Call for Papers: E is for Environment: New Vocabularies for the Past, Present, and Future

A Graduate Student Symposium in Celebration of Gaylord Nelson at 100

Madison, Wisconsin
March 4-6, 2016

“Environment is all of America and its problems. It is rats in the ghetto. It is a hungry child in a land of affluence. It is housing that is not worthy of the name; neighborhoods not fit to inhabit.”
— Earth Day founder Senator Gaylord Nelson, April 22, 1970

The graduate students of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE), part of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are sponsoring a three-day symposium to explore new vocabularies for the environmental past, present, and future.

What are the keywords or concepts from your own research that give shape to the capacious and elusive term environment? Together we will revisit, question, and supplement the definition of familiar terms we use to think about the environment in order to explore both shared and differential meanings which can open up new avenues for investigation across a broad range of disciplines both inside and outside the academy.

We welcome submissions from graduate students from across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to share their work (on any region, in any period) in one of two formats:

  • 15-minute research presentations
  • Paper workshops for in-progress research of 20–30 pages, to be read in advance by faculty and graduate students

In addition, the weekend will feature a keynote lecture, a faculty roundtable, professional development sessions, social gatherings, and a field trip. Among the participants will be several CHE faculty associates as well as distinguished guests, including Nancy Langston (Michigan Technological University), Kate Brown (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), and Scott Kirsch (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).


Applicants should indicate whether they’re interested in a research presentation or a paper workshop, and submit a 250-word abstract (including five keywords) and a brief CV. Complete panel proposals should be submitted as a single submission, with abstracts and CVs from each of the participants.

Please email all of your materials to by October 15, 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by November 1. Complete drafts of workshop papers must be submitted to readers by January 15, 2016.

Limited funding to offset travel costs is available for accepted graduate student participants.

Following the symposium, participants will be encouraged to submit content to CHE’s blog, Edge Effects.

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To learn more about CHE, please visit

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