afterlife: the Rainbow Bridge. DeMello is an adjunct faculty member in the Anthrozoology Masters’ Program at Canisius College and serves as Program Director for Human-Animal Studies at the Animals and Society Institute. 


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