graphic element

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.


More news →

Upcoming Events

Twice Alive: A Convergence of Art, Science, and Poetry
Wednesday, March 21, 12:00 AM, School of Education, 159
Lynn Keller, Professor of English and Director of CHE, will introduce this interdisciplinary collaboration exploring the relations of science and art through the study of lichens and fungi, and three of the collaborators will speak: Anne Pringle, Professor of Botany and Bacteriology, will talk about the science of fungi; Emily Arthur, Assistant Professor of Art, will discuss her research as it relates to the fields of art and science in printmaking; and Forrest Gander, Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University, will read his poetry.

Date: March 21, 2018
Time: 12PM-1PM
Location: School of Education Building, 159 Wisconsin Idea Room, 1000 Bascom Hill

Gallery Exhibition Reception
Date: March 21, 2018
Time: 4PM-6PM
Location: SoE Gallery, School of Education Building, 1000 Bascom Hill

Place-Based Workshop 2018
Monday, May 14, 8:00 AM, *, *
Our annual Place-Based Workshop, a multi-day program involving field trips and overnight stays, will be held on the theme "Animating the Landscape" in 2018. This workshop will run May 14-18, and is open to CHE Associates. For more information about getting involved in the planning of this workshop, please see our Place-Based Workshop page.

More events →