The Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) draws together faculty, research staff, graduate students, and others — from a variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences — at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond. CHE advances multidisciplinary environmental research and learning by fostering collaborations among disciplinary communities; sponsoring a unique array of initiatives, projects, and events; and supporting the work of CHE faculty, graduate, and community associates.

CHE is dedicated to the principles and practices of equity, inclusion, and diversity. We are committed to engaging in the continual practice of examining and addressing systemic and interpersonal forms of bias, racism, discrimination, and injustice affecting our associates and the work of our Center. CHE values the contributions of all of its associates and the profound ways in which varied perspectives derived from intersections of identity, culture, background, experience, and ability enrich the CHE community. We support and empower our associates in the pursuit of teaching, research, outreach, and service that promotes justice within the academy and beyond.

CHE in Action

A small group of students sitting around a table discussing a book.

Environmental Colloquia

Each semester, CHE hosts a series of lunchtime gatherings where CHE associates and others interested in environmental issues share and discuss their research. These gatherings offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning and enriching discussion. Subscribe to CHE’s calendar to be notified of upcoming colloquia events.

CHE Director Anna Andrzejewski discussing an art history book with a student.

Graduate Programs

The CHE Certificate and PhD Minor foster interdisciplinary learning and provide UW-Madison graduate students with tools and perspectives for approaching and understanding humanistic/social dimensions of the natural world.

A man standing on a cliffside trail, looking at a mountainous landscape.

Edge Effects

Edge Effects is a digital magazine and podcast produced by CHE Graduate Associates at UW-Madison. Edge Effects offers a wide array of content relating to environmental and cultural change across the full sweep of human history. It seeks to invite and cultivate a broad readership and authorship that spans a range of political and cultural perspectives. Learn more by visiting the Edge Effects website.

Research Working Groups

CHE supports multidisciplinary collaborations in environmental research through the sponsorship of research working groups. These working groups examine human dimensions of environmental issues with the aim of advancing innovations in interdisciplinary methodology, promoting equity and (environmental) justice, or addressing issues of pressing societal/scientific concern. CHE welcomes research proposals from UW-Madison graduate students, faculty, and academic staff.

Graduate Symposium

Early in the spring semester, CHE graduate associates organize a symposium to showcase their research. Typically this is a campus-wide event but every few years, CHE hosts an international conference, most recently Environmental Justice in Multi-Species Worlds (2020).

Place-Based Workshops

Each year, CHE hosts a Place-Based Workshop that uses place to integrate transdisciplinary perspectives, both in education and research, in understanding human-environment interactions over time. CHE associates are welcome and encouraged to participate as members of the planning committee for this event.

Methods Seminar

Typically each spring, CHE offers a three-credit graduate methods seminar (ENVIR ST 922, “Historical and Cultural Methods in Environmental Research”) open to students in all disciplines. While this seminar is required for the CHE certificate, students enrolled in this course do not need to be enrolled in a CHE graduate program. This course introduces students to methods, approaches, and research questions involved in the study of environmental and cultural change.

Special Events

CHE and its associates frequently sponsor and organize campus-wide workshops (e.g., Interrogating the Plantationocene, a Sawyer Seminar run through the Center for the Humanities), public events (e.g., Tales from Planet Earth film series), and international conferences (e.g., Anthropocene Slam: A Cabinet of Curiosities).

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