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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

CHE Graduate Associate Marcos Colón wins international recognition for documentary film "Beyond Fordlândia”

Written and directed by CHE Graduate Associate Marcos Colón, documentary film "Beyond Fordlândia" (2017, 75 min) presents an environmental account of Henry Ford’s Amazon experience decades after its failure. The story addressed by the film begins in 1927, when the Ford Motor Company attempted to establish rubber plantations on the Tapajós River, a primary tributary of the Amazon. This film addresses the recent transition from failed rubber to successful soybean cultivation for export, and its implication for land usage. "Beyond Fordlândia" has been recognized with the best feature-length documentary award from the Cabo Verde International Film Festival, an Award of Excellence from Impact Docs, and the WWF award for Best Awareness-Raising Documentary.


This film was made with support from the Center for Culture, History, and Environment, the Nelson Institute, and the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the Unversity of Wisconsin-Madison. Visit the Beyond Fordlândia website for screening schedule and additional features.

Read and Listen: Edge Effects Digital Magazine and Podcast

Edge Effects, CHE's Digital Magazine, has a lineup of exciting original essays, commentary, and podcasts this fall. Enjoy recent recommendations of environmental books for the classroom , learn why Americans recycle, and listen to inspiring conversations with podcast guests including Anna Tsing and Louis Warren.  Coming soon Jesse Gant will interview Richard White about his new book on Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, Faron Levesque will give a take on the queer geography of Stranger Things, and Kevin Walters will explore the origins of the Wisconsin Idea. 


Find all content on the Edge Effects  website. 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

Call for Papers & Creative Work Extended: 11th Annual CHE Graduate Student Symposium
Wednesday, January 17, 8:00 AM, Science Hall
The Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) is proud to announce our 11th annual Graduate Student Symposium. The symposium’s goal is to provide a supportive setting for graduate students to present and receive feedback on current work related to environmental and cultural change in the full sweep of human history. Work on all geographic locations, time periods, from all disciplines, and in a variety of forms and modes is welcome. Presentations may approach environmental and cultural change from diverse perspectives and methodologies: scientific, historical, theoretical, artistic. Graduate students are invited to submit single-paper proposals, a round-table discussion panel of 3 or 4 on a related topic, or poster proposals. Presentations on current, ongoing work, rather than on finished projects are encouraged. The CHE graduate symposium also invites proposals for artworks to be showcased the night before the symposium. We welcome art installations, short films, performances, poetry, music, and readings of any kind that address environmental and cultural change in the full sweep of human history. Please note that the 2018 Symposium is primarily targeted at featuring work from UW-Madison graduate students. Abstracts are due January 17, 2018. Please see the CFP for more information on opportunities to participate and submission instructions.

CHE Community Meeting: Programming for 2018-2019
Thursday, January 25, 4:00 PM, Bradley Memorial, 204
Come join us for continued conversation about CHE programming for 2018-2019 and to learn more about the themes already selected for the coming year. Reminder: program proposals are due February 15.

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