Faculty and Academic Staff Associates

Samer Alatout

Community and Environmental Sociology

Samer Alatout is an associate professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology and the Graduate Program of Sociology. He is affiliated with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Department of Geography, the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, and Middle East Studies Program.

His research interests are in science and technology studies; comparative settler-colonial studies; water justice; environmental governance; and social theories of power. Alatout is writing a book manuscript on the history and politics of water in Palestine from 1900 to the present.

Monique Allewaert


Monique Allewaert’s research integrates literary analysis with political and environmental theory to contribute to an American studies that attends to the flows and structures of colonialism that shape the Western hemisphere. This hemispheric orientation of the field develops through sub- and supra-national frames and problematics in an effort to uncover understandings of personhood, community, and place that were etiolated by earlier organizations of the field. Her book Ariel’s Ecology (University of Minnesota, 2013) argues that in the American plantation zone human bodies were experienced and mythologized not as integrated political subjects but as bodies in parts.

Allewaert is currently working on a book tentatively titled Cut Up: Colonial Insectophilia and Enlightenment from Below, which explores an occluded colonial way of thinking the small and the partial. Focusing on insects as paradigmatic micro-scale entities, this book aims to show how Enlightenment epistemological and ontological claims shifted in cultural peripheries, giving rise to a minoritarian Enlightenment tradition that can be recovered as a potential for contemporary environmentalism, politics, and aesthetics.

Emily Arthur


Emily Arthur sees nature as an interdependent living force rather than as the backdrop for human events. Land is living matter that holds specific meaning to a place. This is the nature-based perspective through which she conducts her research.

Her fine art practice is informed by a concern for the environment, displacement, exile and the return home from dislocation and separation. She seeks the unbroken relationship between modern culture and ancient lands which uses tradition and story to make sense of the enduring quest to understand our changing experience of home.

Ian Baird


Ian Baird is a professor in the Department of Geography and director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. His interests are varied, and include the political ecology of hydropower dam development in the Mekong Region, economic land concessions in Laos and Cambodia, the concept of indigeneity in Asia, the history of political and military conflict in mainland Southeast Asia, and nature-society-politics in upland parts of mainland Southeast Asia, especially amongst the Brao and the Hmong.

Katarzyna Beilin

Spanish and Portuguese

Kata Beilin is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the faculty director of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program. She is also an affiliate at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies.

Her current work focuses on cultures, technologies and environments in the Hispanic World with a special focus on relations between humans, plants, and plantations. She is currently writing two books: Interspecies; Mayan Anthropocene focused on Yucatan, and All That Matters: Crises and Alternative Economic Cultures in Contemporary Spain. She is also directing a film titled Beyond Mayan Bees.

Among her recent publications are: In Search of Alternative Biopolitics: Antibulfighting, Animality and the Environment in Contemporary Spain (Ohio State University Press, 2015), as well as co-edited Environmental Cultural Studies Through Time (Hispanic Issues Online, forthcoming) and Ethics of Life; Contemporary Iberian Debates (Vanderbilt University Press, 2016).

Michael Bell

Community and Environmental Sociology

Michael Bell is Chair and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology, as well as a member of the faculty of the Agroecology Program, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Religious Studies Program, as well as CHE.

He is the author or editor of 11 books, three of which have won national awards. His most recent books are the Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology (Cambridge, 2020; Legun, Keller, Carolan, and Bell, eds.), the 6th edition of An Invitation to Environmental Sociology (Sage, 2020; Bell, Ashwood, Leslie, and Schlachter), and City of the Good: Nature, Religion, and the Ancient Search for What Is Right (Princeton, 2018). He is currently finishing a book on the sociology of heritage, with Jason Orne and Loka Ashwood.

Beatriz Botero

Integrated Liberal Studies

Beatriz L. Botero received a summa cum laude from the psychology department at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Spain for her dissertation on the psychoanalytical concept of Original Seduction and the literature of the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes. She also earned a PhD in Spanish literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She specializes in contemporary Latin American literature, psychoanalysis, and cultural studies. She is the author of Identidad Imaginada: Novelística Colombiana del Siglo XXI (Pliegos Editores, 2020) as well editor of Women in Contemporary Latin American Novels: Psychoanalysis and Gendered Violence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

William Brockliss

Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

Will Brockliss is the director of CHE. He is also an associate professor in the Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, where he teaches courses on the Greeks, Romans, and the Natural Environment, and Ancient Monsters.

Will has published Homeric Imagery and the Natural Environment (Harvard/Center for Hellenic Studies 2019), as well as articles on landscapes of war, ecology in ancient texts, and monstrosity. He is currently writing a book on horror in ancient epic.

Joshua Calhoun


Joshua Calhoun is an associate professor in the Department of English whose most recent work explores the ecopoetic interplay between literary ideas and the physical forms they are made to take as sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts.

In his first book, The Nature of the Page: Poetry, Papermaking, & Ecology in Renaissance England (forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press), Calhoun argues that the flora, fauna, and mineralia from which a Renaissance text — or a clay tablet, or a birch bark map, or an iPhone — is made are legible, significant elements of its poetic form. His work draws on scholarly as well as journalistic training (as an intern at Outside Magazine), and his commitment to questions about conservation, land use, and wilderness are deeply informed by his experiences growing up in the Adirondacks.

Eric Carson

Division of Extension

Eric Carson is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences in UW-Extension, and a Quaternary geologist with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey. He is interested in issues of geologic processes and the history of landscape development in the Driftless area of southwest Wisconsin and similar locations along the Last Glacial Maximum ice margin across the mid-continent of North America. Current projects include developing new methods of dating glacier fluctuations using sediment from former ice-marginal lakes, and unraveling the history of continental-scale drainage basin reorganizations over time.

Nadia Chana


Nadia Chana is an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music. Her recent dissertation — On Listening on Indigenous Land: Method, Context, Crisis — relied on a variety of methods, including multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in northern Alberta and the California Bay Area, to consider how singing and listening become critical tools for building a felt relationship with a more-than-human world.

More generally, Nadia is interested in voice (audible and metaphoric), racialization, embodiment, practice-based ways of knowing, Indigenous-settler relations, Bay Area spirituality, nonhuman agency, and experimental and collaborative ethnography. While Nadia situates her work within music studies, thinkers in critical Indigenous studies and feminist science studies have often been her guiding stars.

Joe Dennis


Joe Dennis is an historian of late imperial China, especially the Ming (1368-1644). His research and teaching focus on Chinese social, legal, and book history. He is currently researching the history of legal education, schools, and libraries in imperial China. In 2015 he published Writing, Publishing, and Reading Local Gazetteers in Imperial China, 1100-1700 (Harvard University Asia Center).

Ingrid Diran


Ingrid Diran is an assistant professor of English and environmental humanities at UW-Madison whose teaching and research examine the relations between formations of capital and their corresponding deformations of life. Her book project examines the way in which ideas of ecological and economic limits have become entangled, and how this entanglement intersects with racial capitalism and its traditions of resistance.

Eve Emshwiller


Eve Emshwiller is an associate professor in the botany department. Her research interests center on the ethnobotany, systematics, evolution, and conservation of crop plants and their wild relatives. She studies agrobiodiversity, especially the domestication of crops, their evolution under human influence, and their conservation biology.

Current projects include research on the phylogenetics and morphological evolution of the genus Oxalis, the origins of polyploidy and domestication of the Andean tuber crop “oca,” Oxalis tuberosa, and the distribution of clones of oca in traditional Andean agriculture. Members of her lab also research manoomin (wild-rice) harvest traditions, evolution of feral wild mustard in Mexico under different traditional management practices, factors that affect the loss or maintenance of oca clonal diversity, organic acids in oca, and the origins of domestication in Chenopodium. She teaches UW-Madison’s first ethnobotany course and is now also teaching “Plants and Humans.”

Sarah Ensor


Sarah Ensor is an assistant professor of English at UW-Madison whose teaching and research focus on ecocriticism, queer studies, American literature, and various intersections thereof. She is currently finishing a book on queer environmental ethics in the absence of futurity, which reads queer sites of provisionality in order to trace how temporariness and (apparent) futurelessness can engender, rather than preclude, forms of commitment, community, intimacy, and care. Her second book, tentatively titled Queer Fallout: Nuclear Families and Other Toxic Kin, explores fallout as a material, relational, and methodological category that spans queer and environmental thought.

Anna M. Gade

Nelson Institute

Anna M. Gade is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, where she currently serves as associate dean for research and education. She teaches courses in environmental humanities and Islamic studies at UW-Madison. She is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Her most recent book is Muslim Environmentalisms: Religious and Social Foundations (Columbia University Press, 2019).

Ruth Goldstein

Gender and Women’s Studies

Ruth Goldstein is an assistant professor in the gender and women’s studies department at UW-Madison. Her teaching and research interests converge along the lines of environmental racism, conceptions of gendered care for “Mother” Earth and what it means to decolonize ecological knowledge. She is working on a book — Life in Traffic: Women, Plants and Gold Along the Interoceanic Road — with UC Press.

Caroline Gottschalk Druschke


Caroline Gottschalk Druschke uses her training in rhetoric to study and intervene in the human dimensions of natural resources management. She takes a mixed-methods, watershed-based approach to research into dam removals, fish conservation, and watershed restoration.

Druschke has presented internationally on her work, published in communication and conservation journals, and received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Park Service and fellowships from the US Environmental Protection Agency and AAUW.

Her interdisciplinary work began with a concentration in gender and women’s studies and a fellowship in the National Science Foundation-IGERT Program in Landscape, Ecological and Anthropogenic Processes at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Claudio Gratton


Claudio Gratton’s research is broadly focused on understanding the relationship between land use and the conservation of insects both beneficial to people (pollinators and predators), and those that are pests of crops. In particular, his lab has been studying how agriculture influences the services that nature provides to people via the conservation of biodiversity.

Recently they have been exploring ways to make science a more integral part of the decision-making processes that ultimately shape what people do in our landscapes to affect not only crops, but also the environment and, ultimately, society more broadly.

Rachel Gurney

Dr. Rachel Gurney is an environmental sociologist with a background in journalism, environmental science, and sociology. Her current research focuses on climate adaptation, socio-political dimensions of climate change, and food insecurity. Rachel specializes in interdisciplinary research bridging social and natural sciences, teaching environmental sociology, and communicating research to the public. She has years of experience in the environmental field, including advocacy and outreach for national and international environmental organizations, teaching and research, and publishing and editing social science environmental research for a variety of audiences and publication platforms.

Elizabeth Hennessy

History, Nelson Institute

Elizabeth Hennessy is associate professor of world environmental history in the history department and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. She is also affiliated with the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies program (LACIS). Trained as a geographer, she works at the intersection of political ecology, science and technologies studies, animal studies, and environmental history.

Her main research project focuses on the most iconic species of the Galápagos Islands, giant tortoises, to trace intertwined transnational histories of capitalist development, evolutionary science, and conservation in the archipelago. She teaches courses on both global and Latin American environmental history as well as the role of animals in world history.

Leah Horowitz

Nelson Institute, Civil Society and Community Studies

As a critical cultural geographer, Leah Horowitz’s research focuses on conflicts over environmental governance, involving local communities, governments at various scales, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots groups. Ultimately, her work aims to help find ways for all these stakeholders to work together toward environmental conservation. She has addressed these research goals through studies of mining activities and biodiversity conservation, primarily in New Caledonia, Malaysia, and the U.S.

Specifically, her research contributes to our understanding of the importance of relationships and networks and the crucial role emotions play within these in enabling and shaping various modes of environmental governance as well as resistance to them.

Sara Hotchkiss


Sara Hotchkiss studies ecology on time scales that range from decades to tens of thousands of years, comparing observations of modern ecosystems with paleoecological data. Her projects include studies of ecosystem disturbance, climate change, and human-landscape interactions in the Great Lakes region and the Hawaiian Islands.

Robert Justin Hougham

Division of Extension

Dr. Justin Hougham (he/him/his) is a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he supports the delivery of a wide range of science education topics to K-12 students, graduate students, and in-service teachers. Justin’s scholarship is in the areas of place-based pedagogies, STEM education, and education for sustainability. Justin has taught 17 different undergraduate and graduate courses as well as instructed over 1,000 days in the field. He continues to teach courses, clinics, and trainings that develop pedagogies in experiential education.

Randall Jackson


Randy Jackson’s research, teaching and engagement in grassland ecology explores how human management of agroecosystems influences their ability to build soils, retain nutrients, and enhance biodiversity, while providing for our wants and needs. He helps manage the 30-year-old Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial (WICST), which compares the environmental and economic performance of crops typical of upper Midwest agriculture.

He also directs Grassland 2.0, a five-year project working toward transforming grain-based agriculture to grassland-based agriculture in the upper Midwest to help stabilize climate, reduce flooding, clean water, and support biodiversity, while rebuilding thriving, vital rural communities.

Richard Keller

Medical History and Bioethics

Rick Keller’s research lies at the intersection of the history and ethnography of European and global health. He is the author of Fatal Isolation: The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003 (Chicago, 2015) and Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa (Chicago, 2007), and is co-editor of Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties (Duke, 2011), Enregistrer les morts, identifier les surmortalités: Une comparaison Angleterre, Etats-Unis et France (Presses de l’EHESP, 2010), and a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, “Life after Biopolitics” (2016).

He is currently at work on a global history of the environment, as well as a project on the links between disease ecology and changes in global consumer demand. Keller teaches courses on the historical and contemporary dimensions of European and international health.

Richard Keyser

Legal Studies

Richard Keyser teaches primarily in legal studies, an interdisciplinary undergraduate program. His intellectual communities extend to history and environmental studies, where his classes are cross-listed, including two that focus on the environment (law and environment; European environmental history).

His research focuses on medieval legal and environmental history, and has appeared in the Revue Historique, French Historical Studies, and Law and History Review. His current projects center on customary law, early property law, and community-based woodland management.

Judd Kinzley


Judd Kinzley is an assistant professor of modern Chinese history in the Department of History. His research and teaching interests include environmental history, state power, industrial development, and wartime mobilization. His research tends to center around understanding the connections that exist between state power and the natural world in various Chinese peripheral and border regions.

He is currently working on a manuscript on mining and the extension of the Chinese state into Xinjiang province in China’s far west during the late 19th and 20th centuries. While his intellectual home is in history, he has a strong multi-disciplinary interest in the ways in which human beings interact with the environment, and his work has been heavily influenced by work in political science, geography, economics, and the history of science and technology.

Alexia Kulwiec

School for Workers

Alexia Kulwiec’s research and teaching focuses on federal and state labor and employment laws, and the processes whereby labor may address disparities and justice in the workplace. Her research includes laws applicable to agriculture and food systems and the potential development of improved agricultural business models; study of working conditions along the U.S. food chain; and the potential benefit of domestic fair trade principles in mid-sized agriculture. She examines the work environment of food and agricultural workers, as well as the impact of U.S. agricultural policy on the viability on small, sustainable farm operations.

Maria Lepowsky


Maria Lepowsky specializes in cultural anthropology, anthropology of gender, historical anthropology, history of anthropology, environmental anthropology, exchange and ritual, medical/nutritional anthropology, psychological anthropology, Pacific Islands, California and the American West.

Reba Luiken


Reba Luiken (she/her/hers) is the director of Allen Centennial Gardens in the horticulture department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she connects learners of all ages to the natural world through different ways of knowing. She completed a dual degree in plant biology and religious studies and a PhD in the history of science, technology, and medicine at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the history of the plant sciences and public communication of science. She is currently working on a project about botany nuns who shared their understanding of plants, science, and God with generations of young women.

Erika Marin-Spiotta


Erika Marin-Spiotta studies how human activities affect the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems. Most of her work focuses on linking above- and below-ground processes across different spatial scales, from the landscape to molecular interactions. She is particularly interested in the legacies of land-use history on biodiversity and carbon cycling and in feedbacks between land-use/land-cover change and climate change. Marin-Spiotta also conducts research on strategies for transforming workplace climate and increasing participation of underserved groups in STEM.

Noreen McAuliffe

English and Nelson Institute

Noreen McAuliffe is a lecturer in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a program specialist at the Nelson Institute. She most recently was an assistant teaching professor at Rutgers University, where she taught courses in environmental writing and storytelling for scientists. Her academic interests include the environmental humanities, nonfiction science narratives, and multimedia science storytelling.

Her work has appeared in The Common, The Baltimore Review, and Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. She’s been awarded the Alces Foundation Environmental Writing Fellowship, a NY State Writers Institute scholarship, a New Jersey State Council of the Arts Fellowship, and a Waitt Grant from the National Geographic Society.

Sarli E. Mercado

Spanish and Portuguese

Sarli E. Mercado, PhD, is the 4W director of Latin American Urban Cultural Connections (On Women Landscapes and the Arts). She has published her work on contemporary Spanish American poetry in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Her current research centers on contemporary Southern Cone women writers and Latin American poetic and visual art expressions that link urban and non-urban environments to ecological thinking.

In the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, she teaches Spanish American literature, writing, cultural journalism, translation, and urban cultural studies. Dr. Mercado co-leads the 4W-International Women Collective translation Project (4W-WIT) and collaborates with the Museum of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guadalajara.

Gregg Mitman

History, Medical History and Bioethics

Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research and teaching interests span the history of science, medicine, and the environment in the United States and the world and include a commitment to environmental and social justice.

His most recent work has focused on a multimedia project — films, a book, and public history website — exploring the history and legacy of the Firestone Plantations Company in Liberia. He coproduced and codirected with Sarita Siegel two films, “In the Shadow of Ebola,” an intimate portrait of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and “The Land Beneath Our Feet,” a documentary on history, memory, and land rights in Liberia.

His newest book, “Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia,” was published by The New Press in November 2021.

Mitman’s current research, for which he has received a €2.5 million European Research Council Advanced Grant, aims to discern the ecological, economic, political, and social forces at play that have simultaneously turned certain regions of West Africa into profitable sites of natural resource extraction, productive enclaves of biomedical research, and hot zones of pandemic threats.

Sarah Moore


Sarah Moore’s research interests are at the intersection of urban development politics and environmental justice issues. She is particularly interested in the ways in which struggles over waste siting and food justice shape the contemporary development of cities in the United States and Mexico.

Current projects include research on school gardens in Tucson, Arizona, as well as the hazardous waste trade among North American countries. Her home department of geography is an important base for this work; community and environmental sociology, anthropology, planning, Latin American Studies, educational psychology and CHE are also programs with overlapping interests.

Maria Moreno

Planning and Landscape Architecture

Dr. Maria Moreno (she/her/hers) teaches restoration education courses to undergraduates and first-year interest group (FIG) courses on Indigenous arts and citizenship, restoration, and resilience in Puerto Rico.

John Nelson

Civil and Environmental Engineering

John Nelson is an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at UW–Madison and managing director for Global Infrastructure Asset Management LLC, an asset management firm specializing in sustainable infrastructure investments.

Previously, Nelson was CEO of Affiliated Engineers, and under his leadership, the engineering firm became nationally recognized for designing dynamic building systems and infrastructure for large and complicated projects.

He serves on a number of boards, including the Nelson Institute (as a member emeritus), CASB in the School of Business, and the UW Foundation. His training includes an MS in mechanical engineering from UW–Madison.

Larry Nesper


Larry Nesper is a professor of anthropology and American Indian studies, and has been at UW-Madison since 2002. He is the author of The Walleye War: The Struggle for Ojibwe Spearfishing and Treaty Rights (University of Nebraska Press, 2002). He has worked as a consultant for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Bad River and Lac du Flambeau Tribe.

Current research explores the development of tribal courts in Wisconsin and state court-tribal court relations. He teaches courses in American Indian ethnography and ethnohistory, Indians of the Western Great Lakes, anthropology of law, and American Indian social and political movements.

Frederic Neyrat

Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies

Frederic Neyrat is an associate professor of comparative literature and Mellon-Morgridge Professor of Planetary Humanities at UW-Madison. He is editor of Alienocene and a member of the editorial board of the journal Lignes and Multitudes. He recently published The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation (Fordham, 2018), which received a French Voice Award in 2018.

Mario Ortiz-Robles


Mario Ortiz-Robles is the Nancy C. Hoefs and Mellon-Morgridge Professor of English and Animal Studies. His teaching and research interests are situated at the intersection of 19th-century literature, literary theory, and animal studies.

He is currently at work on a book-length project that explores the long arc of literary naturalism in Britain and France to determine the extent to which the appropriation of nature as a literary trope conditions, or “naturalizes,” our fraught relation to animals.

Sarah Rios

Community and Environmental Sociology

Sarah Rios’ (she/her/hers) research agenda focuses on advancing the study of race, health, and the environment. Rios is interested in the health implications of industrial agriculture and carceral expansion, and community-based resilience through environmental justice activism.

Rios’ ongoing research about an environmental illness known as Valley Fever that is endemic in the Central Valley of California places the apex of the medical conversation in a discussion about the racialized social determinants of health and community-based knowledge. Rios analyzes how farm workers and former prisoners’ contract and recover from Valley Fever while mitigating poverty, pollution, and the threats of incarceration or deportation. Rios also works closely with environmental justice activists and prison abolitionists to discuss alternative perspectives about environmental health and justice.

Adena Rissman

Forest and Wildlife Ecology

Adena Rissman is a professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and an affiliate of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the agroecology program, the Land Tenure Center, the La Follette Institute for Public Affairs, and the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies. Her research investigates the relationships between society and environment, focusing on conservation, ecosystem management, and resource use.

She examines forests, wildlife, rangelands, agriculture, and water resources both locally and nationally, through participatory research approaches. Her research centers around three themes:

  1. Natural resource policy design, implementation, and evaluation
  2. Ecological outcomes of resource policy and conservation strategies
  3. Social and legal adaptation to environmental change

Morgan Robertson


Morgan Robertson is an associate professor in the Department of Geography whose research has focused on critical analysis of market-based environmental policy and the science/policy interface in areas such as ecosystem services, wetland and habitat credit markets, and environmental assessment techniques. He has also written on value theory and on qualitative research methodologies such as Q-method and participant action research.

His research is conducted in the U.S., the UK and Australia. Before arriving at the University of Wisconsin-Madison he was a headquarters staffer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for three years, and an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky for five years.

Sissel Schroeder


Sissel Schroeder is a professor of archaeology and the chair of the Department of Anthropology and an affiliate of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the American Indian Studies Program, and the Material Culture Studies Program.

Her current research is focused on the role of ethnic diversity (as identified from distinctive archaeological materials, particularly architecture and ceramics) in the formation and dissolution of communities and polities in the ancient Mississippian (c. A.D. 1000-1500) societies of the midwestern and southeastern United States.

Her multi-scalar approach to these issues draws on aspects of agency theory and environmentalism and highlights how the places where ancient people chose to settle reflect the changing constraints and opportunities presented by the spatial distribution of resources, potential for establishing gardens and agricultural fields, availability of habitable land, the peaceful or bellicose nature of relationships with other peoples living nearby, and perceptions and traditions about the landscape that may include the construction of earthen mounds.

Jen Rose Smith

Geography and American Indian Studies

Jen Rose Smith (dAXunhyuu [Eyak, Alaska Native]) is an assistant professor in the geography department and American Indian Studies Program. She studies coloniality, race, and indigeneity as read through aesthetic and literary contributions, archival evidences, and experiential embodied knowledges with a particular interest in ice-geographies.

James Spartz

Institute for Research on Poverty

James Spartz (he/him/his) is a writer and editor with the Institute for Research on Poverty. He works at the intersections of economic inequality, poverty, communication, and community well-being as well as having a strong interest in decolonial place-based humanities scholarship and praxis.

James spent several years as a professor of environmental communication at a rural, private, environmental college in Maine where he developed and taught courses including Environmental Communication, Forests and Society, Environmental Writing, and Ecomusicology and Place.

He received an MA from the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and PhD through the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.

Amy Stambach


Amy Stambach is the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Anthropology and a faculty affiliate of the African Studies Program. Her current book project examines the history of land tenure and cultural politics on Mount Kilimanjaro. She has worked for many years in East Africa and has served as external commentator to UNESCO and the United Nations Institute of Statistics.

Randy Stoecker

Community and Environmental Sociology

Randy Stoecker is a professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an affiliate appointment in the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Center for Community and Economic Development. He has a PhD in sociology from the University of Minnesota, and an MS in counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

He conducts trainings and speaks frequently on community organizing and development, participatory action research/evaluation, higher education community engagement strategies, and community information technology. He has facilitated numerous participatory action research projects, community technology projects, and empowerment evaluation processes with community development corporations, community-based leadership education programs, community organizing groups, and other non-profits across a wide range of issues and places, including hip-hop.

Randy has written extensively on community organizing and development and higher education engagement with community. In his spare time he is practicing to become an electric guitar luthier and writing a rock opera. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his life partner of 40 years and a standard poodle of eight years who refuses to act his age.

Matt Turner


Matt Turner’s research is concerned with the relationship among institutions, communities and environment in the Sudano-Sahelian region of West Africa. He has written extensively on the the variation in climate change vulnerability and food security among different social groups; environmental governance in colonial and post-colonial contexts, customary land tenure institutions, pastoral mobility and its institutional implications, soil quality variation and its social implications, land-use and land cover change, resource-related conflict, and the knowledge politics of environmental assessment.