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

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.


Grads, faculty gather at UW to celebrate Gaylord Nelson's centennial at the 9th Annual CHE Graduate Symposium

Graduate students and faculty representing 13 different institutions from the US and Canada gathered in Madison for a rich weekend of conversation, debate, and service learning in celebration of Gaylord Nelson's centennial. The group, participants in the CHE Graduate Symposium, worked towards building a "new vocabulary" for the environment, a theme created by conference co-organizers and CHE associates Brian Hamilton and Kate Wersan.

Want to learn more?

Read an interview with Symposium participant Dr. Scott Kirsch. 

Peruse the full Symposium schedule and list of participants.

Read an interview with Symposium organizers Brian Hamilton and Kate Wersan.

 

Thanks to our many conference participants for joining us, and congratulations to the many CHE volunteers involved in hosting the event! 


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Upcoming Events

Jordahl Public Lands Lecture
Monday, October 10, 7:00 PM, Memorial Union, Shannon Hall
Featuring Jonathan Jarvis, Director, National Park Service. Jarvis has reinvigorated the National Park Service's role as an international advocate for protected areas and is a recognized world leader in cultural and natural resource management. Managing the National Park Service on the eve of its centennial in 2016, Jarvis has focused on several key areas that are critical for the future: enhancing stewardship of the places entrusted to the Service's care; maximizing the educational potential of parks and programs; engaging new generations and audiences, and ensuring the welfare and fulfillment of National Park Service employees. "America's National Park System is a gift from past generations to this and succeeding generations," says Jarvis. "And while the challenges we face today-like climate change, shrinking open space, habitat destruction, non-native species, and air and water pollution-could not have been imagined when this agency was established in 1916, our mission remains the same: to preserve this nation's natural and cultural heritage, unimpaired for the enjoyment of this and future generations."


Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape
Thursday, November 3, 7:00 PM, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, H.F. DeLuca Forum
Lauret Edith Savoy’s life and work draw from her need to put the eroded world into language, to remember fragmented pasts into present. A woman of African American, Euro-American, and Native American heritage, she explores the stories we tell of the American land’s origins—and the stories we tell of ourselves in this land. For her, writing of the complex intertwinings of natural and cultural histories is a way of seeking home among the ruins and shards that surround us all. The work is as necessary as breath. Lauret’s latest book is Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (Counterpoint Press), which won the 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.  It was also a finalist for the 2016 PEN American Open Book Award and Phillis Wheatley Book Award, as well as shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. With Alison Hawthorne Deming, she co-edited The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, expanded and revised in 2011). She also compiled and edited Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology (2006, with Eldridge and Judy Moores), and coauthored Living with the Changing California Coast (2005, with Gary Griggs and Kiki Patsch). Lauret’s essays and other writings have appeared in the Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Huffington Post, Travel & Leisure, ArtForum, Christian Science Monitor, and Orion magazine, as well as in books such as Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. Lauret is a professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke College, a photographer, and pilot. Born in California, and a familial native of Washington, D.C., she graduated cum laude from Princeton University, then received her M.S. in earth sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Winner of Mount Holyoke’s Distinguished Teaching Award, she has also held fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University. She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.


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